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Do you have a child who knows the alphabet and is learning to blend sounds to form words? Are you looking for a hands-on way to support a child’s emergent blending skills? Check out this simple blending practice activity that uses letter beads and pipe cleaners!
Note: For more language and literacy ideas, see my Literacy Activities for Kids Page.
To prepare this sound blending activity, you will need the following materials:
- Pipe cleaners
- Letter beads
When my daughter was working on blending sounds together, I strung letter beads onto pipe cleaners to spell out several simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. As you can see in the photo below, I started by placing the words on the right side of the pipe cleaner.
Note that children need to know their letter sounds before they are ready for this activity. If your child is still learning letter sounds, I’ve got some great resources to help with this in my book 101 Ways to Teach the Alphabet.
I showed her how to move the beads, one by one, from the right side to the left side of the pipe cleaner as she said the letter sounds.
Then after moving all the beads over and saying the letter sounds, she was to say the word quickly.
What this sounded like was “/wwwww/ /iiiii/ /nnnnn/. . . win.”
If your child is just starting to blend words together, I strongly recommend beginning with words whose initial sound can be drawn out. For example, you can say and hold the /s/ sound or the /f/ sound. But you cannot say and hold the /k/ sound or the /t/ sound. Sounds like /k/ and /t/ are called stop sounds. Words such as “fan” that do not contain any stop sounds are easier to blend than words with stop sounds like “kit.”
If you are ready to introduce stop sounds, first introduce them as the ending sound of a word, such as “sit” or “red.”
Once your child has mastered blending words that have stop sounds at the end, you can teach your child to blend words that begin with stop sounds.
I hope your child enjoys this hands-on blending technique!
More ways to teach to early language & literacy skills
More literacy activities from Gift of Curiosity:
- Language activities using miniature objects
- Sight word ball toss game
- Shaving cream writing
- Sight word magic
- Learning to alphabetize
You can find more ways to teach early language and literacy skills on my Literacy Activities for Kids page and my Letter Learning Pinterest board.
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