In this blog post: These 6 hands-on phonological and phonemic awareness activities will engage your students in practicing segmenting and blending words.
If you are a kindergarten teacher or parent, you probably know how important a strong foundation in phonemic awareness is. It’s literally the foundation for success in reading and writing!
One of the hardest phonemic awareness skills for our students to master is segmenting and blending words. Even once students master segmenting and blending words with 2 or 3 sounds, they may struggle with longer words.
So what’s the solution?
Practice and repetition. That doesn’t have to mean boring, though. These fun phonemic awareness activities will keep your students engaged in segmenting and blending words all year long!
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What Is Segmenting and Blending Words?
To be able to decode words while reading, students need to be able to take words apart and then put them back together. Kind of like word surgeons! The faster students get at segmenting and blending words, the faster they will be able to decode words while reading.
Segmenting words means that students are taking the words apart and listening for the individual sounds. They should say the word slowly, sound by sound. For example, if the word is cat, the student will say c-a-t.
Blending words means that students are taking those individual sounds and blending them back together to make the word. For example, if I say c-a-t, the student can tell me that the word is “cat.”
This is often harder that segmenting words, because students have to focus on putting the sounds together and coming up with what the word is simultaneously.
These engaging phonemic awareness activities will help your students practice both of these important skills.
Segmenting and Blending with Beads
You can keep the pipe cleaner straight or bend it into a circle that students can wear as a bracelet.
Students will push the beads one-by-one to the left as they say each sound. Then, they will push all the beads at once back to the right as they blend the word together.
I like this activity because you can put more or less beads on the pipe cleaner depending on how many sounds students are working with.
You can also easily send this home to families to practice with!
Using Cubes to Blend
Connecting cubes are one of my favorite phonemic awareness tools because students can physically see the pieces (sounds) being taken apart and being put together.
Give each student the number of cubes the will need. They will take the cubes apart as they say each sound.
You can have students blend two different ways. The first is to blend all the sounds at once into the word. This is what we usually think of with blending.
However, connecting cubes are perfect for practicing pyramid blending.
For pyramid blending, students will practice blending smaller chunks before they blend the whole word.
With the word frog, they will connect two cubes as they blend f-r fr. Then, they will blend they chunk with the next sound while connecting one more cube – fr-o fro. Finally, they will blend that larger chunk with the last sound as they add the last cube – fro-g frog.
Blending with Toy Cars
Need a quick engagement booster? Add a toy car! Instant engagement.
With these segmenting and blending cards, students would usually tap each dot as they say the sounds. Then, they would trace the arrow as they blend the word back together.
Instead of having students blend with their finger, have them drive the car past as they blend the word.
Honestly, is there anything playdough can’t be used for? We love smashing playdough to practice segmenting words!
You will want to tell students how many balls of playdough to make. Then, they will use their fist to smash each playdough ball as they say the sounds.
We usually use this activity when we are practicing just segmenting words, but if you want to use it as a blending activity, you can have students roll the balls together as they blend the word.
Pushing Up Sounds
Phonemic awareness is working with sounds, so we don’t use letters at all. However, you can use these elokin boxes during your phonics lessons too. Students can practice stretching out the words and writing the letters in the sound boxes.
This phonemic awareness activity is similar to the elokin boxes. It’s from Little Readers Kindergarten.
I like these cards because students have a set place to put their counters and then they can see how they are supposed to push up the sounds.
Pom Pom Blending
I love using Pom-Poms to practice blending words because they are so light and easy to scoop.
Students will put out Pom-poms as they segment the word. Then, they can scoop them up quickly as they blend the word.
So simple but so fun!
I hope your students love these phonemic awareness activities to practice segmenting and blending words. Are you looking for a year of phonemic awareness lesson plans ready to go? Little Readers Kindergarten has daily phonemic awareness lesson plans your students will love!
You may also like these digital phonemic awareness Boom Cards. They are self-checking and perfect for literacy centers.
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