Ram and His R-Blend Words

Lesson Guide


Activity 1 Explore Book Cover

Note: If students have heard or read other books with the character Ram, they should recognize the character.

Read the title with students. It tells that the name of the character is Ram.

Identify the character with evidence from the title and the picture.

Identify the clues that tell about the setting. (The character Ram  seems to be high up in the mountains).

Predict what the book will be about. Model think aloud: I think it will be about a boy named Ram looking for things that begin with an R blend as he hikes through the mountains.)

Activity 2 Learning to Hear and Pronouncing R-Blends

Refer to the Word Scientists website before starting the lesson to learn how to teach the individual sounds that make up an r-blend. This includes the following sounds: /b/, /p/,/g/,/f/, and the sound /k/spelled with a c, a the /ch/ spelled with the letter t as in trip, and /j/ spelled with the letter d as in dragon.

R-blend Pronunciations

  • Name pictures on page 2 with students.  
  • Say the name of a vocabulary word with an R blend and have students point to the picture.
  • Slow down pronunciation of the two consonants in each blend: b-rrr (bread), f-rrr (frrog), g-rrr (grapes), j-rrr(dragonfly), ch-rrr (train).
  • Write each R blend on the board and have students feel their lips, teeth and tongue move from sound to sound. Exaggerate the /r/ sound in the blends because it can be stretched.  The first sounds in all the blends cannot be stretched.

Phonemic Awareness

Segment the words into individual sounds, lifting one finger as you say each sound. Say each sound in the following one-syllable words with an R blend.

4 -sound words: t-r-i-p, t-r-ai-n, c-r-a-b, b-r-ea-d, f-r-o-g, g-r-a-ss, b-r-i-ck

5-sound words: g-r-a-pe-s, c-r-a-ck-ed

6-sound words: f-r-ie-n-d-s

Sound-By-Sound Blending for Closed Syllables

: words with br, fr, gr: crab, frog, brick, grass

Write each letter on the board and have students say the sound, then after they pronounce  the vowel, blend the consonants and vowel together. Next, say the last consonant sound and blend all the letters together.

Note: For the word brick, write the ck together to spell the sound /k/. Make a loop under the ck to show that it spells one sound.  Do the same for the double s (ss) in the word grass.

Example: crab

    • Write the letter c
    • Say: sound (Students respond  /k/)
    • Write the letter r
    • Say: sound (students respond  /r/)
    • Write the letter a
    • Say: sound (Students respond /ă/)
    • Blend (Students respond /cră/)
    • Write the letter b
    • Say: sound (Students respond /b/)
    • Blend (Students respond /crab/)

Activity 3 Reading of High-Frequency Words

Practice using the high-frequency words: going, by, finds, eats, eat, wants, old, friends

Write each carrier phrase on the board.

  • Read the phrase out loud and ask students to repeat it.
  • Fill in the blank with a word the students know and/or pictures on page 2.  Example: Look at the ________.
  • Point to a swing and repeat the phrase: Look at the swing.
  • Ask students to repeat the sentence.

Use pictures on page 2 to complete the following phrases or use other pictures listed in the parentheses:

Ram eats _______________(bread, broccoli, grapes).

A dragonfly eats _____________. (bugs)

I am going on a trip by _________________, (train, bus, car, bike, boat).

I want to eat the _______________ (grapes, bread, broccoli, crab).

I can’t find the ________________ (crack) in the old wall.

My friends are going with me by _____________.(train, bus, car, bike, boat).

Activity 4 Guided Reading of the Book

After the students have practiced the carrier phrases with the high-frequency words, guide them in reading each page of text with you the first time.  Students who are more capable can read on their own. Ask the questions on each page. If students answer with one or two words, model a complete sentence and let the student try to repeat it.

Page 3 Text: Ram is going on a trip by train.

Tell students:

  • Let’s read the first part of the sentence together: Ram is going on a _____.
  • What do you see in the picture? (a train)
  • What is Ram pointing to? (a train)
  • Which word says train? (the last one)
  • What sounds do you hear at the beginning of the word train? (/ch-r/). Even though we hear the sounds /ch-r/, we spell the blend that is pronounced with /chr/ the letters tr.
  • Let’s sound out the first tr word. Point to the tr and say /chr/ then stretch out the vowel and final consonant to read the word trip.
  • Read the sentence with me.
  • Where do you think Ram is going on his trip? (students can say ideas about where he is going)

Page 4 Text: Ram finds a brown crab.

Ask students:

Infer: Where is Ram? (by the sea, by the ocean, at the beach).  

Try to read the sentence.

Are there any words you don’t know?

What is Ram pointing to? (a crab)

Which word tells a color? (brown)

What color is the crab? (brown)

Describe the setting. (blue sea/ocean water, waves splashing, sand)

Page 5 Text: Ram eats bread and broccoli soup.

Ask students: What food do you see in the pot? (broccoli, bread, soup)

Let’s clap the syllables in the word broccoli: bro/cco/li (3). What blend do you hear at the beginning of the word? (br).

Point to the 2 words that begin with the blend br that says /br/.  (bread, broccoli)

Which longer word do you think says broccoli?

What does the other word say? (Bread)

Who is stirring the soup? (Ram)

How do you know? (It says Ram, and I recognize the band on his wrist.)

