What is blending?

What is blending?
As they learn to read, children are taught individual sounds and then how to link them together to form words. By the end of Reception your child will be able to blend sounds together; find out how your child will be taught blending in school and how you can support learning at home.

What is blending?

By the end of Reception, children should be able to make the correct sound for each letter of the alphabet.

Children will also learn to blend sounds. This means that they will learn to look at a short word, such as 'tin' and rather than saying three separate sounds 't', 'i', 'n', link the sounds together and say the whole word in one go. This is a big step for many children and can take time.

  • Children will usually focus on blending CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) words for some time. Examples of these are: mat, rip, cot, tip, sit, cut, ham, nod etc.
  • They will then start to learn to blend consonant clusters, such as fr, cl, st, br, lk, st etc. Examples of words containing these are: frog, clap, stay, brim, milk, fast.
  • Children will also need to start blending words that contain vowel digraphs. A vowel digraph is two vowels that make up one sound, such as ai, ee, ue, found in words such as fair, bee, glue.
  • They will also learn to blend words using consonant digraphs. A consonant digraph is two consonants that make up one sound, such as sh, ch, th, found in words such as ship, chat and thin.

When a child gets stuck on a word, a teacher will often help them to read it by getting them to look at the individual sounds. For example: if a child gets stuck on the word:

sitting

a teacher may point at each individual sound and encourage the child to sound them out. Sometimes it is useful for a teacher to write the word on a mini-whiteboard in bigger letters, so that they can underline the individual sounds like this:

s  i  tt  i  ng

Once a child has identified all of the individual sounds, they are encouraged to blend the sounds together to read the whole word.

For more advice on helping your child to blend sounds read our teachers' tips.