Reading - Blend Ladder extra ideas

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Unread post by LizCT »

mommytrap wrote:I ordered MFWK last week and am eagerly awaiting my box of goodies. In the mean time we are continuing to use the curriculum we currently have.

My question is two fold...from my understanding MFWK utilizes blend ladders?
How do you get your dc to read them?

My dd is resistant to them even though she knows the individual letter sounds like the back of her hand. Every time I get out the blend ladders she cringes.
Based on my experiences so far with MFW 1st grade with my older daughter, I can assure you that the teacher's manual in MFW K will clearly explain how to approach the blending ladder when you reach that part of the program.

You may find it helpful to put aside what you are doing now (sparing your daughter her current frustration) and starting fresh with MFW K with your daughter once it arrives and you've had a chance to look it over. She might just need a break from the approach you have been using, if she finds it too hard. If she is only 4 1/2 or 5, you certainly have time to give her that break and let her gently work up to blending using the MFW K program. You could consider taking a break on the phonics to let what she has learned so far settle into her brain a bit more. That's just my opinion, for what it's worth. I pushed my older dd early on, and it didn't do much good - she still "got" it in her own time.

Not an expert here, but I hope that's helpful.

Liz in CT
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Unread post by tiffany »

Blend ladders are not used for the first few weeks of MFWK. But for what its worth, my 5 year old can't stand then either.

I don't always make him do the whole thing, figuring that eventually when it is easier for him, he won't mind.

I've also thought about offering a small reward for each rung completed, pennies or M&M's. You don't use it every day.

Also, we used another program for the 1st three kids and although they didn't have a blend ladder, they had something similar. So I think there is no escaping this concept completely. You just need a way to make it work for you.

They can have a real fear of failure at this age. I just keep going through the steps, shortening certain excercises if necessarey.
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Unread post by kellybell »

Here's my 2 cents.

I've done MFWK twice. My son did fine with the blend ladders while my daughter simply hated them. Why? I don't know. She's the type that decides whether or not she likes things based on ... absolutely nothing. Anyway, we tried the blend ladders several times, and she was so frustrated.

I got out the little whiteboard and wrote words on the board and she did that just fine. I did exactly the same exercises but on a small white board (the size of a piece of paper). I wrote the "permanent" letters (those on the ladder) in one color and the other letters in another. She was great with that. Go figure. So, with her, we abandoned the blend ladders but did the exact same thing on the board.

I never told her that we were doing the exact same thing but on a shiny board instead of a paper.

If the mere sight of a blend ladder makes your dc flip out, time to try a new approach like I did. Or wait a little while. Or bribe (an M&M for a completed ladder, etc.).

Some kids are quirky, and some just need extra time.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by sarajoy »

I am so glad I had a chance to check the board and came across this thread. My soon to be 6yo dd is really starting to give me a hard time about the blend ladders. I guess I just figured its in the curriculum it needs to be done.

However, after reading this thread I have some great new ideas on how to get the same "stuff" into her without as much hassel. I feel like I was just stinking my head in the sand like an ostrich and not thinking the problem through. HAHA so much for thinking I was so creative...:)

Thanks for the ideas

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Unread post by kellybell »


Yup, you need to pick your battles. I used to pick ALL battles a few years ago, but now I can see that there are only a few IMPORTANT battles.

Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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blend ladders

Unread post by Heidi »

Just another idea to try before you set this battle aside:

My daughter needed to touch - so, I followed this procedure that I eventually used:

1) I set out the small lauri alphabet letters - and let her find and put in front of her the ones she needed for that day's blends.

2) She would place these lauri letters to make her one blend at a time on the ladder

3) After making it, she copied the work she created onto the worksheet.

This solved her frustration. Maybe it will work for you, maybe not.
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Unread post by mommytrap »

Thank you all so much for all the wonderful ideas! I am new to HS and to teaching reading. Today I read the blend ladders together with my dd sitting on my lap. For some reason she likes to cuddle and gets clingy when we read blend ladders. I was trying to make her sit at the table and read them. So I guess a more laid back and gentle approach with lots of praise and cuddling is better for us. My dd is usually very independent and things come easily for her so I just didn't know how to approach her resistance to this.
I'am glad we aren't the only ones who struggle. Just knowing others have experienced this makes me feel better.
She's the type that decides whether or not she likes things based on ... absolutely nothing.
Kellybell my dd is exactly the same way. Keeps me guessing lol
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Blend ladder instructions

Unread post by RachelT »

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:03 pm
There are 2 separate lessons each week that use the blend ladder. On Day 3 there is "Blend Ladder - Part One" and on Day 4 there is "Blend Ladder - Part Two" and "Blend Ladder Page". So, you will use the vowels as you learn them. You will also use the blend ladder page for creating 2 letter syllables to practice blending on Day 3. Then, you will get the same page back out on Day 4 and use it to make 3 letter words and to write them. Each week, you will find a new blend ladder page in your packet. The instructions in the TM are much more specific, but I hope that clears things up a bit more!

