Friday, 29 May 2020

Segmenting Phonemes

What are phonemes?

The smallest unit of sound.
Children need to have good phonemic awareness skills are can separate spoken words into their individual sounds.
Like bag is /b/ /a/ /g/
shoe is /sh/ /ew/

  • Listen and Say
You say, “Listen to this word: ‘mat’. Say the word with me. Now you say the word. The first sound in ‘mat’ is /m/. Say the first sound in ‘mat’ with me. Now you say the first sound in ‘mat’. The next sound in ‘mat’ is /a/. Say the next sound in ‘mat’ with me. Now you say the next sound in ‘mat’. The last sound in ‘mat’ is /t/. Say the last sound in ‘mat with me. Now you say the last sound in ‘mat’. You can use items to represent the sounds as a visual cue for your child.

Reithaug, D. (2002) Orchestrating success in reading, Stirling Head Enterprises, p. 137.
Rubber Band Stretch

  • Count the sounds
Choose a word and say it to your child. Start with two-phoneme words. Have your child hold up fingers to show the number of sounds he/she hears (e.g., bee, /b/ /e/, 2 fingers).

Edmonton Public Schools (2008) Hands-on literacy, p. 45.

  • Finger Tapping

On the opposite hand to the one used for writing (as this technique can also be used to spell words), teach your child to touch the thumb to the fingers with the palm facing the child (first pointer, then tall man, next ring finger, finally pinky). 

If there are more than four sounds, the other hand can carry on. This is used to count the number of phonemes in a word.

Wilson, B. (2004) Wilson reading system, Wilson Language Training Corp.

  • A Tasty Game
Spread some peanut butter on to several celery sticks. Ask your child to say the sounds in a 2 or 3 sound word (e.g., am, bed, it). As your child says the individual sounds, he/she is to place a raisin into the peanut butter. After several words, enjoy the snack!


Wednesday, 27 May 2020


What is a phoneme? Its the smallest parts of spoken language that combine to form words. 

Car has 2 phoneme (kkk- arrrr), no has 2 (nnn-oooo).
Remember were talking sounds NOT LETTERS!

Phoneme Detection (Isolation) – the ability to hear the distinct individual sounds within spoken words.

• The ability to isolate phonemes is critical to reading and spelling words.
• Start with identifying the first sound in spoken words, then progress to ending sounds, and finally work on the middle sounds.

**Be very careful not to add a vowel sound, such as /uh/ after an individual phoneme!!!

Some Activities:

  • Guess My Word

Look around the room (or car) and choose an object, like a lamp. Say, “I see something that starts with the sound /l/. (Say the sound/l-l-l-l/, not the letter name ‘el’.) What is it? (You may have to give hints like, “It helps us see at night.”). After you do a few, see if your child can think of something for you to guess. Later play it with ending sounds and finally, middle sounds.

Robertson, C., Salter, W. (1998) Take home phonological awareness. LinguiSystems, Inc., p. 72 (out of print)

  • Shopping
Give your child a grocery bag and ask him/her to find small items around your home that start with the sound /_ /. When your child brings you the items, take them out of the bag and say the name of each, emphasizing the first sound. If your child brings something that doesn’t start with /_ /, say the name and ask your child to tell you what its first sound really is. Later play it with ending sounds and finally, middle sounds.
Robertson, C., Salter, W. (1998) Take home phonological awareness. LinguiSystems, Inc., p. 73 (out of print)

  • Middle Macaroni
Choose a word with three sounds (e.g., kiss, peek, duck, top, moon, etc.). Place three pieces of macaroni in front of your child and say the individual sounds while pointing to the macaroni in the left to the right direction (your child's point of view). Then point to the middle piece of macaroni and ask, “What is this sound?” Your child should respond with the sound, not the letter name.
  • Train
Draw three connecting boxes: An engine, a passenger car, and a caboose.

Explain that a word has a beginning, middle, and ending sounds, just like a train. Slowly articulate a consonant-vowel-consonant word (e.g., /p/…/i/…/g/) and point to the box corresponding to the position of each sound in the word. Repeat the word and have your child identify where he/she hears the different sounds (e.g., “Where do you hear the /g/ in ‘pig’?)
Reithaug, D. (2002) Orchestrating success in reading, Stirling Head Enterprises, p. 149.

