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Sound blending

Phoneme segmentation
Letter sound correspondences
Shared reading
Sight word recognition
Reading sentences and simple stories
Reading comprehension
Research results
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Sound Blending

What is sound blending?

Sound blending is the ability to build words from individual sounds by blending the sounds together in sequence.

Why is sound blending important?

Sound blending is essential in reading.

In order to read words, students must

Sound blending is an example of a phonological awareness skill.

Instruction in phonological awareness skills supports the acquisition of literacy skills.

Students who have strong phonological awareness skills demonstrate better literacy skills.

Sample goal for sound blending skills

The learner will

Instructional task

Here is an example of instruction to teach sound blending

Instructional materials

Here is an example of a response plate for instruction in sound blending. The response options are pot, mom, mop, and man.

response plate

This response plate is from the Accessible Literacy Learning (ALL) curriculum from DynaVox/ Mayer Johnson. Picture Communication Symbols (c) 1981-2009. DynaVox Mayer-Johnson are used with permission. All rights reserved.

The learner must listen to the sounds, blend them, and then point to the picture of mom.

Instructional procedures

The instructor teaches sound blending skills using the procedures described earlier

Student example

Michael is 3 years, 2 months old in this video

Unauthorized copying, transmittal, or exhibition of this video outside of this website is prohibited.


Some letter sounds can be elongated and held continuously

Other letter sounds can not be elongated or held continuously

If the sound can be held continuously, hold the sound for 1-2 seconds and blend it smoothly into the next sound in the word

If the sound can not be held continuously, say the sound once, pause briefly for 1-2 seconds, and then say the next sound in the word elongating it for 1-2 seconds if possible

It is easier to blend sounds that can be held continuously.
Start instruction with words that have continuous sounds

Gradually add words that have sounds that cannot be held continuously

Some students may benefit from visual supports when learning sound blending skills.

This literacy curriculum was developed and evaluated through a research grant (#H133E030018) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as part of the AAC-RERC. The contents do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDRR.