Phoneme Segmentation

Phoneme segmentation is just one component of Phonemic Awareness. When we talk about Phonemic Awareness, we refer to the ability of manipulating & identifying sounds in a word WITHOUT looking at printed symbols (letters, words).

In order for a child to be a successful reader and decoder, he must be able to manipulate & identify sounds in words. Some of the skills your child needs to master are rhyming words, identifying beginning sounds, ending sounds, middle sounds, deleting the beginning sound in a word (ex: cat without the /c/ is at), replacing a sound for another (ex: pet, change the /p/ for a /b/, What does it say?), and segmenting words into the smallest sound units (ex: cat – /c/  /a/  /t/).

Today I want to share with you a few ideas and resources that work on the specific skill of phoneme segmentation, or breaking a word into individual sounds.  Remember that this is done orally and the child does not look at any printed letters while doing this activity.  We are training their ears and brains to be able to hear each sound in a spoken word.


Ask your child to touch their head for the beginning sound, then their belly for the middle sound and finally their toes for the ending sound.

body segmentationUSING FELT CIRCLES

Cut out some circles made out of felt or cardboard.  Set them on the floor. Your child will step on each circle as he says each sound in the word. Remind him to say the word back once they have segmented it. This reinforces blending skills.



I have made a cute little caterpillar (you can download it at the bottom of the post). This resource provides a very hands-on approach to a very abstract concept. The child can actually touch and move a token for each sound they say. I used poker chips for my caterpillar, but you can use anything your child can move/slide down. You could use quarters, buttons, beans, rocks, candy, cereal, etc, anything they can manipulate. Make sure to remind your child to start on the end closer to the head of the caterpillar (left to right reading direction). As your child says each sound, they can slide the token down to the circle below. After he has said each sound, remind him to say the word back as they slide the finger from left to right on the arrow.


I tell my kids that the caterpillar is hungry. In order for him to be able to eat the apple, he must segment each word correctly. If he is able to say each sound and then blend the word back together, then he can eat the apple.

My kids helped me out by demonstrating how to do these activities while I recorded them. Here they are in action. 🙂


I hope your child can have some fun while practicing a very important skill to help him be a successful reader and writer.

—>Mr. Caterpillar <—

Have a blessed day,

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