The phonemic awareness skills of segmenting and blending are the most critical because they are pre-skills for reading words. It is important to note that phonemic awareness training has the strongest effect on word reading skills when combined with teaching children about the letters, or graphemes, which represent phonemes.
Segmenting is where the child can confidently break a spoken word into its constituent sounds or phonemes, for example, when given the spoken word ‘wed’ the child can correctly break it apart as w-e-d. When given the word ‘cough’, they can break it apart as k-o-f.
Conversely, blending is where the child is given a series of spoken sounds or phonemes and can correctly put them together, for example, when given the sounds b-r-oo-m they successfully blend the sounds together to say, “broom”.
Using counters with or without Elkonin boxes can help with blending and segmenting. Finger spelling involves the teacher and students holding up a closed fist and raising a finger for each phoneme as they sound out the word together. Children can see how many phonemes are in the word by looking at their hand. After the teacher has modeled this technique, students can try it on their own.
Teacher models segmenting throughout the daily routine
Teacher demonstrates oral segmenting and blending sounds to beginning learners
See it, say it, move it activity
Whole class instruction: segmenting & blending with corresponding graphemes.
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