Teaching Phonics: Sound-Spelling, Blending & Dictation

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Strategies for Teaching Automaticity & Fluency

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Phonics
  • 1:01 Sound-Spelling
  • 2:12 Blending
  • 3:33 Dictation
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

For many children, phonics instruction is the root of learning to read. In this lesson, you will discover the importance of sound-spelling, blending, and dictation in phonics instruction.


Mrs. Riggins is a first-grade teacher who works with many students at many different levels in their literacy development. Some of her students are already proficient and independent readers, while others are still emergent readers, readers who are only just learning how to decode and understand the relationship between written and spoken language. Mrs. Riggins used to feel that it was impossible to meet so many different needs at once, but, over the years, she has learned to use particular strategies that help different students.

Mrs. Riggins understands that, regardless of their level, her students will benefit from explicit instruction in phonics, or the relationship between letters and sounds. Though phonics should never be the only element of literacy instruction, Mrs. Riggins knows that students with a solid foundation in phonics will be better equipped to decode unfamiliar words, be stronger spellers, and ultimately be more fluent and independent readers. She uses a variety of strategies to work on phonics with her students.


One of the most important aspects of phonics is sound-spelling. Sound-spelling refers to transcribing speech sounds into written language, whether or not the sounds are in context. Students who can accurately spell out sounds have a strong phonological awareness, or a sense of the way letters and sounds connect to each other and operate at the word and even syllable level. To work on sound-spelling with her students, Mrs. Riggins has her students do activities like these:

  • Sort pictures based on the initial sounds, middle sounds, or ending sounds of words, then write the words in such a way as to emphasize the sounds they share
  • Listen to books, poems, and songs, then write down the letters and sounds they hear most
  • Play games involving listening to and producing rhymes, all the while discussing the way the rhyming syllables are spelled

Emergent readers often need many opportunities to spell out the initial letters or blends in words, whereas more proficient readers and writers are prepared to work on more advanced areas, such as spelling ending or middle sounds, or spelling polysyllabic words. Mrs. Riggins groups her students according to ability for sound-spelling activities so that children can work at their own phonics level.


Blending refers to putting sounds together in order to make a word. For instance, Mrs. Riggins knows that she has students who can read the separate sounds in the word 'cat' because they know which sounds correspond to which letter. However, if students can't blend, the word will sound like three separate syllables, 'cuh,' 'ah,' and 'tuh.' The inability to blend sounds becomes more problematic in longer and more complex words.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account