Part 3: Reading (blending)

How to blend words - part 1

With blending, the first sound needs to be louder than the others. This helps the child to remember the sound the word starts with. The sounds that follow in the word need to be spoken softly and quickly, with as little schwa as possible. This technique has been found to be the most effective, and about three quarters of the children master it quite quickly. Although it is more difficult for the other quarter of the group, all they need is more practice. A little blending every day is the secret to success.

The consonant blends are the most regular. Blending skills are improved if the initial blends are practised on their own, e.g. cr, fl, str, etc. This makes it easier to read the words that have initial consonant blends.

The children are encouraged to work the word out by saying the blend, followed by the individual sounds, e.g. ‘cr-a-b, st-a-m-p, fl-a-g’, etc. A list of consonant blends for regular words, using those blends, can be found on Pages 25 and 26 of the Phonics Handbook.