What: Sound blending is the vocal effort to merge two or more disparate sounds into one sound or word.
Examples: b + l = bl
c + a + t = cat
Why: For unknown words, sound blending is the most critical technique to decipher the word. Another method would be to skip the word and rely on context to help determine the unknown word. In some cases, using context as well as partial sound blending may lead to deciphering the word. The goal for sound blending is to blend single syllable words within three seconds.
How: The student should have good skills in alphabetic principles and phonemic awareness. My Breakfast Reading Program recommends determining the vowel rule/sound and then blending initial consonants with the vowel and then the final consonants (synthetic phonics). If the student recognizes onsets and rimes (analytic phonics), the student can blend these to units.
My Breakfast Reading Program also provides dominoes (as well as demo video) for manipulative materials to utilize multi-sensory inputs during the early phases of learning sound blending skills. When first teaching sound blending skills, the initial time will significantly exceed the three seconds for a word.
As discussed in vocabulary, you may want to discuss the meaning of the word and/or present the word in a sentence. This will give meaning to decoded/blended sounds.