Play the Word Accordion

Joslyn Vilabrera

Rationale: Young children need to master a series of skills that are necessary when learning to read. One of these skills is blending. It is the ability to smoothly join phonemes sounds together that would lead to an approximate pronunciation of a word. The ability to blend different parts of a word is crucial in decoding printed words from its spelling. This lesson will help develop the blending skill needed by using the Body-Coda method develop by Lloyd Eldredge.

Materials         Note cards
                       Markers (different colors)
                       Poster board (to make accordion)
                       Steck- Vaughn Phonic Reader   Matt and Rags
                       1yard Velcro or Velcro squares

Fold poster board lengthways into two and cut on the fold (to get the width of the accordion). Leave about 12 inches flat on both ends of the poster board. Between the two 12inches ends pleat the poster board like you are making a paper fan. (See example) Let student make his or her own accordion before teaching as an art project.

Velcro strips and copy the graphemes as a guided writing lesson.

On individual 8x5 note cards write all the letter that come before the vowel, then the vowel on one card, and on a third card all the letters that come after the vowel

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining what is blending. Day  “today we are going to learn a new way to read words its called blending. When you blend you join different sounds together to make a word.” To show you how to do this I’m going to use my word accordion that we made before.
2. Before starting the lesson review some of the letter-sound correspondences orally with students. For Example, ask the students “what sound does the vowels a, e, i, o, u make” after you say a word and ask the students identify the sound.
3. Now I’m going to show you how to play the word accordion, but you have to put your listening ear on so you can hear the sounds I’m repeating. So you can squeeze them together to make the new words. (Note to teacher) start blending with the vowel sound first then add any single consonant or digraph sound that comes before the vowel. (This is called the body). Lastly sound out any single consonant or digraph that comes after the vowel (this is called the Coda). Hold out the sounds in the beginning to allow the student to recognize what is being said then shorten while you squeeze the accordion together to emphasize how the different sounds are being blended together by the accordion.
4. Now I want you to repeat after me. /a/ now add /p/ to /a/  /pppaaa/  /pa/ say /t/. Now let squeeze them together /p/-/a/-/t/ what the new word?  Yes pat (model at least four words)
5. Repeat steps 4 using different sequences of graphemes and have student make the sounds themselves as you place the graphemes (letters) on the accordion. Wait for responses if they does not sound fluent you repeat the sound so the students can hear the right voicing. You can do this even if their response is correct just as reinforcement. After all the parts are blended together as “Can you tell me what new words did the accordion make

 (Note to teacher) There are eight pages in the book break the class into 8 groups and assign a page to each. Ex. Group 1 get page 1, group 2 get page 2 etc. and have the students use their accordions and word puzzle cards to blend the words on the page. (Circulate to give feedback) After they have blended the words have them read the page. Again if pronunciation is not complete give praise and model. Depending on time remaining allow students to go to another page until they have they’ve completed the entire book.

References: Word List: Eldredge, Lloyd, (1995) Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms, Published by Prentice ­Hall Inc, pp 184.

Murray, Bruce, Dr., The Reading Genie at

                                                                     Word List

                                        Words from text:    Matt, Rags
                                                        fan nap rat van
                                                        and map has sad
                                                        ram can pat

Additional short vowel word list that could be used without text for oral blending activities with increase phoneme quantities in the Body and Coda.

                                                                        At          lap              lamp
                                                                        An          back          band
                                                                        Add        bag           land
                                                                        As           tack          sand
                                                                        Am          tap           crack

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