Sound Blending is the ability to build words from individual sounds by blending the sounds together in sequence. For example, the student blends the sounds c–a–t, to form the word cat.
Sound Blending is essential in developing good reading skills. Students who are developing phonemic awareness and who are ready to address the necessary grapho-phonic implications for reading and writing, need to develop Sound Blending techniques.
Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word “cat” into three distinct phonemes, k, æ, and t, requires phonemic awareness.
The term “grapho-phonic information” explains the principle used to decode a printed word, or to write a word, is partly visual or graphic (the student recognises the printed shape) and partly aural or phonic (the student recreates the sounds of letters and words). In order to decode and read words, students must know the sounds for each of the letters, then blend these sounds together to determine the word. Sound Blending is an example of a phonological awareness skill. Phonics Alive! 1 teaches the single sounds of the alphabet so that students can then move on to Sound Blending.
Whilst this suggests students who are in the early grades, the Sound Blender program should prove useful for older students who are experiencing difficulty with the grapho-phonetic structure of our English language, including young adult students learning English as a second language.
Phonics Alive! 2 The Sound Blender is an innovative literacy program teaching students the essential skills and phonological knowledge of blending sounds. All forms of *digraphs, *diphthongs, silent letters and suffixes are explored and explained, e.g. ch, sh, een, kn, ar, aw, au, ith, wr, et and many more. The Sound Blender introduces and consolidates advanced decoding skills to assist students to recognise and decode previously unknown words. It consists of twelve modules, each addressing a particular aspect of the grapho-phonic conventions.
English has a complicated alphabetic mapping system. Phonics Alive! 2, The Sound Blender is an exciting program that offers students a fun way of furthering their understanding of the phonetic structure of our English language. It allows students to learn and to practise, within an interactive environment and most importantly, to do so at their own individual place.
* Digraphs: a pair of characters used together to represent a single sound, such as “sh” in English
* Diphthongs: gliding speech sound varying continuously in phonetic quality, but held to be a single sound or phoneme and identified by its apparent beginning and ending sound, as the "oi" sound of toy or boil.