“Blending Bumper Cars”
Anna Maner
Beginning Readers

Rationale:  There are many steps in learning to read, and one of the main steps is getting children to blend sounds to make words.  In order for a child to be able to learn to blend sounds together to make words, they must know consonant and short vowel sounds.  The following activity will give them a concrete and fun way to learn this skill.  Once a child learns to blend, then the world of reading will be open to them.  As a result of this activity, children will be able to blend sounds together to form consonant/vowel/consonant words.

Materials: 1. A large cardboard picture of two bumper cars on a track.
Cut out the cars and place them on the track.  Each car should be made with a small pocket on the side to place the letter cards.
2. The green cards will have the consonant letters on them and the blue cards will have a vowel on them.
3. Make copies of the cars for each child to use and little green and blue cards to be used for blending.
4. Enough copies of the book Cat Nap for the whole class.
5. Letter cards with the following pair of letters: ra, ha, ba, ca

1. Ask the students: Who wants to learn to read words?  Well, in order to do that we must learn how to blend sounds together.  First, lets review all the sounds that each letter makes together.  Great!  Now that we know all the sounds we can blend them together to form a word.

2. Introduce consonants and vowels with the class and explain to them the difference between them.  Put all of the consonants on green cards and all of the vowels on blue cards.  Model your large cars in the water with their cards.

3. Share the following story about consonants and vowels with the class: All of the alphabet sounds were out at Celebration Station and arcade.  Several of the sounds could not wait to ride the bumper cars.  (Show the cardboard cars).  The consonants raced to get a bumper car, but all the vowel sounds just sat there.  One day “b” (use the sound, not the letter name) said to “a” (use short vowel sound), “Come on, lets go ride the cars.”  But “a” said, “No thank you, I’m not about to get in one of those cars.  I’ll just watch.”  In case you have not figured it out, the vowels were afraid to ride the bumper cars.  But “b” persisted and said, “It is so much fun.  You can ride with me so you will not be afraid.”  After a little more persuasion, “a” decided to give it a try.  So “b” and “a” went and got in the bumper car together.

4. Model the blending activity for the students.  Hold the “b” card and the “a”card together as you place them in the car and move them around saying “ba, ba, ba, ba.”  (Then have the class say it with you).  Have “t” card riding along in another car.  When ba sees that they are about to bump into someone they say “baaaaaaa” until they bump into “t”, making the word “bat.”

5. Continue story: “a” had a blast riding in the car with “b” and together they made a word.  Did you hear what they said?  They made “bat.”  “a “ could not wait to bump into more people.  This time “d” (letter sound) was in the other car and “b” and “a” road around some more “ba, ba, ba until they came upon “d”, “baaaaaa” bumped into “d’s” car, “baaaaa…d,” making the word “bad.”  “Hip, Hip, Hooray” shouted “a,” we made another word…bad!”  Soon the other vowels saw how much fun “a” was having, and they could not wait to ride the bumper cars too.

6. Continue bumping into cars with different consonant and vowel sounds.  Allow each student to try it on the large car/track picture and give them a copy of the cars for them to have at their own desk.

7. Now let the students practice blending on their own and see what words they make blending consonant/vowel/consonant words.  Be sure to remind them that they must always have a consonant (green card) ride with a vowel (blue card) and to always have a consonant (green card) bump into them.  Tell them to work with the following letters ONLY: Let these letters ride together: ra, ha, ba, ca, and let these letters bump into them: t, d, n, s, b.  See how many different words you can make.  For assessment, walk around the classroom and notice if each child is able to blend the sounds and make a word using the bumper cars at their desk.

8. Hang the large picture of bumper cars on the track in the classroom and have the letter cards available so the students can use it to practice “Bumping” into letters to make words.

9. Retell the story several times throughout the week until the students understand the idea of “Bumping” the sounds together.  After they get the idea, then have them try blending words without using the cars.

10. As the class is practicing blending sounds to make words with their boats go around to each student and have them read a short book like Cat Nap and note any miscues.

Reference:  Building Blocks to Reading: Activities by the Letter

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