Using Blending Lines in a Structured Literacy Classroom

This year I was blessed to receive some rather intensive training through my school district based in the Science of Reading (Structured Literacy).  It has been life-changing and has helped me make some very positive changes in the delivery of my instruction as well as in my instructional strategies.  One of the great activities I have used for awhile now are blending lines. After receiving this training this year, I learned new and valuable ways in which I could use blending lines with my students.

Blending lines are a strategic and systematic way for students to attend to and practice a newly introduced phonics skill before they begin reading a decodable passage or story with the same skill. I have used blending lines for a few years now and can tell you I have seen my students personally benefit from using them.

But aren’t blending lines just reading a list of words? No! They are much more than just reading a list of words. Their purpose is to have students practice applying their newly learned phonics pattern in isolation and then in text. Not only does this strategy align with CCSS, but it is also a systematic and strategic way for students to practice phonics skills.

Science of Reading Blending Lines

I created these blending lines to align with a logical scope and sequence and hope you will find them very useful in your classroom.

These blending lines are structured in the following way:

Line 1: Minimal pairs. Words move from known word skills to new word skills.

Line 2: New initial sound (new onset/ same rime)

Line 3: New ending sound ( same onset / new rime)

Line 4: Mixed target skill (new skill in various positions)

Lines 5 and 6: Review words

Line 7: Challenge words (word endings and / or compound words)

Lines 8 and 9: Decodable sentences (text)- new skill applied to sentences.

This format allows students to have a scaffold when using word attack strategies with the newly learned phonics skill.

If you are interested in learning more about phonics and research-based strategies, I recommend reading Phonics From A to Z from Wiley Blevins.  There are some AMAZING word lists inside this book that will help you if you need to create or develop anything for your own classroom use.