Blending is the main strategy we use to help students learn to decode. I’m sharing information and tips for teaching blending, as well as resources to help you! Check out my NO PREP Fluency Builders – Word Blending Activities and download FREE set of large pocket chart letter cards!
What strategy do you think you spend the most time on when you are teaching your students to read?
If you guessed “blending” then BINGO – You’re right! Blending, or the stringing of letter sounds to read a word, is the main strategy we use to teach students to decode. And for good reason!! Research shows that the more time a teacher spends on blending, modeling blending, and providing blending practice in isolation and in context, the greater the student gains!
Best Practices for Teaching Blending
In his book, A Fresh Look at Phonics, Wiley Blevins shares valuable information and guidelines for best practices when it comes to teaching blending.
He recommends the following:
- Model and apply blending every day for early readers
- Begin teaching blending using words that start with continuous sounds. This includes the vowel sounds and the consonant sounds /f/, /l/, /m/, /n/, /r/, /s/, /v/, /z/
- Make sure the blending work you do with students includes plenty of words! Minimum of 20 for Grade 1 and up
- Select blending lines that contain few contrasts so students can practice fully analyzing words
- Create blending lines that will provide you with formative assessment information
- Ensure the blending lines offer differentiated practice to meet the needs of all students
- Include sentences that provide text reading practice
Once you have a fairly decent blending routine down, you’ll want to find ways to enhance it to ensure all students benefit. One smart idea is to use your blending word lists in your word sorts and word building activities.
These large letter cards make modeling word sorts and word building simple and clear!
Today I am excited to share with you some of my very own WORD BLENDING ACTIVITIES, as well as some of my favorites from around the web!
After learning about the best practices for blending instruction and practice, I created these Fluency Builders – Word Building Activities!
One of the things I love about them is they are absolutely NO PREP! Just print them out and you’re ready to go! They are simple to use and have just the right supports and challenges in place to ensure all students’ needs are met!
Each printable worksheet starts with review words. Working with familiar words helps to build students’ confidence from the start!
On the bottom left-side there is a spot to track fluency. This can be used to set goals for improving fluency or as an assessment tool for teachers.
There are a lot of words on the page, so to keep students from feeling visually overwhelmed I included a dotted line so you can fold or cut the sheet in half.
Each worksheet follows a strategic scope and sequence with review words, focused skill, and challenge words. I also included two sentences to provide connected text reading practice. You can feel confident that all students are being adequately supported and challenged!
These printable worksheets are perfect to use as a daily warm-up for whole/small groups, assessments, and can even be sent home for strategic practice!
Online Word Blending Activities
Jack Hartmann has some great videos for practicing blending. In this catchy little video the letters are shown and stretched out as he makes each sound, then squished back together as he says the whole word.
In this one, Jack blends CVC words and gets kids up and moving around! Perfect for a movement brain break!
One more song to check out is Harry Kindergarten’s The CVC Word Song!
Finally, I really like the online blending practice offered by Starfall. The website offers a sequential phonics series of 15 books with fun letter-pal characters (Zac the Rat, Peg the Hen, etc.).
It starts with the short vowels and gets progressively more challenging. There is a lot of meaningful word blending practice students can get from this website!
Students need a lot of practice with blending. I hope the information and resources I’ve shared today will help to bring more strategic and meaningful blending practice into your classroom! I’d love for you to give my fluency builders a try and let me know how it goes for your students!
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