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Segmenting with confidence (part two): Dealing with those trickier words

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Segmenting with confidence (part two): Dealing with those trickier words

Sound Waves Spelling 16/2/15


In Segmenting with confidence (part one): Tips for teaching segmenting, we shared practical tips on how to teach and practise segmenting with your students. Now it’s time to find out how to deal with trickier words, giving you and your students the confidence to segment any word that comes your way.

Not all words will segment easily. Explain to your students that sometimes there may be more than one way to segment a word and more than one way to assign graphemes (letter/s), but the correct spelling of a word never changes. While the class discusses a tricky word and how it can be segmented, students are engaging with the word and consolidating the correct spelling of that word, which of course is the ultimate aim!

Be aware that some words will have different acceptable pronunciations. The word family could be considered to have 5 phonemes, f/a/m/l/ee, or 6 phonemes, f/a/m/uh/l/ee.

Different pronunciations may also mean that a word could be considered to have different phonemes in the word. The word again could be pronounced with the snail sound or the egg sound. Many other words have more than one acceptable pronunciation. You and your students may be able to think of different ways to pronounce January, different and mystery.

You will find that there are different ways to break some words into their graphemes. Encourage students to do what is most logical; however, at times there will be more than one sensible way to segment a word into its graphemes.

The word should could be sh/oul/d or sh/ou/ld.
The word answer could be a/n/sw/er or a/n/s/wer.

The best way to develop students’ skills with segmenting is to play around with words. Here are a few of our favourites for you to try:

  • Find a Word – Find Focus Words to match clues such as: ‘Find a word that is an animal’ and ‘Find a word that is a compound word’.
  • Grapheme Relay – A relay-style game where students work in teams to write words, adding one grapheme at a time.
  • Show the Sounds – Say a word and then ask students to point out on the Teaching Charts the correct Sound Boxes for each sound in that word.
  • Sound Blends – Point to the Sound Boxes on the Teaching Charts for a particular word, while students blend the sounds together to identify the word.
  • Whose Name? – Ask students questions about their names, e.g. ‘Whose name has 5 sounds?’, ‘Whose name has 5 letters and 3 sounds?’ and ‘Whose name has an umbrella sound?’

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