This week the children will begin to blend (read) and segment (spell) words orally. We call this ‘sound talk’.
For example, c-a-t = cat. The separate sounds (phonemes) are spoken aloud, in order, all through the word, and are then merged together into the whole word. The merging together is called blending – it is a vital skill for reading.
Children will also learn to do this the other way around: cat = c-a-t. The whole word is spoken aloud, and then broken up into its sounds (phonemes) in order, all through the word. This is called segmenting – a vital skill for spelling.
An important point to remember is to avoid saying the ‘uh’ sound that you might remember from school. Think of ‘b’, ‘c’ without the ‘uh’ – make the sound as short and ‘pure’ as possible for these sounds. For others, like ‘f’ and ‘l’, the sound should also not have an ‘uh’ sound, but these letters can be more continuous.
At the moment, blending and segmenting is all oral (spoken). Your child will not be expected to match the letter to the sound at this stage. The emphasis is on helping children to hear the separate sounds in words and to create spoken sounds.
Try this at home:
Find real objects around your home which have three phonemes (sounds) and practise ‘sound talk’ – first just let them listen, then see if they will join in, eg:
- ‘I spy a p-e-g – peg’
- ‘I spy a c-u-p – cup’
- ‘Where’s your other s-o-ck – sock?’
- ‘Simon says – put your hands on your h-ea-d’
- ‘Simon says – touch your ch-i-n’
- ‘Simon says – pick up your b-a-g’
Play other phonic games at home, too!