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Phoneme Segmentation! Make and Take Freebie and Book Talk Tuesday

Segmenting words is an important skill that we work on throughout the year.
Kids need a variety of hands on ways to work on this skill in order to make it more concrete.

We use a variety of manipulatives to work on phoneme segmentation.
Building words with unifix cubes as we say each sound,  stretching the words with a slinky,
sliding a pony bead for each sound and using our stretchy the word stretcher (as seen above).
To make the word stretchers you need the template (below) a pipe cleaner and four Perler Biggie beads.  These Biggie Beads are on sale at Amazon (the link is below) and there are enough beads to make 300 of these!  So grab your teammates and share a bucket of beads.  :)

To use these you would have your students start with all of the beads by the tail end of the snake.
Then say the word, cat and ask how many sounds do you hear?
So how many beads do we need to push?
Let's push a bead as we say each sound.
/c/  /a/  /t/   
Then as you blend the word together and say, cat you push all the beads back to the right.
I use these in the beginning of the year to develop phonemic awareness and then I use them throughout the year for those little ones who have a difficult time stretching words in their head and writing the letters that represent the sounds.  This gives them a concrete model for stretching words because I can say,  which sound did you say when you pushed the first bead?
Write it on your paper.

They also love working with the Stretchy the Word Snake mat.
To use this mat you will need three cars (or three chips) so that they can push a car up each time they say a sound.  Make sure you have them blend the word together at the end.
The video below shows another way to use the mat.
In the video, Madison is using a magnetic wand and magnetic chips.
They LOVE this one!


another great strategy that I learned when I used Fundations was finger tapping where they touch their fingers to their thumb for each sound.  For example, cat would be pointer finger to thumb for /c/ middle finger to thumb for /a/ and ring finger to thumb for /t/.
They could also tap out the word on a table.
I gave them little plastic Dollar Tree hammers and they could pound out the word on the table.

Click on the picture below to download the Stretchy the Snake word mats.

My Book Talk Tuesday selection this week is a Professional Development book that is so helpful when we have those struggling readers and writers.  

When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works is a comprehensive resource on struggling readers. It's filled with specific teaching ideas for helping children in kindergarten through Grade 3 who are having difficulty in reading and writing.
We want these young students to think and behave like effective readers who not only solve words skillfully but comprehend deeply and read fluently. To achieve our goal, we need to place them in situations in which they can succeed and then provide powerful teaching. Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas offer numerous examples and descriptions of instruction that can help initially struggling readers become strategic readers. When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works focuses on small-group intervention and individual interactions during reading and writing. Pinnell and Fountas also illustrate how to closely observe readers to make the best possible teaching decisions for them as well as how to support struggling readers in whole-class settings.


  1. As always, great ideas. Have you ever tried finger tapping-another great strategy. Smiles and stop by anytime.

    1. Thanks for reminding me about that! I added it to my post. :)

  2. Thanks for the adorable freebie my students LOVE those magnetic wands!
    I had a PD using When Readers Struggle - such a terrific resource. Thanks for the link-up! Jen

  3. Still love your little chenille stem/bead segmenting "thingys"! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing such great ideas. I love Stretchy the word stretcher-I am looking forward to making and using him!

  5. I love Book Talk Tuesdays! Thanks for the link up. I also really love Fountas and Pinnell resources so will definitely be looking into your recommendation.

  6. What a great post! You make learning so engaging for little ones. I want those magnetic wands. How fun!



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