I love using the Blending Drill in Orton-Gillingham with my students and actually think it is one of the most important steps in the Orton-Gillingham lesson. My students have to practice the sounds in isolation and create nonsense words, so they are forced to use decoding and not memorization skills. Blending nonsense words really helps my students to build rapid decoding skills and also provide a solid foundation for teaching closed syllables.
So…. how does it work?
Basically, when I’m doing the Blending Drill during each Orton-Gillingham lesson, I split all the Sound Cards that my student has already learned into three piles on a table top. I put the vowels in the middle pile. Then I have my student point to the Sound Card with their pointer finger from left to right and blend the sounds into a nonsense word. I will flip the cards from the different columns to make different combinations.
If I’m teaching the magic e then I will add a fourth column. I will also adjust the piles to whatever skill we are currently working on. For example if my student is learning the Floss Rule (-ss, -ll, -ff, -zz) then I will put those Floss Sound Cards at the end pile. If I am teaching blends such as sl, then I will put the sl at the beginning pile and just change the middle and end pile. If I am teaching open syllables (when the vowel says its name like in the words me, go, etc.) I will just periodically cover the end pile to show just a single vowel from the middle pile (ro, bi, gla, etc.)
The kids really like doing the Blending Drill in Orton-Gillingham and it gives us both a chance to sometimes laugh at some really strange nonsense words!
You can view a sample lesson here on this video:
Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at info@pridelearningcenter or visit the website here.