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I’m currently teaching my younger daughter to read. She knows all her letters, most of her sounds, and has all the pre-reading skills I recommend before teaching a child to read.
But we’ve been hitting a little bit of a wall with blending sounds.
She’ll see a word like this: wag, and she’ll say the sounds /w/ /a/ /g/ … “Pat?”
Woah … where did pat come from?
Actually, this isn’t all that uncommon. It can be hard for kids to keep all those sounds in their short term memory long enough to put them together to make the right word.
That’s where successive blending comes in.
Here’s a video that shows exactly how it works.
If you prefer a picture tutorial, here you go:
I created a set of cards – one set for the first sound, one for the middle sound, and one for the ending sound. The first cards are all letters that are used in CVC words. The middle letters are all vowels. The final letters are all letters we often see at the end of CVC words (so, for example, you won’t find an h or a j in the last stack of cards).
To play, simply flip over the first card and say its sound. Have your learner repeat it after you. /h/
Flip over the second sound. Have your learner repeat it. /a/
THEN (and this is key), push those first two sounds together. Say their combined sound. /haaa/ Have your learner repeat it.
Flip over the final card. Say its sound. /t/ Have your learner repeat it.
Now put all the sounds together. First … /ha/ /t/. Then, /haaat/. Have your learner repeat it.
For my daughter, the favorite part of this activity was determining whether the words were real or silly.
If you have learners struggling to blend sounds, or you’re simply introducing this skill, I strongly recommend successive blending! I learned about it from the wonderful book, Making Sense of Phonics (check it out if you’d like to learn more about teaching phonics!).
Decodable Passages: CVC Words
Use these 23 decodable passages to help new readers develop fluency with CVC words. Each page includes blending practice, a short reading passage, a comprehension question, and spelling practice.
Get your free successive blending mat/cards!
Blending Lines Bundle
This set of 95 blending lines allows students to practice the focus skill and review previously learned skills. You can use blending lines with a whole class or in a small group phonics lesson. They also work great as reading homework!