Multisensory Monday: Blending Boards for Phonological Awareness

Multisensory Monday: Blending Boards for Phonological Awareness

Posted by Samantha Brooks on 24th Feb 2019

Today is Multisensory Monday! When teaching phonological awareness skills such as blending and segmenting, I often use Elkonin boxes, colored blocks, and chips. Lately, I have been searching for a fun way to liven these sometimes mundane, but essential activities.

I found one that has worked wonders with my students and of course, I must share!

Using blending boards are an incredibly powerful and fun way to practice orally blending and segmenting sounds in words. These boards have 7 colorful animals cut into three parts (head, torso, and tail) that represent a three-phoneme word (beginning, middle and end). Students create mix-matched animals to represent the three different phonemes they hear in a word. They can then use colored chips, blocks or fun little erasers to place on the corresponding animal part.

I found these blending boards which are available for immediate download for $5.99 (click the link below) or, you can certainly create your own.

Three Activities Using Blending Boards:

These activities can be done one on one or in a small group. Ideally, each student will have their own blending board. Also, these activities do not involve print. Students only listen and produce words/sounds heard.


Blending requires putting together phonemes heard to create a whole word (which ties to reading).

  • Create a crazy mix-matched animal with three different parts, such as the image above.
  • Teacher says: “Guess my word … /m/  /a/  /d/”
  • Students listen for the sounds heard and repeat while pointing and sweeping their finger from left to right on their animal blending board.
  • Students then give the word they heard by saying “mad.”
  • Repeat with different words—can change animal parts to keep students engaged!


When we segment, we pull apart the sounds heard in a whole word (which ties to spelling).

  • Create a crazy mix-matched animal with three different parts, such as the image above.
  • Teacher says a whole word: “dog”
  • Students segment the sounds that make up the word and say “/d/ /o/  /g/,” placing a manipulative on each animal part while saying each sound.
  • Repeat with different words!

Manipulation (Advanced Skill):

Manipulating words is a more challenging task that requires students to alter sounds within words to make new words.

  • Teacher says a whole word: “sad” then segments each sound in the word “/s/ /a/ /d/ ” while placing a marker on each animal part.
  • Teacher says: “Now change /s/ to /m/.”
  • Students switch manipulatives to represent the changing first sound.
  • Teacher asks: “What word do you hear now?”
  • Student respond with the new word: “mad”
  • Repeat with any of the three positions (initial-medial-final or head-torso-tail).


Have fun and enjoy! 


Written by Samantha Brooks, MSE, CDP

Samantha Brooks is an Instructor with Brainspring Educator Academy.

Click here to learn more about our accredited Orton-Gillingham professional development.