Blending words is not what you think it is.
Knowing how to blend words is an essential reading skill. But if you thought blending words means seeing the letters c-a-t and sounding them out until you said the word "cat," then you'd be only half right.
Children who are able to blend words successfully also have another critical skill: they are able to recognize what a word is after seeing just a few letters. In the word "cat," for example, a good reader will know what the word is after the she sees the letter "a." While technically the word could have been can, car, or cap, a good reader will use context (and pictures, at this age) to tell her what the meaning is.
Good readers do more than just blend letterstogether.
In fact, most good readers never read an entire word, letter by letter: they recognize the word in its entirety after a few letters, and them on to the next word.
As studies that tracked readers' eye movements show, this allows them to read quickly, and fairly accurately, since they constantly check the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence as they go along.
Being able to determine what a word is when seeing a part of it is due to having good visual closure skills. You can help strengthen your child's visual closure skills by having them build puzzles, solve I Spy's or other hidden pictures, and by playing Spot the Difference games. A great site for hidden pictures is http://www.highlightskids.com/hidden-pictures, especially since you can adjust the level of difficulty.
Here's your free hands on learning game.
In a previous post, I gave you a free sequencing game for Goodnight iPad, a modern child's spoof on Goodnight Moon. In this post I've included a hands on learning game from the same online book site, based on the book "Things That Go."
The game is a great way to build up the skills that help your child blend words together.
Want 3 extra hands on learning games based on the same book?
By the way, if you're a subscriber, check you e-mail. I just sent you a bonus game based on the book, PLUS a few new ways to play the game included in this post. If you're haven't subscribed, subscribe by Monday Feb. 16 and I'll make sure you get your hands on one too...
Instructions on how to play are in the PDF of the game.