This product includes two different PowerPoint presentations that you can do with your students to teach and review their blends and digraphs. You will receive both PowerPoint files and also the same files saved as a PDF to save the integrity of the fonts used in the original creation. (You can do the presentation with your students with either file.)
One of the first skills that emergent readers need to develop is looking at the first letter in a word they don’t know and getting their mouth ready to say the sound that letter makes. Because the books in beginning text levels are so predictable and have so much picture support, this is an effective strategy. As texts become increasingly difficult, however, this strategy will not be enough. Looking at the first letter will only take a student so far before he or she needs to start looking further into words. One way to do this is to teach your students to look for bigger chunks in words. I designed this product for students that have mastered their letters and know how to look at the first letter in a word. I used this PowerPoint to push my students to begin looking at bigger word parts instead of individual letters. Since it is easier and quicker to decode words when looking at chunks rather than looking at single letters (it is easier and faster to blend the sounds in /pl/ and /ā/ than to blend the sounds /p/ /l/ /ā/), teaching them to see these beginning blends and digraphs as a unit helps them begin to at words differently. Instead of looking at each letter, they will start to see bigger parts. This will help them as they begin to decode “on the run” in connected text. Each blend or digraph also has a connecting word. This enables students to make generalizations such as “this word begins with ‘cl,’ so it must begin with the sound /cl/, like clown.”
Other concepts about print are also reinforced in using this product with your students. Left to right directionality is reinforced as you read each slide. There are exaggerated spaces between each chunk or word, to help students notice spaces between words and hopefully transfer this into writing. There are also two different versions of this presentation. The first version has the blends two times. The first is with a capital letter, and the second begins with a lowercase letter. The picture follows these two blends You would begin by modeling how to “read” each slide, tracking your finger or pointer while reading aloud, “/cl/ /cl/ /clown/.” You are saying the sounds the letters make and not the names of the letters. When you are “reading” the word clown, you are pointing to the picture of the clown. Have your students recite with you when they are familiar with the task. The second version still has the picture on each slide, but this time the word is also included, placed where the picture is in the first version. You and your students are no longer “reading” the picture; now you are reading the word. The blends will still precede the word, and the picture remains for support, even though it is in a different location.
I did this with my students on a daily basis at first to build automaticity. I tried to keep my pacing brisk. If I was running short on time, I might just pick one or two blend groups to go over, but I did try to do something with it every day. As students become more familiar with this task, you could have students come to the screen to model pointing. I used this with my entire class at first, and then later with small guided reading groups that still needed reinforcing. Once students are reading fluently, this does not need to be done, unless they are spelling an unknown word and are having trouble with beginning blends or digraphs. This would be helpful for reading AND spelling. I usually used the PowerPoint when I was working with my entire class, but I also printed each slide on a piece of card stock, laminated them, and bound them together like a book. I would often use this book when I was working with a small group. Not all small groups needed this review, though. I only used it with students who needed this instruction. You could also copy this book for each student and use it during independent reading, or you could send it home to practice with parents.