Part 4: Identifying the sounds in words

Consonant blends

Initial consonant blends

bl, cl, fl, pl, sl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, st, sc, sm, sn, tw, shr, thr, scr, spr, and str.

Final consonant blends

lb, ld, lf, lk, lm, ln, lp, lt, ct, ft, nt, pt, xt, mp and nd.

It is important that the children hear the individual sounds in the consonant blends. To develop this, say each blend, for example, ‘cr’ and ask the children to respond with ‘c…r’, putting up a finger for each sound. Repeat a few examples each day and gradually the children will become fluent at identifying the sounds in consonant blends. The following list is helpful to refer to for regular words containing initial and final consonant blends:

Example of words with initial consonant blends

bran clap clip club flag flat

flap flip glad plan plug plum

plot slap slim slug crab crop

drag drip drop drug drum frog

from grab grim grip print prop

trim trap trip smog snap snip

snug swam swim swum twig twin

Examples of words with final consonant blends

bulb held golf milk silk film

help gulp belt melt quilt gift

lift soft ant pant bent went

tent mint hunt kept next camp

damp lamp bend mend wind pond

skip desk step best nest lost

must plump slept frosts grand crisp

After identifying the sounds in words with consonant blends, virtually any words can be sounded out. For example:

‘spending’ - s.p.e.n.d.i.n.g - 7 fingers, 7 sounds in the word.

‘ground’ - g.r.o.u.n.d - 5 fingers, 5 sounds.

‘blister’ - - 6 fingers, 6 sounds.

‘shoot’ - sh.oo.t - 3 fingers, 3 sounds.

Gradually, the children become accustomed to hearing all the sounds and understand that some sounds are represented by two letters.

Hearing sounds such as the ‘n’ in ‘went’ and the ‘er’ in ‘supper’ tends to be the more difficult. Regular practice is the key to success.