Most of my students can stretch CVC words just fine, but they have difficulty with blends and basically any word other than the CVC’s. I have worked hard to establish a set of activities that DO work! However, phoneme segmentation is very hard for some students- – those with speech articulation errors, difficulty with phonological processing, and so on. That is why this is something we work on daily in my classroom!
Phoneme Segmentation within my classroom day:
Morning Routine: We work on stretching and blending words as a group. I give a word, the students then stretch the word and blend it back together. It looks like this:
Students: “/r/ /i/ /v/ /er/” …..”river”
I have my students stretch each sound on their fingers as if they are counting…the students then make a fist at the end of stretching the word and bring the fist to their chest as they blend the word back together.
Hallway: I also access phoneme segmentation in the hallway as I am having my students go into the restroom. I will show them a word and they will stretch and blend the word.
The little set of picture cards are what I have the students stretch. This set of cards has a variety- – CVC words, blends, & digraphs. The larger set the students says the word, “map,” stretches the word, “/m/ /a/ /p/,” and then blends the word back together, “map!”
Both sets of these cards are available in the packet listed at the end of the post!
Guided Reading: From the beginning of the school year to mid-year I have about a 5-10 minute block of time that is strictly for phonemic awareness in my guided reading groups. However, after mid-year most of my medium-high groups have mastered the skill and we move on to more higher level skills. For those that have not mastered I have continued a 10 minute block of time in our daily guided reading group meet up time!
Below are several pictures of my kiddos working on their phoneme segmentation/phonological skills!
Teaching children to pick out all of the phonemes (or sounds) in a given word can be tricky! This requires good listening skills and well developed phonemic awareness in general. For some children, mastering phoneme segmentation can seem just about impossible! Here are some teaching tips that have worked for me in the past.
* The best advice I can give is to practice segmenting words with a designated MOTION for a short time every single day with your whole class. Even just one or two minutes per day will help! Look for suggested motions on this post. There is also a downloadable list of words to use, plus a homework sheet that you can download here.
Here is where you can get another word list for practicing words with two, three, and four phonemes.
And here is another post with lists of words with four, five, or six phonemes.
* Give kids beads to slide down a pipe cleaner as they segment the word. I made these “Segmentation Sliders” out of pipe cleaners and Push-Up Rings that I found here. My students absolutely LOVED doing this in small groups and BEGGED for them every time they thought I might give in! It was totally worth making them! I also found these same rings on Amazon! Just search for “stringing rings.” (They sure look like Froot Loops!) They come in different shapes as well, so you could also use them for patterning and sorting, etc, and they fit nicely on pipe cleaners, so the children would be using their fine motor skills as well- always a plus!
* Have children practice segmenting words by pulling stretchy toys apart and letting them snap back together when they say the whole word. My students LOVED this! Hint: Practice first with empty hands, and then switch to holding the stretchy toys.
* Slide chips or tokens into Elkonin Boxes as kids segment the word. Elkonin Boxes, also known as “Sound Boxes,” were developed by a Russian Psychologist named D. B. Elkonin.Click here for a free download of some Elkonin Boxes made by Heidi and a complete explanation of how to use them.
Here is how to use them:
-Give each child in your group a sheet with the boxes on it and some tokens to push.
-Say a word, and the children just slide one token into each box for each sound they hear.
-When your kids get good enough at this, give them the sheet like the white one below, so that they have several choices of how many phonemes there might be in the word you call out. So if you call out a word with five sounds in it, then it will be their job to find all of the phonemes in the word and count them, and then figure out which of the boxed rectangles on the page to use.
-The next step is to slide plastic letters or letter tiles into the boxes.
-The last step is to write the letters in the boxes.
This worked GREAT- but- I needed to “wean them off” of that practice in order for them to do well on their assessments. We were not allowed to add in extra instructions like that when testing, so this threw many of the struggling children off when they were tested, unfortunately.
* Sometimes recording the child’s own voice saying the word to segment helps.First have him or her say it the normal way, and then have him say it again “in slow motion.” If the child is listening to HIMSELF speak, the “light” might go on! I use an iPad or iPhone to make recordings.
* Get parents on board if you can.I have included a downloadable sheet with words to practice on. It also has a homework sheet that I developed. It is very simple; kids are supposed to practice the words that you give them on a cover sheet (you’ll have to pick the words that you want that week yourself and write them on some kind of cover sheet) and then draw a star or happy face in each box after they try to segment them for an adult. You can download my editable cover sheet for my homework on this blog post here.
I believe that the main “take away lesson” for me as a teacher is that the more that the child struggles to learn, the more important it is to keep the academic vocabulary (and gestures!) that you teach the skill with AND the testing vocabulary IDENTICAL. This will help your low students do the very best that they can on their tests! That way, they can feel GREAT about their results, and YOU can get the credit for being the good teacher that you are!
If your students are working on sounding out words, try the Sound Blending Songs from our Sound Blending Songs DVD & CD!! They work REALLY well for teaching children to sound out words!
Here are some other blog posts of mine you might find helpful on this topic!
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