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K-2 Skills Block: Phonemic Blending and Segmentation

This video shows 1st graders using Phonemic Blending and Segmentation, an instructional practice in the K-2 Reading Foundations Skills Block that helps them understand letter-sound combinations and how that helps them read and spell words. Students first tap out the sounds in a word on their fingers, then blend the sounds together. Next, they review what each sound looks and feels like in the mouth (“articulatory gestures”). Finally, they analyze the oral and auditory connections in the word they began with. This instructional practice is used in both Kindergarten and 1st grade.


- [Narrator] At Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago, Illinois, Susan Preston’s first graders are using phonemic blending and segmentation to understand letter sound combinations, and how that helps them read and spell words. The ability to segment words into sounds is one of the most contributors in helping children learn to read words during kindergarten and first grade.

- So we’re gonna do a little bit of practice, we’re gonna tap it out on our fingers. Remember how we tap it out, so I put my three fingers up here, I’m gonna use my thumb to tap it out. My turn first. Nn-uu-tt, and then I’m gonna blend it together by running my thumb underneath. Nut. Alright friends, we’re gonna try it with the word rug. My turn first. Rr-uu-gg, rug. Your turn.

- [Class]rr-uu-gg, rug.

- Nice job. Remember, if you’re struggling with doing that with your fingers, you can always tap it out with the other thumb, right? So you could always go rr-uh-gg, rug, okay?

- [Narrator] After tapping it out, students are asked to notice how a phoneme feels in their mouths.

- When we make that middle sound, the uh-uh-uh, looking at our gestures poster, which letter makes that uh-uh-uh sound? Arianna?

- [Arianna] U.

- U, very good. I’m gonna switch it up, I want us to try it with that middle a sound. Yeah, let’s look at our mouths when we make that sound. A-a-a-a-a Who notices a difference between how you make the middle u sound and the middle a sound?

- When you’re doing it, your tongue moves and when you do it with the other a sound, your tongue is only on your bottom teeth. Okay, so the tongue’s a little bit lower down here, right? And it’s a little bit, for the a sound, it’s higher up and kind of by the bottom teeth. Milla, how did my mouth change? When you say uh-uh-uh, you close your mouth little bit and that a you can see your mouth like a-a-a.

- Yeah, so in the a sound, your mouth is open a little bit wider, and the u sound your mouth is closed a little bit. So let’s change it up a little bit, I wanna try some middle a sounds. Here we go. We’re gonna start with the word mat. mm-aa-tt, mat. Your turn.

- [Class]mm-aa-tt, mat.

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