The Importance of Blends

As a dyslexia tutor, I use phonics flash cards during every session to help increase my dyslexic students’ awareness of phonics and knowledge of letters and sounds. These cards are a great help for dyslexic students, and through repetition and consistent use, they give the student one of the tools that they need to become better readers and spellers. One flash card pack that I use teaches consonant blends.

Consonant blends are exactly what the sound like, combinations of consonants blended together to create sounds. Consonant blends are usually two or three letters long, and come in a variety of forms. For example, “pl”, “thr” and “st” are blends that we see in the English language. To pronounce a consonant blend, you simply say the individual letter sounds and blend them together. This sounds fairly simple, but for a student with dyslexia, this can be quite challenging. This difficulty may arise from the fact that a dyslexic student does not know the basic letter sounds when they start dyslexia tutoring. If a dyslexic does not know basic letter sounds, it makes sense that they would not understand blends that combine these sounds.

Even if a dyslexic student knows the basic lettter sounds, they may still be confused by blends. For example, the student may know what the letters “s”, “p”, and “r” say individually, but when faced with the blend “spr”, they may experience difficuulty pronouncing it. This difficult is due to the nature of dyslexia; skipping words and letters is a common symptom, and for this reason, blends can be a challenge. With practice and repetition, a dyslexic student can become proficient with blends, and thus, overcome another barrier to reading fluency.

Peter

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