Blends Train!

I love revising some of my first products. I have been itching to do this one for a while. Blends Train was one of the first games I made when I found a graphic designer to make custom graphics for me.  They certainly were fun, but it was time for a freshen up and EXTRA value!

This set now includes 2 posters to help you teach the CONCEPT of blends, a WHOLE new game, 2 cover pages (to help you organise your stuff!) and a tracing worksheet! If you have purchased Blends Train from me at my TpT store, just re-download the revisions for FREE! This is one of the reasons I LOVE TpT! The ability to access your previously purchased files means teacher-authors can treat you to bonus upgrades and FREE add-ons! 

How do you teach the concept of consonant blends? The reason I invest some time in teaching the actual idea of a blend, is that in can replace a LOT of time spent on other activities and worksheets. If your students understand how blends work, they really do not have to spend too long completing too many activities on learning to recognise the actual blends, in the same way they would spend time learning letters of the alphabet. A few activities, yes, but you will find after a solid teaching of the concept, they can apply their knowledge of a few blends over to other blends they see in words, or need to spell. 

I am happy to share with you the ideas behind the posters that are now included in this file. 

I use a poster like this to tell students that we are going to learn blends. 

Use this poster to introduce students to ‘The Blends Train’. Tell them that the train is carrying the ‘b’ and ‘l’ combination today (use letter names) and point to the front window.

Tell the students that this combination is made of a ‘b’ sound and a ‘l’ sound. Point to the two carriages. Tell the students that when the train wakes up in the morning, it is cold, he is slow to move and he needs to move his wheels very slowly to warm them up. Tell them to listen as you show them.
Move your arms like a train and very slowly say ‘b’......’l’.......’b’.......’l’..... and slowly get faster. 

Pause, to tell them that because the train is carrying both letters, you can hear BOTH sounds. As the train speeds up, the letter get closer together. Show your students and have them listen to you get faster. Now pause to tell them that the train gets so fast and smooth that eventually the sounds get so close together that it sounds like almost one sound!! 

Your students will love it, I promise. It will help the understand that a blend is almost like a sound in itself, but both letters are still 'heard' - unlike other tricky letter combinations like 'er' and 'ai'.

In the file, I have also included a blank train so you can write, with a dry-erase marker, new blends to show your students a few examples. 

I hope you are having a wonderful start to your week!