University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Blending Sounds into Words

Blending Sounds into Words

LEADERS Handbook of Early Literacy Strategies and Activities

Time: 20 minutes
Group Style: Whole group
Grade Level: K-1


This strategy provides students with a tool to help figure out unknown words or words that they do not recognize by sight.


  • Alphabet cards
  • Lists of familiar words to blend in an oral fashion


  1. Use a fast-paced sing-along pattern. First, the letter's name is said aloud twice, then the sound of the letter is said aloud three times.
  2. Once you have done this for each letter in the word, give all sounds for that word in a row and then signal for students to say the word.
  3. Increase to longer words.
  4. When the sounds and spelling are familiar, then you can move this activity into a written format.


  1. Show "H" card, students say "H, H,/h/,/h/,/h/"
  2. Repeat for "O" card.
  3. Repeat for "T" card.
  4. Say the sounds all in a row: /h/, /o/, /t/.
  5. Give signal and students say "hot".

Teacher Comments

  • This oral practice goes really well. The students enjoy the song. Have students take turns leading the group.
  • Be aware, boredom may set in for the better readers.
For More Information about Blending: See Applying Letter-Sound Knowledge.

Resource Texts

Dr. Jean Feldman
Ready, Set, Read!
Crystal Spring Books, 1999
Janiel Wagstaff
Irresistible Sound-Matching Sheets and Lessons that Build Phonemic Awareness
Scholastic Books, 2001