Method for Teaching the Blending of Sounds
"Train Technique"
Kendall Goodwin

Rationale:  Blending individual speech sounds is the most different blending task, but also the most important one for children to master.  The skill will be needed when students learn to match sounds to symbols and decide unknown words in their reading.  In this particular lesson, students will learn to blend words together by using pictures and models to figure out the sounds in each word.

Materials Needed:
Toy train that locks or hooks together (optional) ö Any store
Interlocking letters
Learning Resources make a magnetic set of Link 'N' Spell Letter (lowercase)
Train Bookmark- RAI Office, our Web Site ö

Warm Up- Exercise
1. Do you know how real trains hook together? (Some S' may not know this.)
2. Each car of the train bumps into another car and when they bump together, they lock.  (Demonstrate with your model train) All of the cars together make one long train.
3. To read words, we take each sound and "lock" them all together just like the cars of our train, to make one long word.

Exercise  #1
(Take 3 of the letters, sit and place them on the table.)
Teacher: What are the sounds of these letters?  (Point to each letter and have S tell you the sound.)
Student: (s) (i) (t).
T Great job! Now listen and watch me.
S I am going to take the first word (s) and hold it or stretch it while I move toward the next letter.
(T models by saying the sound (ssssssssss) and moving the s toward the i.)
When I bump into the I, I am going to say its sound (i).  (When the letter s bumps in the letter I, T says (i) and locks the 2 letters together.)
T Now we have (si). Here we go again, Watch me and listen. (T takes the locked letter si and prolongs them (siiiiiiiiiiiii) as she moves toward the letter t. When T bumps into the letter t, she says (t).)
T Now we have sit!  Do you see how we took each sound and bumped into the next sound so they could lock together and make a word?
S Yes.
T Okay. Now let's try it together.
T What are the sounds of these letter again? (T points to each letter and waits for S to give each sound,)
S (s) (i) (t)
T Great job! Ready? Here we go. (T has S place his hand on the letter s.)
T (places her hand on the top of S's in order to guide the S.) What's this sound?
S (s).
T Good. Let's go!
TS say (ssssssss) while moving the letter s toward the letter i.  When TS bump into I, they say (i) and lock the s and I together.
T What does this say so far?
S (si).  (In the beginning the T may have to model this.)
T Good! Okay, here we go again. Ready? (T again places her hand on S's)
TS say (siiiiiiiiii) while moving the locked letters toward the letter t.  When si bumps into the letter t, TS
T What word did we read?
S Sit.
T Terrific! Now you can try it on your own!  I'll help if you need me to.  Ready?
S Yeah! (S take the letter s and goes through the above process on his own.)
T That was super! See how you put all of those sounds together and read a word?
S Yeah! That was fun. Let's do it again!

Once the S understands this technique and can do it fairly well on his own, then you can move the next step, using the train bookmark with Just Words and ASSIST Reader.  The technique is basically the same as with the interlocking letters.
Example, sit.  Take the bookmark and cover all the letters in the word except the first one s.  Have the student hold or stretch (prolong) the sound (s) until the S feels comfortable and then S slides the bookmark to their right and uncovers the i.  As soon as S uncovers the (i), he says the sound (i).  Now S says (si)S says (siiiiiiiiiiii) until he uncovers the t and says (t).  S says the whole word, sit.


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