What are Blends?
A blend is a series of letters that comes either immediately before or after a vowel. They can be made up of two or three letters. With blends, you can hear each of the individual sounds that each letter makes. But, they are blended smoothly together. Hearing and distinguishing blends is an important part of learning how to decode!
Beginning and Ending Blends
A great way to help students recognize blends, is to teach them where to look! They are often are found at the very beginning or at the end of a word. It helps to find the vowel sound, and look right before or after that point in the word. Beginning blends will be the first two or three letters in the word, while ending blends will be the last few letters found in the word!
Strategies for Teaching Blends
As you move through the school year, you will want to reinforce your students’ understanding of this skill. Use these teaching ideas!
A great way to reinforce how well students understand using and reading blends is through sorting activities! You can create a sort in several different ways. Give students word or picture cards and ask them to sort the words into groups with similar blends. Or, ask students to sort words into groups that have a beginning blend or ending blend.
Spell and Find
Building words is one of my favorite phonics activities to teach any skill! When practicing blends, have your students build the word, then find where it is located. Ask your students to read and write the word after building it, to further reinforce the skill.
Seeing the skill in context is a great way to teach a new concept! Phonics passages provide students several opportunities to practice a skill authentically in their reading. As you introduce new sounds, use passages that focus on one sound at a time. Throughout your unit, or as you want to spiral review, use passages that mix several sounds together.
As in all reading tasks, comprehension is key! After reading and practicing the skill, be sure your students are also understanding what they read. My phonics passages include two quick comprehension checks at the end of every story. These passages give you the opportunity to assess a student’s success with the pattern, while also gauging comprehension and fluency at the same time!