Teaching students to syllabicate words is the second step in their phonological awareness development. It is important that we teach our students to hear chunks (syllables) in words because they have to able to master that skill before they can begin to hear individual sounds. We need to make sure that our students can hear syllables in words- this will provide students with the necessary foundation to be able to sound out words when reading and writing.
The steps in phonological awareness, in order, are:
word recognition (sentences)
"baggie packets" with either all materials, or just those for syllables
Click here to see how to make the packets!
This introduction should be done once in small groups.
I might repeat this introduction one or two times throughout the year if the students aren't seeming to remember the rules.
*Syllables aren't about clapping; that's not concrete enough! Moving manipulatives is a much more brain-connected concept for students and it will help make their skills in segmenting and blending syllables much more stable!
"Syllables are the chunks we can hear in words. Words are made up of different parts, and those parts are what we call syllables. Can you say syllables?"
(Students will say "Syllables.")
"Right! The chunks in words are called syllables! Today, I am going to work with you to hear how to break apart and put together syllables."
You need one baggie to model using the manipulatives for your students.
Talk about the color that represents syllables. Continue to reinforce that syllables are the chunks you hear in words. When you use your paper pieces, make sure they are facing the students so they can see what it will look like right in front of them.
Begin with compound words.
"Watch how I break apart and put together a word. My word is: bathroom."
As you say bathroom, you will run your finger under both squares as they are touching. They are touching to show they are one word. "Bathroom."
"Now, listen to me segment and break this word apart: bath... room."
Pull one square apart at a time, as you say "bath"... and "room."
"Now I will segment and touch each part of the word." (Touch each square as you say each part.)
"Bath".......... and "room."
"Now, I will blend the word back together." (Move the two squares so they are touching again.)
"We will go to the bathroom to wash our hands."
I take out my baggies and pass one to each student. Then, I will go through the same process, listed above, with my students. At this point, I need to continue to model as they do it- they will most likely have to watch and follow me for the first few words.
I continue to use compound words throughout the lesson and do one other word at the end of this lesson; compound words are easier for them to hear in the initial lesson.
"We are going to break apart and put together a word. Our word is: lunchbox."
Have them put their squares together and connected. "Let's say our word: lunchbox. We need to run our finger under the word as we say it.... Lunchbox."
"Now, let's move one square for each part we break apart. Let's segment the word."
"Say lunch." As they say lunch, show them to move their left square.
"Now, say box." As they say box, show them to move their right square.
"Touch lunch...... Touch box."
"Now, we have segmented lunch...... and box. Let's stick them back together and blend them into one word."
Students should move their squares back together where they are touching.
"Use your finger as we say the whole word.... Lunchbox." (Make sure students track under the whole word- if they don't show them how and do that last part again.)
"I can carry a lunchbox to school."
Repeat with sandbox
Let them practice with bedroom.
Lastly, let them practice with a two part (non-compound) word: blanket.
Ask students who can answer to take apart the word and see how it changes. For example, I would ask my on-level or especially my beyond-level groups... "Bedroom- if I take away the bed, what do I have?"
See how the groups do with blanket (the non-compound word). If they were able to do this well, move on and work on many different words. If the groups were unable to syllabicate blanket (or even bedroom) very well, without help, repeat this same lesson next time...
If you repeat the lesson again to re-teach, you can skip the introductory part and just jump into it.
Here, you can see my students working on syllable segmenting on day 2 of small groups.
This practice can be done in small or whole group and can be practices as many times per week, throughout the year, as necessary. However, once students can segment and blend phonemes, this practice should be done minimally (at this point, they will already be able to hear individual sounds, but it is still helpful to have them listen to chunks for spelling purposes).
The routine is as follows:
The teacher says the word.
The students say the word.
"Now we will break apart and put together a word. Our word is: ________."
Students will run their finger under both squares as they are touching.
They are touching to show they are one word. Students will say the word.
"Now, we will segment and break this word apart."
Students will pull one square apart at a time, as you say each part of the word.
"Now, we will say and touch each part of the word."
Students will touch one square and say that word part, then move to the next and do the same.
"Now, we will blend the word back together."
Students will say the whole word.
Have a student use the word in a sentence.
Syllable segmenting is generally let go of as soon as students master phoneme segmenting; however, if students are having a touch time with individual phonemes, they will need more instruction with syllables. Students will have to be able to hear larger chunks before they will ever be able to hear individual sounds.
Also, if students are missing pieces of words when writing, more instruction with syllable segmenting is helpful. For example, if a student write swng for swinging, it is because they don't hear all of the sounds. I would have the student sound out /swing//ing/ to be able to spell one chunk at a time- this will ensure more correct spelling.
Also attached are some fun syllable practice activities. I really like to have students practice syllabicating words in centers at the beginning of the year to build their stamina for chunking words.