*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.
- Tap, clap, march, or count words in sentences as they occur during interactions throughout the day (e.g., “Today is Monday,” “Get your coats,” “We will have crackers for snack”). After providing some practice, see if students can tap out the words in a sentence without support.
- Speak in a staccato voice like a robot as you give simple classroom directions.
- Arrange for students to encounter compound words as you act out or pantomime actions, and have the students guess what you are doing.
- Illustrate how compound words can be broken into smaller words and talk about the meanings of the words separately and together. (“Where do you sleep? You sleep in a bedroom. A bedroom is a room for your bed. Let’s say the words in bedroom apart. Bed, room. Now let’s say the word quickly--bedroom.”)
- Play a game in which the students tell you what you are saying when you segment the words (e.g., book bookcase).
- Make picture/word cards into puzzle pieces. Cut pictures of compound words into two puzzle pieces. Say the two parts as you and the students take apart the word and put it back together again. You can also show a picture of a compound word and rip it into two pieces as you say each word part separately. Provide tape to put the word back together again.
- Make blend and rhyme word cards. But each word card on a two train cars that connect. Say the blend onset as you drive the train car to another cart. When they connect, say the whole word (e.g., “sssssssst- op!”).
- Make blend and rhyme word cards for multiple words (g., c, fl, st, at, ing). Students take one of each card, then as a class try to “figure out” what the word is (e.g., “let’s figure out this word! St..-ing. St… -ing. Sting!”)
- Pretend to go on a trip. Say something like “We are going to take a trip around our new school. We’ll talk about the things we’ll see. Watch out for some big words along the way. Some of these big words can be broken into parts. We can march along our trip to say the parts. Let’s visit the lunchroom. March and say lunch room.” (Other places to visit include classroom, gym-na-si-um, schoolyard, foursquare, li-bra-ry, etc.)
- Say each syllable of words in the lesson, asking students to identify the complete word (e.g., ta + ble; ha + ppy.) Have a puppet say one part of a word and the teacher say the other part, and let the students put the two parts together.
- Blend and segment action words as students act on objects to make and fix things or take them apart using those particular verbs.
- After practice in segmenting compound words into their word parts, have students tap out syllables in multi-syllable words. Some common multi-syllable words include table, scissors, water, ceiling, auto, automobile, pizza, bottle, soda, animal, and sofa.
- Make up nicknames. Show the students a puppet or stuffed animal and say, “Here is my friend Cosmo. He wants a very short name. He wants a little nickname. We could call him Cos (coz).” Say both parts of “Cosmo,” then have the students say just the first part to make a nickname. Other names that can be used include Nicholas, Zachary, Thomas, Winston, and Edward.
- Cut foods into parts. Have paper in the shape of various food items with two- or three-syllable names, such as potato, tomato, soda, carrot, lemon, pepper, and butter. Show the item, say the word, and then pronounce the word slowly-- extending the vowels. While students are watching, cut the picture into parts. If it is a three-syllable word, cut the picture into three parts, etc. For example, cut the potato into three parts (po + ta + to), and have students put the three parts of potato together again.
- The teacher can say a word segmented (divided) into syllables and have the students tell what word they heard. The teacher could say, “This is what we are having for snack today--rai-sins. What are we having?” Or the teacher can give any information or direction in syllabicated words: “These three people can choose a center--Jo-dy, Ben-ja-man, Be-ty.”
- Make a stew. Cut paper food items into two parts to put into a stew or soup. One part will represent the initial consonant or consonant cluster, and the other part will represent the rest of the word (b + ean = bean). Single syllable words should be used: bean, beef, cheese (ch + eese), salt, milk, meat, pork, rice, flour, soup, and lime.
- Pretend to be a magician. Pull parts of words out of your pockets or shoes, one part from each pocket or shoe. You might say, “I’m a magician. I can make the word cat.” Pull out the initial consonant (C) written on one card, and then pull out the word ending (-at) written on another card. Say the word parts separately and then blend them together. You may have the picture on the back of the cards so you can turn the picture over to see what word they make.
- Create a “march line”. As the students say a word, have them march around the word to each syllable (i.e., only take a step when the syllable is stated).
