How to Teach Blending the Right Way

What is successive blending?

Successive Blending is an instructional technique that provides a scaffold for students who are unable to sequence more than two sounds or have working memory issues. For example, a student who would benefit from successive blending might read the word “hit” as “hip”, “ip”, or “top”, among other possibilities. This suggests that the student is unable to remember all three sounds in order.

When using successive blending, children say the first two sounds in a word and immediately blend those two sounds together. Then, they say the third sound and immediately blend that sound with the first two blended sounds. Successive blending is less taxing on short term memory.

The following are the steps for reading the word “hit” using successive blending:
  • The reader looks at the first letter and says /h/.
  • The reader looks at the next letter and says /i/.
  • The reader blends the first two sounds together and says /hi/
  • The reader repeats /hi/, looks at the last letter and says /t/
  • The reader blends /hi/ and /t/ together to make “hit”

Why do successive blending?

Successive blending is less demanding on working memory and helps students blend words accurately.

It is difficult for many beginning readers to make the connection between a seemingly random string of phonemes (sounds) and an actual word. Because these sounds initially appear random, reproducing the sounds in sequence taxes working, short term memory.

When decoding and unknown word like“hit”, students might be able to identify the individual sounds as /h/…/i/…/t/. However, because they see these sounds as random, students are relying completely on his working memory to recall the sounds in sequence. 

Mistakes are made in various ways. For example, hit could be read as (it), sounds are left out, additional sounds are added (hist), or sounds could be out of sequence sequence (tip).

Check out blending and segmenting skills:
Blending Made Easy
Blending with Popsicles
Segmenting Snowmen

❤Debora from Teach Magically