Now, I have to say that some of us (including ME) have modified these blend ladder lessons to make them work for our individual student. For example, my ds did not want to write on the blend ladder page last year and he was very frustrated with it until I began having him do the same lessons with a blank white piece of paper or the white board. Now looking back, I realize that he needed more space because he was still writing larger sized letters.

We also have these magnetic letters that work great on our white board and we just ended up doing the lessons there, so do what you need to do to make it work.

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More blend ladder ideas

Unread post by Homeschooling6 »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:34 am
What I have done is draw a slide on a piece of paper, put the vowel at the bottom and the consonant at the top. Than show your dc how the consonant slides down to meet the vowel and as it slides say the sound.

Another idea is use letter tiles or letter cards (you can make the cards using index cards). Point to the the letter 't' and have him make that sound then point to the letter 'a' and have him make that sound.

Have the letters come together. I will tell my son that the letter 't' is going to crash into the vowel. As the letters come together he will say "taaa"

It's okay if you are showing him the first few times.

Hope that wasn't confusing. If so let me know. I do plan to take pictures of this and blog about it soon.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:40 am

Be encouraged it is hard for lots of kids. After using serval programs with my now 12 and 14 year olds years ago I would say it is not the program.

Here are just a couple of ideas that come to mind. I know others will have more.

1. It is o.k. for you to model how to do this and then let him do. I know this is in the directions but sometimes I think we are afraid of doing too much for them. He is learning a skill. We are supposed to give them lots of assistance while they learn this new skill. This is definitely a mistake I made years ago.

2. Break this up into several sittings in a day. Do not try to do all the letters in one sitting and expect that he will not remember how to it when you come back to it.

3. My next idea is to consider his readiness for K. How old is he? Many boys need to wait a bit longer before their brains are ready to understand what reading is. You may just need to take a month or 2 break or even longer.

I know other moms will chime in but these are just a few ideas and things to think about .

(I see Linda and I were typing at the same time:))

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:49 am

and I was typing at the same time as Lucy... but I'll say the same things anyway..

Blending is a skill that is in many phonics programs, and yes... some children need more time to learn a new skill. Just relax and assure him -- it's ok to try again.

One idea...(even if Lucy said it already, I'll repeat it)
You model it for him and then have him repeat it back to you.

You (teacher/mom) put your finger on the letters that you are blending, and move your finger along those letters while you say it out loud. Do this about 3 times, then let your child try it.

It is common that children need that style of direction instruction. There is nothing wrong with helping them.

another idea:
take a look at the games on Some kids might benefit from seeing the audio and visual helps. Encourage him to talk out loud with the computer so that he can practice.

Give lots of kuddos to him as he tries. Don't make too big of a deal over it when he expresses all that frustration. Just like the computer game that says "that's not right. please try again" -- I just get silly and say that to my kids. I even include sound effects :)

I know there are other ideas... looking forward to hearing more teacher tips :)

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Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:35 pm

I'll offer something. We started with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Didn't work for us, but there were some concepts that really helped.

One was "Say it fast." You say two words, slowly and separately, your kid says them fast. For example, you say, "Motor. (long pause) Cycle. Now, you say them fast." Your kid says "Motorcycle." Use words like Bath and Tub. Lawn and Mower. Rain and Fall. Pop and Corn. (I'm sure you get the idea.)

Now, translate that into blending. Say the /t/ sound and then the /a/ sound. Now, say it fast. When my daughter was first learning to read and doing blends, that's what I would do. Have her say /t/ then /a/, and then say, "Now, say it fast (as I ran my finger underneath the letters)", and say /ta/ with them.

Anyway, we still use it when she sounds out by syllables. She'll take something like op/er/at/or and say it really slow, and I'll just say, "Now, say it fast." And it comes out operator.

Just a thought that might help. (I do like the slide idea, or cars crashing into each other. Leap Frog videos use the slide concept.)
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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:45 pm

Perhaps let your child work first on the blending letters that flow without interruption. For example:

mmmmm.....aaaaaaaaa. mmm....aaaa. mmaa.

nnnnnnn....iiiiiiiiiii. nnnn...iiiiii. nnniii.


You get the picture. Blends that require use of a different part of the tongue or mouth are harder to master (ie. c or b with a vowel).
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Unread post by Jenneve »

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:36 pm

My ds has had no problems with blending. I think one thing that helped him before we even started was watching the Leap Pad videos: Talking Letters Factory and Word Factory.
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Unread post by Ariasarias »

Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:03 am

Just wanted to add and reiterate what I've heard here a lot -- each kid learns at his own rate. With reading it seems to "click" at some point; until then we just need to keep walking alongside of them until it does. With some it happens at 4 and others it doesn't until 9. I say that to encourage you, like the others said, that it's okay to keep helping him until it clicks.

My sis-in-law just reminded me of this recently when her ds made the connections and the excitement in both of them. I recently saw this with one of my dd. Last year she seemed "ready" to learn to read, but she quickly hit a wall and was frustrated. I was a little frustrated because her big sis learned so easily. I put it away, and just recently she showed me how to sound out a word. It all comes in time, and each one has his own time. Keep going mom, you're doing a great job!!!
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Unread post by GoodCat »

Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:58 pm
Over here we play games with flashcards when learning blends. I show them a flashcard and if they say it correctly, they get to move their pieces. It always amazes me how much they like this and it works. No matter if it was my brainy, learns everything quickly child, or my slower, really don't want to do this child :) .

