One day in the van, ALuv asked, “Mommy, do skunk and skateboard rhyme?” Wondering where he was going with this (because he’s known how to rhyme for a couple of years now), I questioned, “What do you mean?”
“Listen, mommy. /sk/ /sk/ skunk and /sk/ /sk/ skateboard.”
I realized he was hearing the s-k blend at the beginning of both words! I explained that the words didn’t rhyme, but they both began with the /sk/ sound and those two letters together made a blend. This is when I knew that ALuv was ready to explore blends.
What is a blend? I describe it to kids as:
- Two letters (hold up both hands separate from each other)
- put together (bring your hands together)
- and you hear both sounds (put your hands behind your ears)
Words Their Way treats blends in a similar manner as digraphs-with pictures at first. This helps to work on the child’s phonemic awareness as it’s a big step to begin hearing the two separate sounds in a blend. ALuv had five weeks of picture sorts, but we integrated short vowel work about once or twice a week. I know I’m working backwards here, but I wanted to wait until we had all the blend sorts done before I posted.
I didn’t do all of the blend picture sorts from the book, but here are the ones we did (keep in mind that my sorts are from the 1st edition):
Sort 21- p, l, & pl
Short Vowels were integrated through some worksheets like this one
Making Words with “blast” (a good review of bl & st blends!)
short vowel file folder games from this book
He also did a few Frank Shaffer sheets like this one; which uses pictures so he had to rely solely on his ear (I’ve had these in my files so long, I have NO CLUE where they came from).
FREE Short Vowel/Sight Word Sorts, which I posted about here. These do contain some blends.
Short vowel Mix & Match Worksheet. The book I got this sheet from is not free, BUT Florida’s Center for Reading Research has a FREE PRINTABLE called Vowel Stars that is VERY similar to this activity. (See pgs. 1-6 of this PDF file.) This file is FILLED with awesome activities for short vowel work. I am going to post about a couple more of them soon!
BLEND ASSESSMENT TIME!
At the end of our study of blends, I assessed him to see what he did or didn’t understand.
Here’s how the assessment worked:
- I pulled 10 picture cards from the back of WTW that had 4 phonemes with blends. The picture cards I chose were- stem, plug, trap, drip, sled, clap, crib, stop, swim & plum.
- I also pulled all the letters needed from my lowercase bottle cap letters. (I made a template with four circles on which to place the bottle caps: bottle cap circles)
- I numbered his paper 1-10.
- He picked a card, said the word out loud, built the word on the four circles, then wrote the word.
He did well and only misspelled one word: STIM for stem. (Who can blame him, though? Where we live that’s how people say the word!) But he still got all the blends! Yay! Time to move on. 🙂
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