Segmentation is the flip side of oral blending. Like blending, segmenting or breaking words apart helps develop better readers and writers.
Although blending comes first in the continuum of reading skills, segmenting quickly follows; in the case of syllables the two are often presented simultaneously. Students should begin clapping out syllables at an early stage of literacy development.
After each level of blending is introduced, segmenting should be presented before going on to the next level of blending. You can wait until the students have some comfort with blending before adding segmentation, and you can provide additional assistance with the segmenting, but don’t ignore or skip this skill.
If students struggle with segmenting, have them identify the initial consonant. Next ask if they hear any other sounds....the final or the medial sound. Finally, demonstrate a cross-body tap method to underscore the sounds in the word. For the word dog say /d/ and touch or tap your opposite shoulder with your hand. Next say the middle sound and touch the bend of your arm. Finally, say the final sound and tap the opposite hand, then slide your hand down the opposite arm from top to bottom as you say the word normally. Have the students copy you both in the cross body tapping and in saying the sounds.
Most blending lessons can be turned into segmenting lessons. After a student blends sounds into a word, have the entire group say the sounds for the word together. As students are able, they can practice segmenting three-sound words independently. Some games that feature blending and/or segmenting include Valentine Sounds (Valentine unit), Ocean Sounds (Ocean), Glacier Bay (Arctic Freeze) and Kicking Karate (Chinese New Year Unit).