The Blending Water Slide
Beginning Reading
Jenni Pang

Rationale: Phonics instruction should help children develop a sense of blending ability, crucial later in decoding printed words from their spellings.  Once a child understands consonant and vowel sounds, he or she can learn to blend these together to form words and read.

Materials: A large picture of a water slide with steps leading to the top and a pool at the bottom (a pocket can be made at the bottom to hold a consonant card); red cards with a consonant on each; yellow cards with a vowel on each; a small copy of the water slide for each child to use; small yellow and red cards for the students to use for blending; a copy of Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss.

Procedures: 1. Discuss the differences between consonants and vowels with the children.  Ask them to name some consonants.  Ask them to name all of the vowels (a,e,i,o,u).  Tell the students: Today we are going to send some of the alphabet sounds down a water slide and blend them together with some of their other alphabet friends to create words.

2. Ask students: Have any of you ever been to a water park and been scared to slide down one of the water slides by yourself?  Well, the alphabet sounds took a trip to the Beach Blend Water Park and they all wanted to slide down the slides, but some were scared.  All the consonants were brave and they wanted to slide, but the vowels were scared, so they never went down the water slide.  One day, /c/ said to /a/, "Come on!  Let's slide down the water slide!"  /a/ was scared and replied, "No, thank you."  You see, he was a vowel and ALL the vowels were very scared.  But /c/ said, "It’s really a lot of fun.  I'll slide down with you so you won't be so scared."  /a/ thought a little more about it, but was still scared that he might fall when he got to the bottom, so he still didn't want to go.  Well, /t/ was listening the whole time and heard their problem.  He said he would be glad to wait at the bottom in the pool to catch /a/, so he wouldn't fall.  After a little more convincing, /a/ decided to be brave and try.  So /c/ and /a/ went up the stairs together.

3. Hold the /c/ card and the /a/ card together as you move them up the steps of the water slide.  For each step, say "ca, ca, ca, ca."  Have the class say the sound with you for each step.

4. At the bottom of the slide, in the pool, have /t/ waiting.  When "ca" reaches the top of the slide, slide them down saying "ca a a a a a" until they fall into /t/, forming the word "cat."

5. Continue the story: /a/ thought that was a lot of fun and they even made a word.  Did you hear what word they made?  They made the word "cat."  /a/ wanted slide again, but this time, /p/ waited in the pool at the bottom.  /c/ and /a/ started climbing the ladder again (remember to say "ca,ca,ca,ca" for each step) and slid down the slide again (ca a a a a) and then bumped into /p/ at the bottom.  "Hurray!" shouted /a/, "We've made another word…cap!"  Soon all the other vowels saw the fun that /a/ was having and they slid down the slide too.

6. Read Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss.  Have the students use the slide with the CVC words from the story.

7. Continue the Water Slide game with other vowels and consonants, blending CVC words.  Have some students come to the front of the room and demonstrate with the big water slide.  Write the words the students create as a class on the board for examples of CVC words.  Pass out the individual slides and letters and have the students experiment at their desks.  Remind them that they will always have a consonant (red card) slide down with a vowel (yellow card) and there will always be a consonant (red card) in the pool at the bottom to catch them.

Reference: "The Blending Slide"- Trish Uselman; Eugene Field School, Silverton, OR

Click here to return to Illuminations.