Learning to read is just hard! We start with the alphabet and letter sounds and jump into simple CVC words. Then we start working on letter combinations. While it is important that our students know how to read blends, consonant blends can just be tough. These sounds don’t come as natural as those with a vowel in them. So why not make learning consonant blends fun! I am so excited to share with you some of my favorite activities to introduce, practice, and master L blends.
What Are Blends?
When we are introducing the concept of blends to our students, it’s important for them to have a firm understanding of what blends are. Blends can generally be described as two or more letters sounds that appear next to each other in a word. Some blends will include a vowel sound making them a little easier for students to pick up. But most blends are two consonant sounds together. These sounds are less natural and a little harder to make. Introducing blends to your students is the next step after students understand and have a good grasp on blending sounds to make simple words. Once they understand how to blend the letter sounds within a word, they will be well on their way to reading more complex words including more than three letters.
L Blend Introduction
Introducing your students to L blend beginning sounds such as bl, cl, gl, fl, and pl is the perfect way to begin teaching blends. With some fun and interactive activities your students will be blending in no time!
I like to start by asking my students to make the connection between visual clues and written words. Even our youngest students will know how to verbally identify a picture or object even if they don’t know the letters to spell the word.
I love to start by having students name a variety of objects that start with our target blend. I may bring in real objects or I might use picture cards. Sometimes it is a combination of both. After all, it’s a little hard to bring a plane or a planet into the classroom. As I show each object the students shout out the name. After a few items, I stop and guide them to thinking about the beginning sounds they hear. With some guided questioning we are able to pinpoint the beginning blend sound.
This is the perfect time to introduce the concepts of blends and the need for two letters instead of one. We work on identifying the two letters in the blend and then we brainstorm some other items that begin with the same sound. If students get stuck, I have my picture cards that we can use for some inspiration and help.
It’s also fun to do a classroom scavenger hunt for the target blend. You can also have students walk around the room to find items that begin with the target sound. They can look for real objects or you can hide some picture cards in the room too. My students absolutely love this activity. Getting them up and moving around to identify objects within the classroom is such a great way for them to start making the connections between the object and the spelling of the word.
When first introducing L blends, I generally focus on one blend per day. I like to follow this same procedure for each of our new blends. On the last day, we do a review of all the blends using our completed anchor chart. Depending on the level of your students you might start by adding multiple blends at the same time. It really depends on where your students are. Trust your teacher instincts and you’ll have no problems!
L Blend Anchor Chart
After our scavenger hunt, it’s time to make the connection between the visual object and its spelling. It’s not as simple as just telling our students how to spell the word though. When I’m focusing on just one L blend at a time, I will use our L blend anchor chart. It has a cute blender in the middle. We hang it up on our board or wall. With a cute rhyme, the blender helps students remember to blend the two consonant sounds together. Next, it’s time for students to find those words with that L blend.
I love using total physical response in my classroom. This gives me the perfect opportunity to really engage those kinesthetic learners. I’m pretty sure that kinesthetic learning and kindergarten go hand in hand. Here’s an example of what we would do for the ‘cl’ blend. We start with our hands far apart and use one hand to represent the c sound. We say it over and over as a class. Then, we say the l sound and use our other hand to represent the l sound.
Next, it’s time to start blending it all together. We say the c sound then pause and say the l sound. Then move our hands closer together and say the sounds again. We keep doing this until our hands are touching and we are saying the cl sound.
I ask my students to remember our scavenger hunt and see if they can think one of the objects that starts with /kl/ sound. As students provide answers I give them a corresponding picture card and they add it to our anchor chart.
As we add each card we say the name of the item together. Then we get our hands ready and make the blend sound again. Then we finish with the name of the object one last time. Not only is this great for working on the blend, but it is also a great vocabulary building activity too!
Each day I introduce a new L blend and we add it to the anchor chart. By the end of the week our chart is complete and we have a great learning tool for the rest of the year. Putting together our class anchor chart is definitely one of my student’s most favorite activities.
L Blends Practice Activities
Once we’ve done the L blend introduction and anchor chart it is time for some practice. This individual practice will often the activities and words from our group lesson. Helping them to review and practice the blend of the day is the focus. One of our favorite activities is to add 1 or 2 L blend words to our writing notebook. Students choose a couple of words from the anchor chart to add to their notebook. I have them draw a picture and write the word. Then they use the words in a sentence. They love using our word wall to help with this activity.
We also love adding blend practice to our centers. Some examples of easy to use centers include:
- Writing the L blend words in sand from a laminated list
- Print an extra set of picture cards and use them for a sorting activity
- An extra set of picture cards is also perfect for a matching game where students will
These are only a few examples of activities your students could do to help them practice their L blends. If you are looking for even more activities including more than just the L blends, be sure to check out my Words Their Way Letter Name Alphabetic Spellers Digraphs and Blends set for tons more no prep, ready to use ideas!
L Blends Small Group Fun!
Once my students have a firm understanding of the concept of L blends, it’s time for some group work. This is generally an activity I do towards the end of the unit. It’s perfect for students to complete after they have learned all of the L blends for the unit.
I print out the fruit templates and assign one type of fruit to each group. Then, I assign one of the L blends we have learned to each group. Within a set amount of time, students work together to come up with as many L blend words as they can.
After the time is up, groups take turns coming up to our class anchor chart. Then they put their fruit in the blender. As they place their fruit on the blender, they read the words. The class practices saying the L blend together using the hand technique. This time, when our hands come together, I ask my students to make a blender sound. It’s so silly, but they love it.
L Blend Craft
We end our study of L blends with this fun craft activity that the students just love! They get to make their very own L blender. It’s such a great way to review all the sounds and concepts from the week. I love this craft because it gives me the opportunity to differentiate for students who need a little extra practice with specific blends. If for example, I have a student who I know is struggling with the bl blend, I will make sure I give them more bl blend words for their blender. It’s a painless and fun way for them to get in some extra practice where it’s needed.
Students love cutting out the blender and pasting it together to look just like the blender on our class anchor chart. We also include the cute poem to help them remember how to blend consonants together.
This L blend craft also gets students writing. By giving students printed cards with visual clues and the beginning blend printed, they are then able to fill in the remaining letters to spell the word. Then they paste the word onto their blender.
These are so great to hang around the classroom, but parents love them too! I’ve had many comments from parents over the years telling me how excited their kiddos were to come home and show off their blenders.
Extra L Blender Fun
I love any opportunity to have a little extra fun with my students. When we are working on blends, my favorite thing to do is plan a day to have smoothie snacks. I bring in my blender and some cut up fruit for students to choose from to make a fruit smoothy.
I put out small bowls labeled with L blend beginning sounds. Then, when students come up to request the fruit they want in their smoothy, they have to tell me a word with the L blend for each of the types of fruit they want me to include in their smoothy.
It’s important to do this activity at the very end of the unit when students will have a large word bank to choose from. If you know you have students who will need a little extra help thinking of words, be prepared with a word list, or ask them to take a peek at the L blend anchor chart on the wall for help.
These tasty smoothies are the perfect educational snack for students to wrap up their L blend learning.
Grab Your L Blends Anchor Chart And Activities Set!
If you are as excited to introduce L blends to your students as I am, this L Blends Anchor Chart And Activities Set is for you! It includes everything you will need to get your students learning L blends in fun and engaging ways. Grab it in my Emily Education Store today!
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