Blending is when we merge individual sounds to make a word to help read it.
Hear and say the initial sound in words.
Can segment the sounds in simple words and blend them together and knows which letters represent some of them.
Begins to read words and simple sentences.
ELG (Early Learning Goal - end of Reception age related expectation:
Children use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways that match their spoken sounds.
Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible e.g. lighk for like.
During Phase One, which is taught in nursery, children do a lot of work on hearing the sounds and blending them together and in Phase Two, which is taught in Reception, we begin to look at the sounds written as letters and blend to read words. Some children find blending tricky and the blending slide is a great way to show it visually.
I got the idea from a video I saw on Youtube which is well worth watching. It is only a couple of minutes long and explains it really well. To do the activity you need to print a picture of a slide (I searched 'slide clipart' in google) or draw one. You will also need magnetic letters or letters written on pieces of paper (a, i, r, s, m, p, b).
This activity uses some vowels (a, e, i, o, u), shown in red, and some consonants show in blue. It starts by introducing VC words which are words made from vowels and consonants. As children become more confident you can made CVC words which are made from consonant - vowel - consonants.
Use the letters to tell your child the following story:
The letters went to the playground and saw a slide. ‘A’ was the bravest letter and she said “me first, me first!” As she climbed she made her sound “a, a, a, a”. When she got to the top she realised how high the slide was so she said “please can you catch me?”
T said “I’m big and strong. I’ll catch you.”
So A slid down the slide and said “aaaaaat” and the word they created was ‘at’.
Continue with VC (vowel-consonant) words by having other letters catch A e.g. am, as.
Then add a consonant at the beginning to create a CVC word (consonant-vowel-consonant). Sounds like m, s and r are good letters to start with because they are long stretchy sounds which makes them easier to blend.
M wanted to go with a. M said her sound and A made her sound. Then they said their sound together mmmmaaaa. They slid down mmmmmaaaaaat – mat.
Other words you could make: rat, ram, rap, rat, rim, rip, sap, sat, sit, sip, map, mat .
If your child is confident you could try starting with a shorter sound e.g. p, t or b.
Words you could use: pat, pit, tab, tap, tip, bap, bat, bit.
You can also use phase three sounds including digraphs, where two letters make one sound. So m-ai-d would make maid. See the sound page on my website for other Phase 3 sounds and words.
You can also make words that are not real but talk to your child about whether they have made a real word or a nonsense word.
I did some live Phonics sessions for The Dads Net and used this activity. The live can still be watched on the Dads Net Facebook page. The sessions are designed for children to join in with. To join in with the session linked below, you will need a picture/drawing of a slide and magnetic letters or written on paper (a, i, r, s, m, p, b).
Children seem to really enjoy this activity. After the live, people got in touch to say they had added the blending slide to their fridge and their children carried on using it. One family even had a go using a real slide which looked like a really fun and activity way to teach phonics.
If your child finds blending tricky, have a look at some of the Phase One section on my blog. Every day, I will upload a short game or activity designed to develop the skills needed to support blending.