Middle-est has begun her blends this past week, starting with “ta, te, ti, to, tu.” She’s already a couple of steps ahead of the game, since she has been singing blend ladders from the time her brother began his blends. (Blends are sung to “Skip to My Lou” tune.) Nevertheless, she is absolutely thrilled to be officially beginning these reading lessons: her own flashcards, her own blend worksheets—it’s big girl school, and she is very ready for it.
We have a little system for the lessons, a few different ways I introduce each blend family. First, we use a laminated train to help her connect the two sounds. T (or whatever consonant we are on) is written on the engine; then each vowel is written on a different car. We say “T,T,T—a,a,a—T—a—Ta,” and she pushes the car up to the engine. Then, we repeat with the next vowel.
Next, we sing the blend ladder, as I mentioned above. I also have blend flashcards for her to read through. A couple of other fun activities that we’ve enjoyed include having her make the blends on our felt board, and playing with the dry erase board.
The dry erase board was a new idea this time around, combining some handwriting with our blend work. On the top line, I had 5 T’s written with plenty of space after each letter. On the second line, I had written the five vowels, with ample space before each letter. Her job was to fill in the missing letters and say the blend she made. Not only did it have her practicing writing several letters, but it also helped her to connect the sounds once more.
We’ve been working through these different activities about a week, and have recently started our second blend family, “la, le, li, lo, lu.” She’s catching on quickly, enjoying all the variety (her middle name is “variety”), and feeling like quite the big girl.