  • Mirror/Mirror
To identify and demonstrate the positioning of the mouth, lips, and teeth with isolated sounds, you say a word, isolating the target sound. With a mirror, have your child practice positioning his/ her mouth to say the sound you isolated. Ask, “How do you position your mouth when you say the sound /_ / (first, ending, middle) in the word ?” “Describe the position of your mouth for that sound.” Also, you could have your child place his/her hands under his/her chin while looking in a mirror to feel and see the target sound. Your child can use this technique, as well, to feel and see differences between two similar sounds (e.g., /t/ --/d/; short /e/-- short /i/).
Ellery, V. (2009) Creating strategic readers, International Reading Association, p. 42.


Here are some activities from my TPT store!

 Tap The Sounds- Segmenting Phonemes

Monday, 18 May 2020

Compound Words

Compound Words – two words join to form a new word that has its own meaning

• To develop the concept of word parts, help your child hear the parts (chunks, syllables) in compound words by clapping the two words while saying them (e.g., fireplace – fire place).

• Any objects (small toys, blocks, pieces of food) can be used to represent the word parts as your child says the parts.

• You say the parts with about a 1-second pause between the word parts and ask your child to guess the compound word (snow flake = snowflake).

• Play the “Say It, Say It Again Game” with your child (e.g., “Say raindrop.” (Pause for response.) “Say it again, but don’t say drop.”*

• If your child has difficulty with the previous activity, play the “Dog in the Doghouse” game. Use two coins, beans, or other small objects and a cup. Turn the cup upside down and pretend it’s the doghouse. Say a compound word, placing a small object in front of you as you say each smaller word, left to right. (Sit next to your child so “left” and “right” are the same for both of you.) Then, cover one object with the cup and ask, “What is in the doghouse?” For example, as you say the word rainbow, place a bean in front of you for rain and another bean for bow. Cover the bean to the left with the cup. Ask, “What is in the doghouse? Your child should say, “rain.”*
*Robertson, C., Salter, W. (1998) Take Home Phonological Awareness. LinguiSystems, Inc., pp. 39, 41 (out of print)





Friday, 15 May 2020


A syllable is a word part that contains a vowel sound.

• Syllable-level activities are slightly more difficult than compound words activities. These oral activities are the building blocks for study in sounds and letters. These activities will help your child to manipulate syllables in words and develop an understanding of word structure.

• Have your child place the objects for the syllables in each word. Be sure your child places them left to right. Start with two-syllable words and gradually increase to 3 or 4 syllable words.
• Using coins, beans, or small objects, say each word one syllable at a time as you place an object in front of you for each syllable. Then point to one object and ask, “What’s this syllable?” Point to another object and ask the same question.

• Count on fingers the number of syllables in the names of people in your family and friends. Count the syllables in a particular category like clothing, transportation, furniture, toys, foods, insects, or sports.

• When driving, say words in syllables and have your child blend them together to say a word. Or have your child say a word in syllables and you say the complete word.

Robertson, C., Salter, W. (1998) Take Home Phonological Awareness. LinguiSystems, Inc., pp.62, 64. (out of print)



Here is a syllable game from my TPT store

How Many Muffins? Syllable game

How Many Muffins? Syllable game

Monday, 11 May 2020

Segmenting Sentences

Segmenting sentences into separate spoken words

• Starting with a two-word (spoken)  sentence (e.g., She jumps.), explain that this sentence has two parts (i.e., two words).

• Count the words in oral sentences- starting with short sentences  (2/3 words) to longer sentences  (5 words). Try not to use very long sentences for young students. Use objects (like blocks, bingo chips, cheerios) to represent each word. 

• Use only one-syllable words at first and then progress to multi-syllable words.
• Explain that each word has a meaning, even the function words like ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘in’, ‘of’, ‘on’, ‘for’, etc.
• Clap once for each word as you and your child sing a favourite song or recite a nursery rhyme. If your child claps more than once for a word or fails to clap for a word, repeat the line together so that he/she can follow your lead.

Robertson, C., Salter, W. (1998) Take Home Phonological Awareness. LinguiSystems, Inc., p. 32 (out of print)


 Here is an app you might want to try!