Jolly Phonics Blending and Decoding, Group 1

I think that I could happily teach phonics all day long! It is definitely one of my absolute favourite things to do!!! I always get really excited when children are learning to blend and segment sounds into words.

For those of you who are not familiar with these terms “blending” is when we sound out a word using a continuous sound eg ccccaaaat= cat. Segmenting is the exact opposite. It the way by which we spell words.  We “chop” them up into their constituent sounds c…/a…/t… It is really important not to confuse the two and for children to be taught to use both blending and segmenting. They also need to know when to use each.

I have met lots of children who only know how to chop up/segment sounds. It is really, really hard to know what an unfamiliar word is when you read it in a robotic voice! When you s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out words are much easier to hear. This strategy will hence forth be known as “stretchy snake”!

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 20.30.30You can read more about blending and print my Stretchy Snake poster by clicking here.

I have been busy creating a presentation of Group 1 Words for tomorrow. Group 1 Jolly Phonics words cover: s, a, t, i, p, n

I will open the PDF in Activeinspire. This means that I can get pupils to circle individual sound eg circle the “s”. We can also have lot of practice blending the sounds into words. I will use the same words with a blank page on my flip chart and have my class “sound talk” or use their robotic voice to segment/chop up the sounds in a word and I will write them.

Here are some images of the slides that you can download:

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Click here to download

I hope that you find these useful with your class or your child at home.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


What is blending?! Stretchy Snake will explain all.

If your child is learning phonics it is really important that you understand the concept of “blending”. Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word such as m-m-a-a-n-n (man).Sounds must be said quickly, accurately and fluidly to hear the word. This smooth and accurate blending is essential for reading fluency and correct phonological processing (hearing the blended word correctly)

Note: Blending is the opposite to spelling where you chop up the word into individual sounds and say each sound separately such as m/…a/…n.

Blending is something that needs to be practiced on a daily basis once your child has begun to learn phonics. It can often take a child quite a while to hear the sounds in words, so do not worry.

To encourage children to stretch out the sounds in words I give them an elastic band and introduce them to Stretchy Snake ( we pretend that they elastic band in our snake!)

Click on the image below to download

(have your Gmail or Google Docs account open before downloading)

The elastic band is a really helpful way of showing children how to stretch out a word. Take a deep breath. Turn your two hands into the elastic band and stretch it out opposite directions. As you stretch out your elastic band, slowly say each sound in the word without stopping, so they run into each other in a long string eg sssuuunnn. Then say the word eg. sun. The stretchy snake band helps your child to remember the long,  seamless string that they need to make when blending.

Sometimes, singing the sounds can be easier for young children to do. Just pick and note and sing all the sounds without stopping.

Make sure that your child is pronouncing his/her sounds correctly. Any mispronunciations or choppy sounding out should be corrected as early in the learning process as possible.

When your child is comfortable with blending you can use and ” imaginary elastic band”. Make the same pulling action, but without the elastic band 😉

It is important to begin with oral blending first. Once your child can hear the sounds in words and  can easily blend them together to make words, then he/she is ready to practice blending written words.

Once your child begins to read, remind him/her to try using “stretchy snake” for unfamiliar words. Children need to be reminded of word attack strategies until they become automatic to them.  Explain that Stretchy Snake doesn’t always work, but is worth a try.

I shall cover other word attack strategies in the coming weeks.

Miss Mernagh 🙂