Last Tuesday was all about teaching our children letter names and sounds. The next step in helping our child learn to read is blending the sounds together.
One reason that I started by teaching the vowel sounds (a,e,i,o,u) first was to make this next step a bit simpler. Once they have mastered the vowel sounds and some of the consonants, you can begin blending the two together.
Choose an easy consonant sound, such as “t” and practice putting it together with the vowel sound “a.” You can do this with any of the letter manipulatives we mentioned in previous posts – alphabet blocks, foam letters, letter flashcards, etc. It may take little while for this concept to “click.”
I would recommend sticking with one consonant sound, switching out the vowel sounds, until that group of sounds is mastered. For example, just practice “ta, te, ti, to, tu” until that seems to come easily for your child. I am not good at making up songs, but a fun one that I used when teaching this idea was to the tune of the chorus of “Skip to My Lou, My Darlin'” which would go something like this: “Ta, te, ti,to, tu; ta, te, ti, to,tu; ta, te, ti, to, tu; I know my blends and so do you.” (Be very glad you did not have to actually hear me sing that!!)
You can also make up flashcards with the blends written on them. After you feel like your child understands the concept, use your manipulatives and say a blend to your child – such as “ta” -and see if they can hand you the two letters that form that blend. Alternatively, you can give them three of the flashcards and have them choose the one that matches the blend you say. Due to the similarity of the “e” and “i” sounds, it may be a little difficult for your child to distinguish those at first, but the more they hear them, the easier it will become.
As always, spending just a few minutes a day with our young children, presenting concepts in as fun a way as possible, keeps things enjoyable for everyone. One of the neatest things I’ve been able to do with my girls is teaching them to read!
More on beginning reading skills next Teaching Tuesday!