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© 2019 by Paolini Method

Five Special Friends

This lesson is excerpted from Play & Learn with Cereal O's. Click here to download a PDF of the project.

Do this lesson as soon as your child knows the sounds of the letters. Repeat Activity 1 often—over days or weeks—until he is comfortable saying the vowel sounds. When he is ready, introduce Activity 2 and repeat it over many days until he can blend two letters easily. Activity 3 blends three letters. At this point many children suddenly understand that the blended sounds represent real things. For example, the letters c-a-t mean cat!


What You Need:

Separate slips of paper with letters written on them


Activity 1:

Demonstrate, then invite your child to follow these steps:

  1. Set the five blue Letter Booklets (a, e, i, o, u) in a vertical line, as shown on the next page. These are the Five Special Friends.

  2. Point to the letters and say their sounds, one-by-one, starting with a. (A Word About Letter Sounds, page 24). Repeat this several times. Another day, challenge your child to say the vowel sounds in order with his eyes closed.

Activity 2:

  1. Ask your child to set out the vowels in a vertical line.

  2. Invite him to get a consonant and place it in front of the a. Let’s say he chooses the letter b. Blend the b and the a sounds and say ba (baaa). Now move the b booklet down to rest in front of the e. Say be (as in the word bed). Continue moving the b down until you reach u. You will have said ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Have him try the exercise himself.

  3. Tell him put the b away, then have him choose a new consonant and repeat action 2.


Activity 3:

  1. Ask your child to set out the vowels in a vertical line, as before.

  2. Have him choose one consonant, for example b, and place it to the left of the vowel, as he did in Activity 2.

  3. Introduce a third letter, such as t. Place it to the right of the vowel. With your child, move both consonants down the vowels and say the blended sounds: bat, bet, bit, bot, but. Blend the sounds as if you were reading the words. Choose other consonants and repeat.

Click here to download a PDF of the lesson.