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Unread post by Mom2MnS »

Posted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:33 pm
Also, take a trip to the library when you have plenty of time. While your sweetie looks around, sit down with all of the early readers you can find and go through them one by one to find some that #1 would interest him and #2 are beginners level. They are out there! :) You might also use the BOB books.

I think the very best thing you can do is get some books into his hands :) Blessings as you plan!

Blend Ladder for K -- Is my child the only one who does this

Unread post by cbollin »

FreshKid wrote:We are on unit 14 H-H-Horse. When we did the blend ladder today, he did /ha/, /ho/, and /hu/. He got really stuck on /hi/ (short /i/). He keeps making a different sound or adding a sound to the end. He either says /hu/ or /hil/ or /hic/ or something like that. He can do it separately.

Is he just not trying? Is he guessing? Is phonics not the way to go for us? Is he just a late reader? (He gets real excited when he reads words and the unit with the short sentence sent him to the moon with excitement) Is there a problem that we need to be working on?
My guess is that he is trying his best and just needs a little more time and some creative ideas.
I wouldn't give up just yet though on phonics in general.

Here are some ideas....

1. You say it first while moving your finger along and let him repeat it. Then try on his own. There is nothing wrong at this stage with modeling it first to show the example. right?

2. Take 2 pennies and put them on the table in front of you.
As you say the /h/ sound pull one penny toward you
then say the /i/ sound and pull the other penny down.
maybe that would help him to hear and see when to end what he is saying.

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Unread post by my3boys »

My boys are both doing the same thing only with different letters - I remember my oldest doing it too and not being sure what it was about. It will pass - I think it is just their way of figuring it out.
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Unread post by Leah OH »

My dd6 does the same thing. She can do the letters by themselves, but will then change the sound the very next time. She gets mostly confused on E and I. Does your son know some simple words? My dd does and that is why she tries to add another letter at the end. For instance, she will say "cat" sometimes when doing "ca". When I correct her, she tells me that cat is spelled C-A-T. She is also already reading simple stories so sometimes I think that she thinks she shouldn't have to do the blend ladder. It definitely is her least favorite part of the day.


Unread post by cbollin »

I almost felt like I could have written Leah's post.

Last night we were re-doing our lessons. Turns out we're on day 3 of the unit 14. And guess what? My little girl did the same thing with /c/ /a/. she went as far to grab the letter T and put in after it. I figured it was a good sign honestly. She was wanting to make a full word. That's ok? right? So, we took the paper chart away and just used the table.

I like how in MFW K we teach /i/ and /e/ far apart from each other when it comes time to blend and all of that. I know it is introduced in the songs early on, but with focus time with blend ladder we aren't supposed to do /e/ for a while. Tip: exaggerate and slow down your pronunciations of /e/ and /i/, and let your child watch your mouth and face as you say them. Some words are harder to hear when we speak in conversation and it helps lots of kids to slow it down during a practice session. (We have to do that with our kids who were in speech, so I imagine it must help regular kids too.) It's about training their ears to hear stuff. It's hard work too, especially with regional accents and all of that.

Here are some things I've done with my dd this year to change around the blend ladder a bit. She's already reads some words so we change things up a bit.

Instead of using the blend ladder chart, we just put the textured letters on the table. That way she isn't expecting to have a 3rd sound on the chart. The spacing on the chart makes her brain want to put another sound there. I guess it is common for some kids.

Also, we sometimes have her build the syllable sound after we say it, instead of just having her read it after we build it. For example, mom or dad will call out "build the sounds of /CA/" and then she will look for the letters and put them in order on the table (again, not on the paper chart).

Last night, we did all the sounds of a certain vowel at the sound time. So it was all target consonants with /a/, then with other vowels. sometimes we do it the other way around and do all vowel sounds with one consonant before moving to the next consonant. (and because she knows some words by sight, I ignored it when she said "do" instead of it being a short vowel sound on the syllable. She says "dot" and "dog" when it is all written out, so, I wasn't worried about it when she said 'do' "we" and other sight words. She struggles enough with talking that I just didn't care when the blend made another word. kwim?

So, I'm guessing here... maybe some kids should just do the syllable blend activity on the table with the letters instead of on the cardstock chart? It is important to have them try it a little bit so they can break down syllables later when reading and spelling.

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November Check In

Unread post by ruthamelia »

allgrace wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:26 pm My kinder girl is challenged by the writing in K. so she copies my words. I am wondering if I should slow the pace down for her.
I thought I would mention to you that the handwriting in k has been a stretch for my daughter as well. On the blend ladder worksheets she usually writes the letters in the boxes rather than the lines. I also have a set of alphabet stamps that we sometimes substitute. We're working on handwriting separately- and slowly. I've also read that writing on a vertical surface helps with the muscles to write on a horizontal surface, so I encourage her to use the chalkboard and whiteboard whenever she's willing.
allgrace wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:01 am Thanks for the tip about the handwriting.
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