TEACHING BLENDING OF SOUNDS FOR READING – I
There are two types of sound in English.
(a) First type of sound makes a pure, continuous sound;
examples – sounds of s, f, r, m, n, v are, /ssssssssssssss/, /ffffffffffffffff/, /rrrrrrrrrrrrrr/, /mmmmmmmmm/, /nnnnnnnnnn/ and /vvvvvvvvvvv/ respecively.
(b) The other sounds are impossible to say without adding a ‘schwa’ to the end. The schwa is like an /uh/ sound. For instance, the /b/ sound cannot be said without a schwa: /buh/. The continuous sounds can be said with, or without, the schwa. Sounds should be said with as little schwa as possible.
With blending, the first sound needs to be louder than the others. This helps the child to remember the sound the word starts with. The sounds that follow in the word need to be spoken softly and quickly, and the schwa should be avoided where possible. This technique has been found to be effective, and about three quarters of the children master it quite quickly. Although blending is more difficult for the other quarter of the class, all they need is more practice. Frequently, in a whole-class situation, the children who are good at blending call out the answer too quickly and the less able copy them. To remedy this situation you should provide an extra blending session for the weaker children.