Until now we have covered,
Types of Phonics and Terminologies used in Phonics.
What is the new hype of Phonics? And if it is really important?
How to teach Letter Sounds and Letter Names together?
Phonemic Awareness Activities
(Click on the above links to go directly to that post first, if you have missed reading any of those posts).
What are blends ?
By basic and simple definition, blends means mixture of two or more things , so that they combine together. The same meaning applies in Phonics too. Blends means two or more letters come together to make a particular sound/word. Phonics consists of two basic blends – CV (Consonant-Vowel) blend and VC (Vowel-Consonant) blend. Actually , many a times this step is overlooked and the children are taught directly to read 3-letter words/CVC words from Letter Sounds. But this jump is not that beneficial for a child if the child doesn’t understand how to blend two letter sounds together to make a word. These blends are vital and important building blocks in understanding the “Blending” and “Segmentation” of words.
Blending refers to Encoding the word or Making the word using different Phonemes.
And Segmentation refers to Decoding the written word or Separating the sounds in a given word, using Phonemes.
Blending refers to smoothly combining the individual sounds of consonants/vowels into words. So how does blending help children learn to read faster and improve mastery?
Why is this an important step in Teaching Phonics ? And why its better to not miss teaching this step to our children??
Teaching the two skills – Blending and Segmentation of the words is crucial to the child , because that’s the way to learning to read English Language. Basically, children need to be able to blend individual sounds smoothly to form complete words without pauses between the sounds. Without these critical skills, reading will be unnaturally slow and the child will not be able to read the English Language successfully. Ideally, children should learn phonics blends at home before school starts. However, regardless of where or when they learn these sound blends, here are some of the best tools and phonics activities to help your children learn this critical reading sub-skill quickly:
Phonics Blends List: This is just a simple list of the CV and VC blends for children to practice the skills of blending and segmenting. So instead of them learning the blends as they read, they are taught blends separately via the list and practice.
Blends List should be made simply using Pen/Marker and Paper like,
CV Blends – BA , CA , DA , FA , HA , LA , MA , etc.
VC Blends – AB , AC , AD , AF , AH , AL , AM , etc. using all the vowels in the first place.
Supplemental Tools Dedicated to Teaching Blends: Again, teaching blending requires a lot of practice and patience. And while reading out loud is excellent practice, you really want to help the child learn the primary blends(CV and VC) separately. Thus, reading becomes an activity where they practice blending instead of the place where they learn it. Here comes in place the different activities and games from the “TRC Phonics Curriculum Bundle” which help the child to master this skill and take one step ahead towards reading words.
Patience and Practice: Every time a child mispronounces a blend, it must be corrected. Otherwise, the mistake could become a bad habit that is much harder to break so a lot of patience and practice will be required on the part of the teacher or parent. But it is so worth the efforts when you see your child(ren) reading words easily, because their basic building blocks are practiced enough.
Now tell me in the comments below, What are your favorite blending activities to teach children???
P.S. : If you want to learn Phonics, and need a complete Curriculum to teach your children, check out our flagship “The Reading Classroom – Online Phonics Program for Parents and Teachers” here.