In this video segment from Between the Lions, the Knights of Blending Fields blend the /b/ and /ox/ sounds to form the word "box." By charging together to blend word parts, the knights demonstrate an important skill required for early reading.
One of the most important skills that children develop during kindergarten is what’s known as phonemic awareness. This is an understanding that the spoken word is a sequence of separate speech sounds. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound, and children will need to be able to notice and manipulate these separate sounds to succeed at reading and spelling. The word "sun," for example, contains three phonemes, or sounds: /s/, /uh/, and /n/. Children will need to segment words into phonemes when they attempt to spell them. They will also need to blend these sounds together when they see their letter symbols in print and attempt to read them.
In this video segment, the Knights of Blending Fields take an onset (the beginning word sound), /b/, and a rime (the ending word sounds), -ox, and blend them to make the word "box." The ability to blend word sounds is a skill that reflects phonemic awareness, which strongly predicts children's success in learning to read and spell. That's because reading is not just a visual system; the written word is also a visible representation of sound. If a child has trouble breaking words down into sounds or blending sounds to make words, he or she will stumble when it comes to translating letters into the sounds and meanings of spoken language.
However, literacy research shows that blending is difficult for some children. It needs to be demonstrated and practiced repeatedly. The image of knights charging and pushing their carts together offers a vivid metaphor and helps viewers visualize the blending process.
The word "box" was chosen in part because it is part of a large word family, meaning that if you change either the beginning or ending sounds, many new words can be formed ("fox," "sox," "bat," "ball," for example). Choosing words that are readily changeable make it easier for children to practice their blending skills on other words in the same family. In this case, the word is also something that can be either acted out or shown on screen, which adds meaning. And because the letters that correspond to the word sounds appear on screen, this blending exercise also helps teach phonics, the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.