Decoding strategy for stretch and blend is rarely used independently, BUT you need to teach it independently. We need to be very careful we don’t overlook this valuable step.
We also need to be very careful we don’t encourage students to “sound out” words by saying each sound individually. Students should try to decode a new word by saying, “/b/.” “/a/.” “/t/.”
They may be able to hear the word “bat” while producing the sounds independently, but students need to be able to transfer skills among other words. Nothing is more frustrating than watching a student rely on “sounding out” to decode a word like “because:”
You’ve heard it before…/b/ /e/ /c/ /a/ /u/ /s/ /e/. They’ll never figure out the word like that.
This strategy is also called “Blendy Wendy” or “Stretchy Snake.”
Stretch and Blend
Instead consider a “stretch and blend.”
Ask students to start at the beginning of the word and slowly slide their finger through the word while “blending the sounds,” too.
Helping students practice this is easiest with CVC words.
I posted about this in April in the post, “CVC Sliding: Smooth Sailing with Word Fluency.”
This student demonstrates the process.
Putting 2 or 3 cards in their small group basket each day for practice before reading, is an easy way to practice the sound and slide. Once they practice this strategy, put the icon on the strategy mat.
Click the link, if you’d like the the full set of 136 Stretch and Blend Cards.