Automatic blending of CVC words

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Automatic blending of CVC words

Post by elsy » Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:10 pm

I could really do with some advice on this.

I work with several Y2 children who are still laboriously sounding out most CVC words before blending them. I don't think it's because they think I only want them to do this as, if it's a word they already know or have seen a few times that session, they will just read the word.

If I present them with words made from 3 letter cards and change only the last letter over, say, 4 or 5 words, some children will sound out every word. Some will notice and read eg ha-m, ha-t, ha-d.

I didn't do this to encourage onset and rime, but to see how they would respond. It makes no difference which letter of the three I change.

How long can I expect it to take before their blending becomes automatic?

How important is it for this to become automatic?

Should I limit them to CVC words or will having to sound out words with initial and final consonant clusters help?

What activities can I do? I'm very wary of repaeting the same few words as I don't want the children to acquire a string of CVC words learnt as wholes.

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Post by maizie » Mon Jun 23, 2008 9:58 pm

Hi, elsy :smile:

I'm not quite clear what you are trying to achieve here. Are you wanting them to sound out and blend 'subvocally' before coming out with the complete word? Or are you looking for them to sound out and blend as they go through the word, so that, in effect they do the two things practically simultaneously? If the latter, I can say that even my Y7s & 8s can't do that with an unfamiliar word; I still have them sounding out, then blending it - several times over if they can't get the hang of the word the first time - I think it helps to 'fix' the word and they generally have no problem the next time they encounter it. They just read it straight off, as you say yours do with words they 'know' or have seen several times in the session. Do they have any problems with these 'known' words if they encounter them in a later session?

I'm having a bit of a problem with a couple of children who still sound out words that they have encountered many times before. I am trying to counter this by, firstly, making sure that they have the PGCs to automaticity, my feeling, on reflecting on this problem, being that they often just couldn't remember the PGCs and this was slowing them down. (I've sent them home with 'sound sheets' to practice and chart how many they get correct in a minute at each of our sessions)

Secondly, I'm working on getting them to 'hold' the first sound, (or two if it's an unvoiced consonant followed by a vowel) while decoding the next grapheme along. I think they have got into a habit of that stacatto (sp?) 'kuh, a, tuh' sounding out which seems to be stopping them blend 'first time'. (gosh, this is difficult to explain!). I try 'progressive blending' as well.

I don't know if this is any help to you; I think our 'problems' are slightly different, but you never know what might help it to click.

For improving 'first time' fluency I like the idea of Malteser's card game. Cards with word on one side, picture on the other, first child to say the word correctly keeps the card (picture used to check if correct), winner is child with the most cards at the end. She has a naughty puppet who grabs a card from the child who has just won it - much hilarity I imagine. Go on, I know you love puppets...

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Post by elsy » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:05 am

Thanks Maizie. It's quite a lengthy thing to explain and I posted in a bit of a hurry.

What I'm hoping for is that these children can see any CVC word, familiar or not, and read it straight off, as most of their peers can. Is this just too much to hope for?

As far as I'm aware, these children do not have specific learning issues, just a history of look and say, guessing, and slow, not very systematic phonics teaching. Apart from b/d and the occasional p, they are secure on the basic alphabet and some digraphs. (Not all of them muddle b/d/p.)

Really, I just want to know if I'm expecting too much and, if not, just how much of which activity it might take. Can we crack it by the end of term when they leave for their junior school?

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