Using Blending Boards During Small Group Instruction

We’ve finished our DIBELS Next testing and our intervention groups are now in full swing.  Our teachers have been bringing out those blending boards that the Career Tech students made us last year (love them!) and are using them within their small group instruction.   We started using these blending boards last winter when our first grade Nonsense Word Fluency data wasn’t where we wanted it to be.  Our students were accurate with their sound-symbol relationship, but were mostly sounding out the words sound-by-sound rather than just reading the whole word.  Since posting the video on How To Use A Blending Board last April, I’ve been getting tons of emails and comments.  I decided to put all the downloads and videos in one blog post so you don’t have to hunt around anymore!

Well, here’s the original video on how to use the blending cards.  You can download the original set of cards that were used in the video for free.

Click HERE to download Consonant and Vowel Cards

My first grade teacher friend, Cindy,  found that she needed more whole word CVC cards for her first grade group.  I made 200 CVC cards with both real and nonsense words.  It’s certainly okay to mix them up.  After reading a real word, we will have the students give a “thumbs up”.

Click the following link to download 100 free pages of real and nonsense CVC words Blending Board Cards CVC Whole Words

You can also use the blending boards to introduce and reinforce other phonics skills such as blends and digraphs.

Click the following link to download free blend and digraph cards Blending Board Cards Blends and Digraphs

I thought I’d take a video of a teacher using the blending board with students so you can see it in action.  When you watch the video note how Kathy is having the boys stretch out the sounds (rather than by saying each sound individually) and then read the word.  These boys are pretty good with the Consonant-Vowel-Consonant cards so Kathy is moving at a pretty quick pace.  This allows for many, many responses and much practice.

Okay, so you know how you have to recruit kids from friends when making a video such as this? These two little cuties are the sons of two of my teacher friends and they are certainly not struggling readers.   If their teacher wished to use the blending board with them, they’d most benefit from using the Level 3 cards. and just reading the whole word right away.

We were so lucky to have our Career Tech Center volunteer to make blending boards for all of our kindergarten and first grade teachers in all of our schools.  If you can make them in bulk, it’s much easier.  They are not difficult to make; you just need someone handy with a saw 🙂

Click the following link to download the directions for making your own blending board Blending Board Directions

If you haven’t used a blending board yet in your small group instruction, give it a try.  Using this tool really helps students practice sound-symbol correspondence as well as learn to blend sounds into words.



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  1. karen long says

    Thanks so much for providing this free of charge. I know the board and the cards will be very useful tools. Thanks again!

  2. Lee Ann says

    Thank you so much for sharing everything! I can’t wait to try these with my Title I kinder kiddos. I always have some who know the individual letter sounds in isolation, but they can’t blend the sounds together to make the word. They will just say the rime part, but leave off the onset. I see this every year. They are the ones who cannot learn the sight words, too. Do you have any videos of these situations?

  3. Marti says

    Thanks for sharing your blending boards and cards. We had our high school shop class make the blending boards for us. I am looking forward to using the blending boards during intervention times. Thanks again!

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