The free ‘Wordspinner’ is the simplest way to drill blending and segmenting skills. It runs on your PC, tablet, or phone. Click here to load it.
Key out a word like ‘bat’ and you will see how it works. The Wordspinner creates both real and nonsense words. Practice blending by having your student read the word. Practice segmenting by calling a word and having your student key it out. It’s simple, but also challenging, fast-paced, and fun.
When I am drilling blending, I like to click a chain of words differing by a single letter. For example, BAT becomes LAT becomes LAG, etc. If I see a weakness with a certain letter or position, I will drill around it, poking repeatedly until the student masters or overcomes difficulty with a specific contrast.
Stick to the ‘short vowel’ pronunciations. A very small number of CVC words in English are irregular, for example ‘son’ is usually pronounced like ‘sun’. Use ‘sawn’ (don / non / ron / son / von should all rhyme).
If you are a phonics junkie (like me), you will recognize the Wordspinner as an instrumentation of exercises from the superb Phono-graphix method from the book ‘Reading Reflex’ (McGuinness & McGuinness). But it is much easier than chopping out the cards.
Subsets of the Wordspinner are embedded in almost every lesson of BLENDING.
BLENDING is a free step-by-step intensive remedial training program intended for severe dyslexics and older students who must unlearn visual word-recognition and guessing strategies.
There are about 150 incremental lessons in BLENDING. Each lesson teaches a specific skill, the Wordspinner on the left is from a very early lesson that contrasts the endings ‘p’ and ‘t’ for the vowel /ah/, for example cap / cat.
Try the Wordspinner now yourself. Then try it later with your struggling reader. If your child struggles, makes errors, or cannot blend out quickly, then he or she likely has a deficit in blending and segmenting skills. That deficit is a major obstacle to skilled reading, but completely fixable with training.
If your student finds the Wordspinner challenging, then consider working through the BLENDING exercises. They provide a fool-proof gently-incrementing training sequence, including pacing, assessments, and record-keeping. And of course, BLENDING is completely free.
If you are using the superb Toe-by-Toe training program, BLENDING covers the same ground as pages 15-19, but grinds much finer. Consider the Wordspinner as an additional practice drill, or switch to the BLENDING program if your child is struggling with those pages.
So try the Wordspinner. Right now. Here.