Is a blend one sound?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

A blend is not one sound. A blend is actually two consonant sounds that are pronounced together. It is different from a digraph, which is two letters that make only one sound.

To understand this better, let’s look at some examples. In the word “stop,” the “s” and the “t” are blended together to create the /st/ sound. Similarly, in the word “blend,” the “b” and the “l” are blended to create the /bl/ sound. In both cases, you can clearly hear the separate sounds of the consonants.

Blends are important in English because they allow us to create new sounds by combining individual consonant sounds. They can be found at the beginning or end of words. Some common examples of initial blends include “bl,” “cl,” “dr,” and “sw,” as in words like “black,” “clap,” “drive,” and “swim.” Final blends can be found in words like “desk,” “lamp,” “jump,” and “nest.”

When teaching blends to children, it is important to emphasize that each consonant in a blend is pronounced separately. For example, when teaching the blend “st,” it is helpful to have children say the /s/ sound followed by the /t/ sound, and then blend them together to make the /st/ sound.

In my personal experience as a language teacher, I have found that practicing blends through various activities can be beneficial for students. For instance, playing games where students have to identify and say words with specific blends or sorting picture cards into initial or final blend categories can help reinforce their understanding of blends as separate sounds.

To summarize, a blend is not one sound but rather a combination of two consonant sounds. It is different from a digraph, which represents one sound with two letters. Understanding blends is important for developing phonemic awareness and decoding skills in reading and spelling.