What is Segmenting?

Segmenting is breaking a word into separate sounds. Sound segmenting is the ability to break individual sounds from words in sequence. For example, the learner breaks the sounds /m/, /o/, /m/ of the word mom, in order to write it down.


This process plays an important role while the learner is learning to read. In the previous post, the learner has learned to blend the sounds in order to make a word which helps in reading. In this strategy, the focus is to equip the child to write. So, using the beginning, middle and end sound technique, a child breaks a word and then writes it. After this lesson, the learners will be able to identify the letter sounds and symbol to write it.

How do we start about?

We always start with simple C-V-C words i.e. Consonant- Vowel- Consonant words.
To begin with, let us take up simpler C-V-C words i.e. Consonant –Vowel-Consonant sounds.

Start by uttering the word, for example, /dog/, to the class. Ask the learners to say the word. “What sound can you hear at the beginning of the word?” Emphasize the first sound. “Can anyone remember how to write this sound?” You write it on the board. Then move on to the middle sound, which is a vowel sound. “Can you hear the sound in the middle of the word? Emphasize the middle sound as you say the word. “Can anyone write it’s symbol?” Then move to the final sound in the word. “Can you hear the final sound of the word?” And emphasize the last sound as you say the word. “Can anyone write it’s symbol?” Once the /d/ /o/ /g/ are written on the board, blend the word with the class to check it’s correct.

  • Once the learners know their letter sounds and can segment /dog/, they should be able to work out hog, fog, jog and log, as these are rhyming words with only the initial sound changed. 
  • When these first five to six sounds have been taught and practiced in the class, the teacher can teach the learners to read and write simple CVC words. The learners need to be able to segment and blend words in order to read and write independently.

Strategies that can be used

Singing songs to tunes provided by the teacher, provides welcoming atmosphere and motivates young learners to learn the skills. It energizes the lagging attention levels and calms the students. Singing not only provides positive learning environment, but also boosts memory power.

  • Sound It Out: Write the song “Sound It Out!” on a chart paper. Sing the song to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” At the end of the song, say a word, for example /sat/ and see if the learners are able to sound out every sound in the word to orally segment. The song is as follows:

Sound It Out!
If you have a new word, sound it out!
If you have a new word, sound it out!
If you have a new word,
Then slowly say that word.
If you have a new word, sound it out!

  • Bead Slide

A bead slide is a helpful tool when teaching the skill of segmentation.

Image Courtesy:


  • Squaring up: this is a slightly difficult activity because the symbols have not been written on the placards. The teachers/parents will need a card paper, pictures of the words used and square blocks. You can use coins or chips or tiles or wooden blocks or bottle caps.

How to play Squaring up game?

The learners individually or in a small group are given a placard. They have to identify the object and segment the word into its sounds. As the learner utters a sound, he/she should move a block into the square. In this example, /t/ move a tile, /i/, move a tile, /g/ move a tile, /r/ move a tile.


Online games

  • Word World: Dog’s Letter Pit:
    This link is to a game called Word World: Dog’s Letter Pit by PBS KIDS Island preview games. The graphics of this game are interesting and with a moving animal, it becomes more interesting. The dog jumbles all the words and asks what letters make the word. For example, the word is- bed. The question raised is, “What letter makes the /b/ sound?” the learner is supposed to pick the letter b and place it in the blanks.


For teachers’ reference:

For learners’ reference:



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