- Have the students talk like robots, where they only speak using monotone, metronome-like speech for each syllable.
- Have the students drum popsicle sticks on their desks to the beat of syllables in words.
- Select one short vowel. Have students select two consonants: one for the beginning, and one for the end. Make a list of possible words. Circle the real words when they are created.
- Take layers off real, pretend, or paper things that can be peeled (e.g., sticky notes, tape, banana). You may say, “We will peel: /p/ + eel, peel.” Show students the letter P and say /p/ and have the P written on the peelings. Have students read the P (say /p/) and then say eel as they peel the fruit or vegetable.
- Make a band out of a strip of paper, saying b for one end and and for the other end, bending the sides together to say and make a band (headband or band for wrist).
- Cut pictures or wildflowers into two parts. Let students tape them together or place them together. As the students put the parts together, say, "You are mending. Mend. M-end." Say the /m/ and /end/ separately until the two parts are together, and then say them together "mend."
- Have the letter f written on four corners of a piece of paper. Tell the students that the f says /f/. “What does this say? What sound does it make? Let’s read it. It says /f/.” Demonstrate saying the /f/ and extending the sound, then saying –old, then saying the word as a whole--fold.
- Have a bag or box full of plastic tops with T written on them. Tell the students they get to take tops (or take turns twisting and twirling tops). Support them in reading the T while you finish the word (–ake or –urn to make take or turn).
- Use a glue stick or screw two parts of something (e.g., top and bottom of a flashlight) together. Say /f/ and /ix/, and then put the sounds together to make fix. You can write the F on one half of the object and –ix on the other.
- Have Ps written on a cloth strip, and pull the cloth strip out of a slit in the plastic lid on a can or container. Have the students say the /p/ sound when they see the p, and then pull the cloth and stop at the point where one p is showing. Say /p/ + ull, as the students put the p and ull together to say “pull.” Then pull the cloth up further to find another /p/. Repeat until the entire strip of cloth is pulled out of the can. If students do some of the pulling, the teacher can hold on to the opposite end of the cloth to offer some resistance.
- Have a picture on one side of a piece of paper and the word rip with a space between r and ip on the other. Show the “r ip” side. Tell the students, “This part says /r/ and this part says /ip/”. Have the students read the /r/ and /ip/ with you. Turn the page over to show a complete picture. Show the students how you can break the parts of the word by saying the word broken into its parts while “ripping” the paper between the r and the -ip. Tape the piece of paper together to demonstrate how you can put the word (and picture) back together again, even when you have taken it apart.
- Provide pieces of paper, one with the letter T on it and the other with the word chunk ape on it. Encourage students to tape the pieces together and say “/t/ + /ape/ says tape. What word do you make when you put the /t/ with the ape?”
- Separate initial consonants from the rest of the word as a follow-up to alliteration activities. Once students have been introduced to a particular beginning sound (e.g., an activity in which they shop for only items that begin with a particular sound), say all the words with the initial consonant extended or separated from the rest of the word.
- List or name all the words that begin with that sound. Have students give the sound while you finish the word, or you give the sound while holding up an object to signal students to finish the word. (This can be done as a shared choral reading where you read one part and the students read another together.)
- Play a guessing game. After an activity about a hog, dog, and frog say, “We played with the words frog, dog, log, and jog. Can you guess what word I’m saying? D + og?”).
- During interactive writing or shared reading, periodically let students read a particular sound when you point to the initial letter in a particular word. For example, in the phrase “Sam’s cookie,” the students read /s/ and you finish the word with /am/. “This is S. It says /s/. You say /s/ when you see S. Together we’ll read the word Sam each time we see it.” (Use in choral reading and predictable, repetitive readers, along with elements in routines and scripts). Reading the first sound in words can be a follow-up to a rhyming activity in which the rhyme or word family words are listed, the students read the initial sounds, and you read the rhyme ending, or you read the initial letters while the students read the rhyme ending.
- 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)
- Segmenting sentences into words
- Blending compound words into their word parts
- Blending syllables into words
- Segmenting words into syllables
- 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).