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Blending and Segmenting

*Please note: The list that follows contains general ideas for Pre-K Blending & Segmenting activities. We are currently developing activity plans for each target in this category.

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Teaching Tips

  • Utilize naturally occurring opportunities to practice blending sounds into words and segmenting words into sounds. You can use informal classroom contexts such as daily routines (welcoming the students at the beginning of the day, cleaning up, having snack, washing hands, and transitioning from activity to activity) as well as loosely structured center-based activities and free choice times to reinforce skills.
  • Give students time to explore the writing process. Anticipate that the developmentally appropriate practice of invented spelling may be eventually used both to provide practice for blending and segmenting skills and to serve as an authentic assessment of skill progression.
  • Extend rhyme activities to emphasize blending the onset (initial consonant) and rhyme (word ending from the vowel on). Breaking apart rhyme words can help children become aware of and be able to identify the onset and rhyme.
  • Exposure to sound blending may be most appropriate as a review for rhyming and alliteration activities. For example, after playfully practicing the element of rhyme in words such as bed, head, fed, and led, you might ask the student, “What word am I saying, /b/ –ed?”


  • Words are made up of sounds that can be blended together and taken apart. While it is important to break words into their sounds in order to learn to read, young children cannot easily identify the individual sounds in a spoken word on their own. They perceive words as whole units because each sound influences the production of the sounds around it. When a word is spoken the individual sounds do not operate as discrete parts. For this reason, students need direct instruction and practice in taking words apart and putting them back together again.
  • The ability to segment and blend words using their respective parts is an important foundational skill for later work in reading and decoding.
  • Blending is popularly referred to as “sounding it out.” Students combine different sounds or letters to make a word. Blending skills can also be used to combine two words to make one compound word.
  • Segmenting is the process of splitting up sentences, words, or sounds into smaller parts (i.e., sentences into words, words into syllables, blends into individual letters).
  • Blending and segmenting skills follow a developmentally appropriate progression, as outlined below: (See the SEEL Pre-K Scope and Sequence for more detail)
  • Early Pre-Kindergarten

    • Segmenting sentences into words
    • Blending compound words into their word parts


    Mid Pre-Kindergarten

    • Blending syllables into words
    • Segmenting words into syllables


    Late Pre-Kindergarten

    • Blending onset and rhyme for familiar rhyme words
    • Segmenting words at the end of alliteration activities (initial sound)


  • Provide blending and segmenting skill practice immediately after playfully exploring other skills, thus supporting students in making meaningful connections to the skills they are learning.
  • SEEL activities, which are designed to support any classroom context, can be adapted to teach sound blending and segmenting at any level (e.g., segmenting sentences into words, words into syllables, words into onset and rhyme, and words into phonemes).