Is it time to move on?

I know I often say I am excited, but this is on a whole other level. I just finished some resources that have been a labour of love for quite some time.

I decided right from the outset to bundle them up, as I know so many of you like to buy my bundles. 

The 'Blends Bonanza' will help you move on from cvc words.

 In Kindergarten, as part of my explicit phonics teaching, I teach the order:

1. single sounds
2. cvc with a focus on short vowels
3. consonant blends (initial and final position)
4. consonant digraphs
5. vowel sounds and 'harder' sounds

Consonant Blends Activities

Consonant Blends Activities

Sure, when reading and implementing my 'wider literary' program, students are interacting with sounds in a more organic way. 

But when we use worksheets and structured activities to progress through a continuum-of-learning in 'phonics' I use the above sequenced progression.

My teaching makes more sense if students move from cvc to ccvc. Why? Because the only difference between a cvc and a ccvc is one extra consonant. They learned all those in #1! 

In my teaching program, my students had only been exposed to single sounds and short vowels up until the point of learning blends. 

I can't understand trying to teach blends in Kindergarten with big words that include harder sounds. 

For example, I would much rather teach the "cl" blend with words like 'clam', 'clip' and 'club' than 'clothes', 'cloud'  and 'clever'.

Sure, in the wider literacy program, students will be exposed to words like 'cloud'. But they will only need to 'hear' the sound and perhaps read/understand it in part of a wider context.

When I'm explicitly teaching "blends" and learning to ENCODE AND DECODE with blends - spelling worksheets, 'building' activities etc - my activities MUST be ccvc or cvcc.

Use resources with words like 'cloud' and "blue" for activities where the students just have to 'hear' the sound, NOT for when you are teaching how to spell and write. 

There are not a huge amount of these words available (ccvc and cvcc). But the idea is that you teach your students about blends and how to blend, and then they apply this knowledge to their reading when they encounter blends in longer and trickier words.

Because there are not too many words in ccvc and cvcc format, you will need to structure your program based on a short vowel sound focus - not a 'blends' focus. This is very achievable, as students 'pick up' blends so quickly. They are easier to learn that tricky digraphs that make a whole new sound - like oi or ou. Consonant blends look like they sound. Once students learn a few, they pick up the others quickly. 

You may also have to 'teach' some new vocabulary - only a couple - that may not be too familiar "stag' for example is a word used, and the children may think it s 'deer'. But in my experience, the kids pick it up almost instantly and LOVE the new words. Your first activity for the week should be to introduce a bank of words and discuss them. Perfect timing!

When you have a short vowel focus to your program, your students will be learning multiple blends at the same time - for example if you do 'short a' first, they could focus on 

plan, tank, trap and ramp all on one day. What ties them together is the short vowel, not the blend. 

Consonant Blends Activities

This packet of resources would follow on very well from our "Words Train" resource, that helps learn cvc words. Although it is not necessary. This resource encourages students to build and make cvc words to gain and understanding of cvc words. 

When you use a framework like this for word work, where students are 'building' the word on a structure, it makes learning blends SUPER easy. You just show students how you are making one letter to one of the cards. During my very first lesson on blends, I often make a cvc word with my coloured cards, and then physically write a new letter on one of the existing cards - so in the image below - b, a, t would become br, a, t and the students could see very clearly how easy it is to add a new letter and make a new word. 

For blends, I would recommend that you print and use the posters to help introduce the students to your focus words for the week. Start with short a and work your way through to short u. 

I printed these '2 to a page'.

The bundle includes worksheets where students can cut and paste to build the word. Writ'n'Wipe cards are also available to use in a literacy centre or small group. 

The word building mats are very similar to the ones in my cvc packet, incorporating colours for each section of the word. This will assist your students in recognising the blend as one chunk within the word.  You can use them with letter brick, magnetic letters, or my favourite - dry erase markers. 

Blends Bonanza is in my TpT store HERE

I also have a little free file for you today. Schools in Australia head back for a brand new school year in late January, early February. This little interactive sweet cupcake incorporates a Valentine theme AND 'getting to know me' theme - perfect for this time of year.

You can find it on Google Drive by clicking on the image below:

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