Two Magical Tips for Blending Sounds Into Words


As I outlined in my last blog, “Three secrets you must know about teaching phonics”, there are both easy and difficult ways to teach someone the relationship between symbols and the sounds they make. By using those three secrets, you are employing the most effective method. I always prefer following the KISS principle.

So now that you have accomplished some or all of the major feat of teaching phonics, you are ready for the next major challenge- teaching a student how to blend the sounds together to make words.

  1. We have already divided the 1000 most common English words into two piles; (65% phonetically regular and 35% phonetically irregular). Now let’s teach the phonetically regular words.
  2. Remember – You can’t sound out phonetically irregular words.
  3. You must choose the words that you are going to teach carefully.
  4. Remember all of the sounds and sound combinations must be taught before that sound or sound combination can be used in a word.
  5. If the child can correctly say the sounds in the order in which they appear in a phonetically regular word, they can unlock that word.


Here’s the First Magical Tip:

The student must be taught not stop between the sounds in the word.

NOT “m – a – n” But “mmmaaannn”

NOT “sh – i – p” But “shshshiiippp”

Here’s the Problem

There are two kinds of sounds and sound combinations. There are continuous sounds (mmmmm, shshshsh, eeeee etc.) and short sounds (t,d,ck,g etc).

Students will automatically stop when they run into a short sound or sound combination in a word that they are trying to sound out.

Here’s the Solution

  • We place a dot under each continuous sound in a phonetically regular word.
  • We place a chevron under each short sound in a phonetically irregular word.
  • We teach the student to hold each sound wth a dot for a half second.
  • We teach the student to fly past the chevron, pulling the short sound into the next continuous sound or sound combination.


Here’s the Second Magical Tip:

Tell the student to take a big breathe and to breathe out all of the time in which s/he is sounding out the word.

  • You cannot exhale and stop at the same time. It is a form of counterconditioning.
  • As long as the student is exhaling while saying the sounds, there will be no gaps and the word will fall out automatically.


Adding the KISS principle

You could sit down with your current reading program and sort the words into two piles, check to see if all of the sounds and sound combinations have been taught before being used in a word, add the dots and arrows and begin to use these magical tips to teach a student.


You could simply sign up for the free testing, training and the first 10 free lessons and see how easy it is to teach beginning reading to any student. That would be an excellent use of the KISS principle.


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