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Phoneme segmenting accuracy

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Activity Type: Build Accuracy
Activity Form: Standard
Grade: K, 1
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 10 minutes
Materials: -
Goal: Given a spoken word, the student can segment it into separate phonemes ( "mat" -> /m/ + /a/ + /t/ )

  • Words beginning with continuous sounds: run, me, fit, mom, add, fan, wet, lip, nut, van
  • Words beginning with stop sounds: can, bag, hot, cut, bit, den, tap, got, him, ten

What to do

  1. I’m going to pretend to be an alien from planet Paz. On Paz, people speak in a strange way—like we speak, but much more slowly. So instead of saying the word Sam, they say, Sssaaammm, and they touch their arm like this when they talk. Touch your shoulder as you make the first sound; your elbow as you make the second; and your hand as you make the third. Repeat, Sssaaammm. Hold each letter sound for about a second and don't pause between sounds.
  2. Now I’ll say the word and you say it like they do on Paz. Ready? Select a word (e.g., those in the list of items above) and say it. (Students segment the word and touch their arm once for each sound.) Good.
  3. Continue with the other words. When selecting words, make sure you vary the beginning, middle, and end sounds—if you choose Sam, mad, and am, students may begin to think that all blended words have /a/ in the middle.
  4. Once students have mastered segmenting words that begin with continuous sounds, introduce words beginning with stop sounds. When you segment these words, pause only very briefly on the stop sound, just long enough to touch your shoulder. It may help to elongate the vowel following the stop sound: so caaaaannn, not cuhaaannn or c-(pause)aaannn.
  5. Later, introduce words with blends (such as trap), and with more sounds (such as pencil, glass). You may need to pay extra attention to blends for students to master them. You can either touch your arm four times for four-sound words, or fade touching your arm once students no longer need it to help them separate sounds.
  6. For students who get a sound wrong, or who pause between sounds, or don’t do anything at all, model the correct answer and ask them to try on their own. Make a note in an Activity Log for students who continue to have difficulties.

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