Ten blending activities

These games can be played at most phases if the words are carefully selected.

1. Use word cards

Play class ‘Bingo’. Use six pictures stuck on the board as a giant Bingo card. Pick out a word card. The child picking out the card must blend the word, read it (with help from the class if necessary) and match it to the correct picture. When all the pictures have a word attached- you all shout ‘Bingo!’

2. Use large letter cards

Three children are each given a large letter card and asked to stand together to make a word. The rest of the class say the sounds and read the word. Choose another trio of children to make a word if practising CVC, or more children if you are practicing CCVC or CVCC words.

3. Change the word

As above but change one letter each time to make a different word. Sometimes it’s possible to end with the same word you started with. This is known as Full Circle, eg. cat, cap, tap, tip, dip, pip, pit, pat, cat- Full circle! This is great for both blending and segmenting.

4. Beat the clock

Show a pre-selected list of words for children. Try to read as many words as possible in a set time. Once the timer is set, invite the children one at a time to sound-talk and then read a word. A selection of free online timers can be found here.

5. What's in the bag?

Have a bag of objects to match the words you wish to practise reading. Show a word, ask a child to sound it out, read it, then find the matching object in the bag.

6. Human dominoes

Hand out a large set of dominoes that feature words and (not matching) pictures. Choose a child to start. The child who has the picture to match the word on the first domino must stand up. The child who has the picture to match the next word then stands up. Continue until all the dominoes have been used.

7. Change it

Write a caption, phrase or sentence that is decodable for the children. Ask the children to blend it and read it. Then remove or erase one word and write a new one. Invite the children to again blend and read the new word. Continue for as long as you can, changing just one word each time.

8. Use sound buttons

Teach blending of VC or CVC words, eg. if, map. Instead of just pointing to the letters as you say the sounds- put a button, dot or blob under each letter or group of letters that represents a sound, as shown on the examples below (in the case of VC or CVC words each letter will represent one sound but, at later phases, more than one letter may represent a single sound, eg. b/r/igh/t. In this case, igh would only need a single line underneath it). This is sound-talk but with a visual clue. Write up simple VC or CVC words and invite children to add the blob.

9. Yes or no

When children can read simple sentences, prepare some silly questions for example, 'Are cows blue?'. In pairs or groups, children must read the questions  and decide whether to hold up their ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ card. Ensure the children blend the sentence for the class as well as justifying their response.

10. Draw it

Prepare some simple sentences. In pairs ask the children to respond in drawing, eg. a pig on a log, a bus on top of a hut, etc. Invite the children with the best drawing to demonstrate the blending of the sentence for the others.


English, English and Literacy, English and Writing, English for the More Able, phonics, Reading, Reading and Ebooks

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