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Consonant Blends and Words with Four Letters


by Lynn Maslen Kertell


The type of four-letter words your child needs to learn are frog, plan, drip, went, send, cast, or fast.


For kids to feel confident about reading, they need a plan to figure out new words. As the adult, you are not only teaching how to read specific words, you are teaching how to figure out (sound out or decode) new words. This is beneficial throughout a person’s entire reading career.


Once kids are comfortable with three-letter consonant-vowel-consonant (C-V-C) words, the next reading skill they will need is how to sound out consonant blends. A consonant blend is when two consonants are found next to each other in a four- (or more) letter word.


To teach consonant blends, break the word in half and sound out the two groups of letters separately. For example, to sound out the word frog, sound out the first two consonants, f and r. Use the letter SOUNDS (ffff and rrrr) not the letter names (eff and arr).  Then speed it up to become ffrr. Next sound out the second two letter sounds – oohhh gggg, og. Now put the two pieces together: frog frog.


Just as with the blending exercise in the Blending Letter Sounds blog, pay attention to your child’s confidence and skill level. Some children will need the adult to help them practice consonant blends and sounding out. Others may be so comfortable with the sounding out process that once they see how to blend four-letter words, they can quickly master this new skill.


The first time, this will be a slow process. There is no rush. Take time to explain. Let them point to the letters and blend the pieces. Next time, the blending will go faster.


Ask your child to read many books to you. It is useful to read the same book several times. He or she will begin to recognize the words without sounding them out. That is great! Sounding out is an essential skill for a beginning reading. Once a word is familiar, a fluent reader will go faster. If there is any doubt that the child has memorized the book instead of reading it, have them point to the words as they go.


Best wishes for a great experience for you and your young reader!


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