Blends Bingo provides a fun, play-based way for students practice their letter-sound connections. Letter-sound relationships are critical to the development of a child’s early reading skills. Mastery of this fundamental phonological awareness skill has been linked to overall success in reading decoding and comprehension (National Reading Panel, 2000). A good analysis of the importance of developing a child’s phonemic awareness can be found in a research paper from Scholastic, titled Building Phonemic Awareness and Alphabet Recognition through Purposeful Play.
Blends Bingo was originally developed for special educators or reading specialists to use in small group settings. However, it can be easily adapted for a whole class setting. It is important to note that every sound is on every card. Therefore, you should expect to have multiple winners at a given time. The reason every sound appears on every card is that this is a purposeful play activity, which is an evidence based practice for improving literacy learning (Clawson, 2002). Purposeful play is a learning framework that offers activities with structured learning objectives, while prompting children to interact and play with the material. As such, Blends Bingo has the objective of each student participating by locating a new sound every time a new playing piece is drawn by the teacher. There is no waiting in this activity, and every child is able to continually work to manipulate sounds.
Blends Bingo also has merits in terms of formative assessment. Since the teacher should observe every student locating a sound every time a new card is drawn, they will be able to easily identify the students who cannot match the sound to the letters. This gives you valuable insight into which students are struggling and what sound blends are posing the most difficulty. In addition, this game can be paced by the educator, so if you observe a student missing certain sound blends the teacher could take the time to write down the student’s name and the blends that are proving challenging. This will serve as great informal assessment data, which can help teachers target which word families or sounds to work on with a given child.
|Sample Game Board|
- One game board handout per student
- Crayons, markers or bingo chip (for the students to mark their sounds when they are called)
- One set of teacher game pieces
- Create your teacher game pieces by cutting out the different sounds on the student handout
- Put teacher game pieces in box or bag
- Hand out one game board to each student
- Ask students to pull out a crayon or marker to use to color in their square when the sound is called
- Explain the rules of the game
- The teacher will pull a game piece from the box or bag, call out a sound, and repeat it slowly three times.
- Each student must locate the sound on their game board and color in the corresponding square
- First person to fill in an entire row wins
- Explain that the pictures are there to help as prompts since each picture represents a word that goes with that sound.
- Have your students play “blackout” where they have to fill the entire card
- Have your students play “framing” where they have to fill in all the outer rows
- Give your students an entire word using a specific sound and see if they can locate it; avoid using the same word as the picture to ensure students are hearing the sounds and not relying on picture cues
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.2.b Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including consonant blends.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3.a Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs.
Clawson, M. (2002). "Play of language: Minority children in an early childhood setting". In J. L. Roopnarine (Ed.), Conceptual, social-cognitive, and contextual issues in the fields of play (Vol. 4, pp. 93-116). Westport, CT: Ablex.
National Reading Panel-NRP. (2000).Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implication for Reading Instruction. Reports of the subgroups. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development