Ten segmenting activities

1. Oral toy-talk

As in blending, there is a host of opportunities to use a toy or puppet for developing this skill. Tell the children that the puppet only understands sound-talk and invent situations where you have to segment a word for the puppet

Eg. What shall we give the puppet to eat? A bun.

The children then have to segment the word bun- b-u-n with you as you give it to the puppet.

2. Which item?

When the children are confident to sound-talk they can play a kind of oral segmenting ‘I Spy’. They see a collection of items (pre-selected by you in a bag or on a table) and one child secretly chooses an item. He or she sound-talks it for the others. The others must blend it to reveal the correct word and item.

3. Phoneme frames

Prepare two, three, four or more box phoneme frames, depending on which stage you are at. Use card frames, small magnetic whiteboards with magnetic letters, mini whiteboards or the interactive whiteboard. Children say a word, say it in sound-talk establish the number of phonemes in the word, find the letters and build the word. You can model this first and then ask the children to work in pairs.

4. Phoneme fans

As above but using fans, which you can purchase or make. Fans are made with a designated set of letters, or letters can be written onto blank laminated fans, to be used by children in pairs to practice spelling.

5. Change the word

As above but change one letter each time to make a different word. Sometimes it’s possible to end with the same word you started with and this is known as Full Circle.

eg. clat, clap, clip, flip, flap, flat, clat- Full circle!

This is great for both blending and segmenting and can be played to include pseudo-words as in the above example.

6. Washing Line

Peg up selected grapheme cards on a washing line across the classroom or peg up socks which feature each chosen grapheme. You say a word and the children must get the correct graphemes from the washing line to make the word and peg it out in the right order.

7. A quiz

Prepare about five questions. The answers must be words children can encode. They write the answers in pairs on paper or on mini whiteboards. You can theme these quizzes, eg. traditional tales/nursery rhymes- What colour hood has Riding Hood got? (red) etc.

8. Caption it!

Show the children how to use their segmenting skills to write simple captions to accompany pictures. Decide on a simple caption, eg. a rat and a bat, and show the children how to segment each word in order to write it.

9. Clap it

Make a list of two- or three-syllable words when the children are at about Letters and Sounds Phase 3. Say the word rainbow, clap the syllables rain/bow, clap the first word rain, segment the sounds in it r-ai-n, then repeat for the second syllable. Read both syllables of the word to read rainbow.

10. Say what you know

Practice spelling high-frequency tricky words such as no. Sound-talk the word, /n//oa/, establishing that there are two sounds. Write n and oa. Ask the children if that is right. Explain that the letters oa do spell the /oa/ sound but we have to learn that we spell it with just the letter o in this case. So the children have used what they know to tweak their spelling of a high-frequency tricky word.


English, English and Literacy, English and Writing, English for the More Able, Reading, Reading and Ebooks

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