Read the sentence with me: Ram eats bread and broccoli soup.

Page 6 Text: Ram sees a frog sit on a crocodile.

Ask students: What is going on in this picture? (A frog is sitting on a baby crocodile. The crocodile’s mouth is wide open. )

Infer: How do you think Ram feels about that? (shocked, surprised, amazed)

Infer: What do you think might happen next? (students can give their own ideas)

Clap the syllables in the word crocodile: croc/o/dile (3)

Point to the word that says crocodile.

Say: Yes it starts with the cr blend.

Read the whole sentence.

Page 7 Text: Ram wants to eat grapes.

Ask students:

What is Ram doing now? (Looking at the juicy grapes. Getting ready to pick the grapes.)

What do you think Ram wants to do? (pick or eat the grapes).

Point to the word eat.

Point to the word that begins with the gr blend. (grapes)

Read the whole sentence.

Page 8 Text: Ram finds a dragonfly on a blade of grass.

Ask students:

Do you know what kind of insect is on the blade of grass? (dragonfly)

Think aloud: That dragonfly must be so light, because it can stand on just one blade of grass.  Point to the blade of grass. Find the word blade that begins with the bl- blend.

Read the whole sentence.

Point out that the dr blend sounds like the sounds /jr/.  Write jr on the board. Then cross it out and write dr.

Page 9 Text: Ram sees an old, cracked brick wall.

Ask students:

What is Ram looking at now? (an old wall)

Let’s read how the author describes the wall.

Tell students to cover the -ed ending with their thumb and sound out the base word: c-r-a-ck.  The read the word with the -ed ending pronounced, /crakt/.

Say: If you can read the word ball, you can read the last word in the sentence: wall.

Read the whole sentence.

Why did the author describe the wall as old and cracked?  (because it has cracks in it, and it looks old with the cracks and different colors. )

Page 10 Text: Ram meets his friends on a bridge.

Ask students:

Where is Ram now? (On a bridge)

Who is Ram with? (his friends, the other student conservationists)

Read the text on the page on your own.

Which words have a  consonant blend? (friends, bridge)

Describe the picture. (Answers may vary)

Infer: What do you think they are going?

More phonics:
  • Point out to students that the word meet has  a long e sound /ē/.
  • Point out to students that the sound /j/ in the word bridge is spelled –dge.

Activity 5 Reread the text for fluency. My Turn, Your Turn.

The teacher reads a page of text, and then the students read the same text. Reread the whole book.  Make sure students are following the text when the teacher has a turn.


Teacher: “My turn. Ram finds a brown crab. Your turn.”

Students: “Ram finds a brown crab.”

Activity 6 Partner Reading

Break students into pairs. Make sure each pair has a copy of the book. Instruct students to read the whole book with their partner. First, Student #1 should read each page of the book, pointing to each word as he/she reads it. Next, Student #2 should reach each page of the book, pointing to each word as he/she reads it. Encourage students to help each other if they cannot remember a word. Walk around the room and check the progress of each student, providing feedback on errors as necessary.

Activity 7 Word Sort

Preparation: Before the lesson, cut out the pictures provided at the end of the book. This page includes only the pictures of things that begin with R blends. The words are intentionally left out so students can practice naming the vocabulary and listening to hear the difference between  the different R blends (fr, gr, cr, br, tr, dr).

You may cut out the pictures from each student book, or you may provide scissors so students can do it themselves during the activity.

Instructions: Begin this activity by asking the students to name all of the pictures as you hold them up one by one.

The first time, demonstrate how to sort the pictures under the correct R blend spelling header.

Then, ask each pair of students to turn to the page of the book which shows a chart with columns that spell each different R blend.  There are two different R blend charts.  The chart on page 12 contrasts the r-blends: br, gr, fr, and cr.  The chart on page 13 contrasts the two challenging blends that sound different from their spelling: tr and dr.  Tr sounds like /chr/ and dr sounds like/jr/.  

Model the activity to hear the differences between the R blends.

  • Draw a larger version of the T chart on the board.
  • Hold up a picture of grapes.
  • Ask students: What is this? (grapes)
  • Ask students: What is the blend you hear? (/gr/)
  • How do we spell the blend in grapes? (gr)
  • Use tape to place the picture of the grapes  under the gr column.
  • Say: grapes begins with the gr  blend so it goes under the header gr.  
  • Have students name all the pictures in a column each time a new picture is added.
  • After you have gone through all the vocabulary, take the pictures off the board, so students can try the activity themselves.

Students work in pairs to complete their own charts. Walk around the room checking progress and correcting errors as necessary.  

Group check:

After students complete their work…

  • Hold up each picture one by one and ask students the same questions as in the model.
    • What is this?
    • What is the blend  you hear?
    • What letters spell that blend?
    • Use tape to place the picture in the correct column on the T chart on the board
  • Ask the pairs to check that they put their pictures in the correct columns.

Activity 8 Assessment

  • Watch students read the book and point to each word as they read it. Observe if they are pronouncing each blend correctly.  Mark down any errors.
  • Check to see if students can read the high-frequency words out of the text: going, by, finds, eats, under, old, friends
  • Ask students to spell closed-syllable words that have the R blends: bridge, crack, brick, grass, frog, crab, trip.