Step3 of Phonological Awareness is sentence segmentation. This is such a great way help students distinguish between sounds, syllables, and words. I have always done sentence segmentation during small group instruction and whole group writing instruction, but more on that later.
I had a conversation with the amazing Donald Bear years ago about practicing sentence segmentation with our earliest students…even preschoolers. We had a great conversation about nursery rhymes (how they aren’t used enough today) and marching around the room. One march, per word. That’s sentence segmentation.
Sentence Segmentation Echo
Because Phonological Awareness is ORAL, sentence segmentation needs to start at the ORAL level. First, say a sentence. Second, ask students to repeat the sentence. Finally, ask the students to *clap* for each word in the sentence when they repeat the sentence.
The reason I put asterisks on each side of the word “clap,” is to make sure you know there so many ideas for this demonstration. They can clap, snap, tap, stomp, jump, hop, step, high 5 a neighbor, count on their fingers…do whatever you can imagine!
Once students are successfully *clapping* for each word, you can move on to have them identify, count, and color. Students who are proficient in matching one-to-one and know the spaces between the words mark the beginning and ending of a word, can identify, count, and color even if they can’t read the sentence.
Some other Sentence Segmentation Activities
1. Clip-its: Students can count the words and clip the clothespin on the correct number.
2. Build a Sentence: Students are given word cards to build a sentence. Students can be given the words “the, dog, is, in, the, big, house.” They can be asked to create several different sentences using these cards. The teacher should say the sentence. Ask the students to repeat and count the words in the sentence and then, make the sentence. Of course, using all the cards, the student makes “The dog is in the big house.” BUT, they can also make “The dog is big.”
“The house is big.”
“The dog is in the house.”
“The big dog is in the house.”
3. Sentence Segmentation Games: Students will use an empty game board and a marker. They choose a card with a sentence. The student counts the words in the sentence and moves their marker that many spaces. The turns alternate until someone gets to the finish.
4. Finally, using Familiar Text to Count and Graph: Nursery Rhymes are the perfect pairing for this.
Add Sentence Segmentation to Writing
Those of you who know me well, know I love writing and know sentence segmentation is part of my writing routines. When teaching writing, it’s important for early writers to know exactly what they are writing and when they are done. This is achieved through sentence segmentation. We say the sentence, count the words and write one word at a time. After each word is written, we recount and determine the next move.
Sentence Segmentation can make all the difference for students understanding the differences in letters, syllables and words.
Here’s a video of set!
If you would like to check out the Sentence Segmentation set, click the link or the image.