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Segmenting with confidence (part one): Tips for teaching segmenting

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Segmenting with confidence (part one): Tips for teaching segmenting

Sound Waves Spelling 17/2/15


Segmenting words by counting the number of phonemes (sounds) in a word is an essential skill for developing competency in spelling.

Good spellers naturally segment unfamiliar words into phonemes in order to spell them. With Sound Waves Spelling we teach students to spell unfamiliar words by asking them to segment words into phonemes and then assign a sensible grapheme (letter or letter combination) to each phoneme.

Segmenting words into phonemes

Firstly, make sure that students are familiar with all of the 43 phonemes of Australian English.

The best way to start doing this is to look at the Sound Waves Spelling Teaching Charts and Student Charts. Singing the Sound Waves Spelling Chants and Actions song also introduces students to all of the phonemes as they bop along to the beat.

If your students are new to the concept of segmenting words into phonemes you can help them by teaching them to follow these simple steps.

To segment a word into its phonemes:

  1. Say the word to be segmented out loud, slowly.
  2. Segment the word into its individual phonemes by repeating the word but stretching out each phoneme in the word, e.g. mousem/ou/se.

Students may like to hold up a finger for each phoneme they hear when counting the number of phonemes in the word.

Segmenting words into phonemes and graphemes

This helps students to reinforce the spelling of words as they consider the graphemes that represent each phoneme in the word.

To segment a word into its phonemes and graphemes:

  1. Ask students to say the word slowly, then say it again, stretching out each phoneme.
  2. Have students identify how many phonemes are in the word.
  3. For each phoneme, have students write the grapheme (letter or letters) that represents it.

When segmenting words into phonemes and graphemes you can either print out a segmenting template and have students write in the relevant boxes, or you can use the Segmenting Tool from Sound Waves Online.

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