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Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part II

Phonics teaches children to identify relationships between letters and sounds which aids in indentifying words. When teaching phonics a methodical and explicit approach works best. Begin with the simple relationships – ones a child can easily understand and gradually move along the continuum to the more complex relationships.

The previous post, Sequence of Phonics Instruction – Part I, addressed consonants, short vowels and word families, specifically VC and CVC. This post will discuss digraphs, blends and related word families. It is important to begin with Part I before advancing to two or more consonant sounds and the patterns that involve both blends and digraphs, e.g., CVCC, CCVC and CCVCC.

  1. Initial Consonant Blends

    Introduce initial consonant blends (two or more consonant sounds at the beginning of a word in which each letter retains its own sound).

    Letters
    Example
    Letters
    Example
    pr
    print
    fr
    frog
    tr
    truck
    st
    star
    gr
    grape
    sp
    spill
    br
    bread
    sk
    skin
    cr
    crab
    sc
    score
    dr
    drive
    sw
    swing
    sm
    small
    fl
    flag
    sn
    snack
    sl
    sleep
    pl
    plan
    gl
    glad
    cl
    clap
    tw
    twenty
    bl
    blow
    dw
    dwell
    spr
    spring
    str
    straw
    scr
    scream
    shr
    shrink
    spl
    splash
    thr
    throw

    The above initial blends belong to one of five families:

    • L family – e.g., cl as in clam or gl as in glue
    • R family – e.g., br as in Brad or fr as in fry
    • S family – e.g., sn as in snail or st as in step
    • 3-letter family, -e.g., str as in street or thr as in three
    • No family – e.g, dw as in dwell or tw as in twin

    Consider beginning with the L family followed by the R family.

  2. Final Consonant Blends

    Introduce final consonant blends (two or more consonant sounds at the end of a word in which each letter retains its own sound). Using rhymes to teach ending consonant blends facilitates making a connection between letters and sounds.

    Letters
    Examples
    ct

    act, fact & pact
    ft

    left, theft, gift, lift, drift & shift
    ld

    old, told, hold, sold, held & weld
    lf

    elf & shelf
    lk

    milk, silk, bulk, sulk & hulk
    lm

    calm, palm & balm
    lp

    help, yelp, kelp & gulp
    lt

    halt, salt, felt, melt & belt
    mp

    camp, champ, stamp, dump & jump
    nch

    ranch, branch, bench, drench, inch & pinch
    nd

    band, hand, land, send, bend & blend
    nk

    ink, stink, stank, stunk, trunk, bank & sank
    nt

    bent, sent, hint, mint, print, hunt & bunt
    pt

    kept, swept, slept & wept
    rd

    card, hard, guard, yard, cord, afford & Lord
    rt

    art, cart, mart, part, chart, smart, start, dirt, shirt & skirt
    sk

    ask, mask, task, dusk & husk
    sp

    gasp, clasp, grasp, lisp, crisp & wisp
    st

    fast, last, list fist, best, guest, chest, must & trust
  3. Consonant Digraph

    Introduce the combination of two letters that represent one sound (digraph).

    Letters
    Example
    ch
    chimp
    sh
    ship
    th
    thin and these
    wh
    whale
    ph
    phone
    gh
    tough
    ng
    sing

    Consider introducing the following digraphs first: ch, sh, th and wh.

  4. Consonant-Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CCVC), Consonant-Vowel-Consonant-Consonant (CVCC) and Consonant-Consonant-Vowel-Consonant-Consonant (CCVCC)

    Now that’s a mouth full of gibberish! Practice both digraphs and blends using CCVC, CVCC and CCVCC words. Using the words noted below, create word cards. Write each word on a card and perform the following:

    • Tell your child to sound out each letter-sound relationship and then read the word fast.
    • Show your child a card and model your expectations – sound out the word very slowly and then read the word quickly. For example, using the word clap, say slowly ccllllaaapp and then quickly say clap. Of course, you must end by clapping since you successful said the word!
    • If your child mispronounces a word, have her slowly sound out the word using her finger to point to each sound and then move her finger quickly as she says the word fast. Offer assistance when deemed necessary, e.g. if your child is struggling with a word, pronounce it for him. As always keep it fun and practice applying a good dose of patience!

    CCVC
    CVCC
    CCVCC
    blob
    belt
    black
    chop
    card
    brick
    clap
    fact
    check
    crab
    fish
    front
    drum
    gift
    glass
    flag
    hand
    graph
    plum
    hold
    print
    skip
    jump
    scarf
    snap
    kelp
    shelf
    spin
    last
    skunk
    stop
    mask
    slept
    swim
    milk
    smart
    them
    palm
    snack
    twin
    sing
    think
    whip
    wasp
    trunk

I always like to keep it fun when learning to read. So let’s review what your child has learned with a fun game! Using paper or index cards create two piles of cards.

  • The first pile will contain the onsets (the initial sounds of a word):
    1. Single letters: t & l
    2. Blends: cl & sl
    3. Digraph: sh

  • The second pile will contain the rimes (the ending part of a word):
    1. VC: -ot & -ip
    2. VCC: -ack, ick & uck

On a separate card write the five onsets and rimes. If possible use colored paper; write the onsets on one color and the rimes on another. You should have a total of ten cards.

  • Review each card with your child.
  • Place the two sets face down.
  • Select one card from each pile and read the word. For example, if you selected sh from the onset pile and ip from the rime pile, you would say, “ship.”
  • Ask them if they can name other words that rhyme with ship, e.g., hip, lip, chip & skip.

Please note shick and sluck are not words but may be formed in this game. If your child says these words, ask them if this is a real word. If you want a good laugh, make up a definition for these made-up words.

1 comment… add one

  • Excellent material

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