Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Quick Update: Blends!

When students are beginning to grow their reading skills past simple CVC words, blends are one of the next basic phonics patterns to introduce to young readers. They begin to blend the letter sounds together and combine them with short vowels to read more complex words.  Since you say both sounds in blend patterns, they are very easy for students to pick up and master. When you're introducing a new blend pattern, it's important for students to work with the words in a variety of ways - and you don't just have to use worksheets to accomplish that!

When introducing a blend pattern, I always started off by creating an anchor chart for each one. I drew bubble letters and wrote words that began with the blend inside of them. Then I hang them up around the room for students to refer to throughout the year.

This allows students to brainstorm words that begin with each blend to help them become more familiar with the pattern. I drew my own pictures to go with each word, but you could even have students take more ownership of the anchor charts by drawing the pictures themselves!

When introducing different blend patterns, it's always fun to come up with related art projects or crafts for students to create to practice writing and spelling their words with blends. For the FL- blend family, I gave my students a piece of construction paper and they created their own FLags and wrote their blend pattern words onto the flag. So simple and the kids loved it!

If there's one thing students love to do, it is getting to write on the big teacher whiteboard or smartboard! Don't ask me why... I think it's because they love pretending that they are the teacher for a small moment in time! There are so many patterns for S-Blends that I like to introduce lots of word sorts for students to become more familiar with the patterns. I drew a chart on the board and had students brainstorm a word that fit with each blend pattern. Then they wrote their word on the board in the section with the correct pattern!

Of course, there are always times when using a worksheet really helps students identify phonics patterns, spelling words, letter formation, and sentence structure. When introducing a new blend pattern I like to have my students begin by using an activity sheet from my No-Prep Phonics Word Work Pack. With these, students read, write, and highlight the words as well as read sentences to practice fluency and create their own sentences using words from the blend pattern they are practicing.

This video shows a sample from my diphthongs pack, but I use the same format for every pack.

For blends, I currently have packs created for S-Blends, R-Blends, L-Blends and Triple Consonant Blends, which can be found in my SUPER-discounted Word Work Bundle (over 60% off!). Just click on the picture below to find out more!