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phoneme segmentation


New Member
Hi, I'm new to K (coming from 2nd). quick question:

I'll try to explain this the best I can haha
When you're teaching phoneme segmentation for a word like tree

Are there three different sounds like t-r-ee,

or do you blend the t and r together into 2 sounds? like tr-ee

When do you make that cross-over to segmenting using blends?

Sorry, I know that it's confusing! Hopefully someone can help me make sense of it! <!--eyebrow-->


Full Member
A phoneme is a sound, so if kids are segmenting sounds, as in writing, we want them to hear each distinct sound. t-r-ee, b-ea-ch

When you break tree like this, tr-ee, you are using onset and rime. Kids need to understand that some times two or three letters blend together and sometimes 2 letters make one sound.

As I heard Fountas and Pinnel do not believe that kids should be taught to "sound out" words until mid first grade or level G, we use onset and rime to teach decoding in Kinder. Check the vowel, say the chunk, or "rime", add the beginning letter or letters. Or say the first sound, I'll give you the rime and you tell me the word.

Hope that helps


Senior Member
Great questions! The 'when' to move on depends on how you're teaching. If it's individual or small group, you could test the kids and make sure they are successful in 4/5 trials. If you are doing it whole group as part of a routine, move on when you feel like most of the class has it and remediate in a small group or individually with kids that aren't participating successfully.

Very first thing to teach is very obvious word parts with compound words:

At the beginning when you're teaching kids how to orally segment and blend, you segment into onset-rime (no, that's not a typo for rhyme). The onset is the first sound or blend, and the rime is the rest of the word. For the kids, you can call it "the first part and the last part" or "the beginning part and the end part." Make sure you use 'part' not 'sound' because there are usually more than one sound. For instance:


Then you add in onsets with beginning blends:


Then you start calling it 'beginning sound' and teaching them to chant it like this helps them remember the first sound instead of just saying the last sound on their tongue:
/p/ /p/ pig
/t/ /t/ top
/s/ /s/ Sarah
/m/ /m/ Michael

And ending sound (use words that end in l, m, n, f, s to make it easier to draw out that last sound and hear it):
doG (make sure your saying the /g/ without saying /guh/ or they will think there is a u on the end)

Once they have those divisions, you can move into hearing sounds in CVC words:

Always start a new 'level' by giving the kids the parts and having them blend:
Teacher: I'll say the parts, you say the word! Cake..........pop!
Students: Cakepop!

Before you ask them to segment:
Teacher: I'll say the word, you say the parts! Cakepop!
Students: Cake.....pop!

Hope that is clear and helpful!


Senior Member
LastMinute- that was a fantastic explanation!

It's ironic because I'm going over our new language arts curriculum this summer (Wonders) and the phonemic awareness is so... poorly sequenced is how I'll put it. They bounce back and forth and go from one thing to the next. I'm trying to decide if I'll go with the group and follow it as is this first year, or go with my gut and do the phonemic awareness activities that I know are successful. (I'm pretty sure I know which will win ;))


Senior Member
I do it differently

I start breakng words down t/r/ee into sounds, not with onset and rime. We start the first week or so talking about how individual sounds make up words and breaking words I to their individual sounds. This is mainly because our testing we do tests on this skill, so it is important for them to have a strong grasp of it as soon as possible to have correct assessing done.


Senior Member
kteacher10 - that's one of the books I use and I love it. We have one other that we kind of bounce back and forth between. But the sequence and activities in it are great! That's why I'm considering sticking with her rather than the curriculum...