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How To Teach Glued Sounds

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Have you ever heard of glued sounds before? These tricky chunks can be hard for struggling readers but there are some easy and foolproof ways to help your students learn glued sounds.

In this post, I explain what glued sounds are and exactly how to teach them.

What are glued sounds?

Glued sounds are chunks of letters where their own sounds are difficult to hear. They’re called glued sounds because the sounds are ‘glued’ together and sound different than they normally do on their own.

For example, the word ‘sink’ contains the glued sound NK. If you say the sounds for /n/ and /k/ individually it’s not the same as /nk/. The n kind of sounds like /ng/ when it’s paired with the k.

Glued sounds are always at the end of a syllable or word.

what are glued sounds

Glued Sound Words

Some examples of glued sounds include NK and NG.

NK: sank, sink, honk, sunk

NG: sang, sing, song, sung

You’ll find some programs also include -all, -am, and -an as glued sounds. The A sounds a little different in these chunks and picks up a nasal sound when it’s before an M or N.

I don’t include these with glued sounds but you can if your program does. Just be consistent in what you do.

glued sounds word list, glued sound words

Glued sounds or welded sounds?

You may also hear glued sounds referred to as welded sounds. The popular Fundations program calls them welded sounds.

Either way, it’s the same thing. Call it what you want just teach it the right way.

When to teach glued sounds

Glued sounds should be taught after students are confident with consonant digraphs and blends. This would typically be in first grade, but of course, go at your student’s pace.

If you have struggling readers, hold off a bit, and you’ll possibly spend more time practicing glued sounds.

How to teach glued sounds

Firstly, teach one group at a time. I usually start with all the NG chunks. I spend a few days on these before moving on. Typically I move on when students can recognize, read, and spell words with the target glued sound with few mistakes.

When introducing glued sounds, I like to use phonogram cards for each chunk: ink, ank, onk, unk, ing, ang, ong, ung. These help students by giving them a keyword to cue them.

glued sound ank phonogram card

First, introduce the sound and spelling pattern. Talk about different words with the same chunk.

Tap the words out using your fingers. Be sure to model this so students understand. the first time, tell them how many sounds are in the word, model finger tapping each sound, and have them practice with you.

Practice some onset and rime with an initial sound and the chunk. Have students blend and segment both ways.

Focus on the spelling of each chunk. Although sink sounds like it would be spelled singk, talk about the pattern students need to recognize and recall that ‘ingk’ sound is always spelled -ink.

From here you’ll want to practice with a variety of activities that reinforce these sounds.

Phonogram Cards

Activities To Teach Glued Sounds

Read Decodable Texts

Use a decodable text that focuses on the specific glued sound you are working on. For example, if you taught NG, use a decodable text that focuses on NG words.

Remember that decodable texts are controlled to have mostly words, sentences, and skills that students have already learned. The only new skill in the text is the target skill. This ensures students are working on the target skill.

Have students find and highlight each word with the target glued sound before they read it. Then they can read and answer questions.

decodable passage with glued sounds
This is a story I made up and printed out to practice. It’s not available for purchase or download.

Word Sorts

Word sorts are always a good idea when practicing any phonics skill. Have students look for words and sort them, sort from a list or deck of flashcards, or complete a sorting worksheet.

Writing Words With Glued Sounds

There are so many ways to get kids writing so pick your favorite and let them practice. You can have them write from a list, think of more words on their own, or create nonsense words.

I usually have students use the phonogram cards to create nonsense words that they have to read aloud and write.

sound boxes with glued sounds grapheme cards
These cards are from my Phonogram Cards set. The sound boxes are available for free in my freebies library.

Blending & Segmenting

You can use Elkonin sound boxes, finger tapping, phonogram cards, or other manipulatives to have students blend and segment words with glued sounds.

Word Mapping

Phoneme grapheme mapping is one of the most effective ways to teach sounds and spelling. Use a template to have students map out words with glued sounds. Remember to be consistent about mapping out the chunks.

Dictation

Dictation is good practice and instant feedback for you. Use my free template in my freebies library.

All you have to do is say a few target and review sounds, words, and sentences that students write. You’ll see if they learned the skill or not.

dictation of glued sounds words

Games

And of course, play games! There are so many printable games or you could use a set of flashcards with target words with any board game.

How To Map Glued Sounds

This is a hot topic amongst educators and you’ll find teachers all over the place on this.

There are 2 ways to map words with glued sounds. You can map the glued sound in one sound box or separate them into more than one sound box. See the image below for a visual of what I mean.

heart word mapping of word with glued sound
This page is from the 3rd grade Dolch Heart Words set

I say pick one and stick with it!

While it’s technically true that sink has 4 sounds, it might be easier for some to keep the -nk together because of the unique sound it makes.

Conclusion

Glued sounds can be tricky for kids to learn because they don’t always sound like the letter combinations make sense. That’s why it’s important to use a variety of activities and exercises to help kids understand how these sounds work. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to teach glued sounds, take a look at some of our favorite activities in the article above.


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How To Teach Glued Sounds

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