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5 Fun Segmenting and Blending Activities For Primary Students

Word work time is one of my favorite teaching blocks in the primary classroom. It’s a chance to dive into key reading skills such as segmenting and blending and allows us to see how students are progressing. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun too! Come along to see 5 of my favorite segmenting and blending activities to use during word work time!

This image says "5 Fun Ways to Practice Segmenting and Blending During Word Work Time" and includes a photo of various word work activities including stamp the word, pocket chart sorts and picture cards.

What is Word Work Time?

As a long-time first grade teacher, I’ve held my fair share of word work sessions in the classroom. This special time block is when I take a deep dive into essential reading skills with my students. During this time you’ll target things like learning letter sounds, spelling, blending sounds, phoneme segmenting, and sound manipulation. Students will work with letters and sounds, identify different spelling patterns, strengthen their reading skills, and explore the meaning of new words. This time is key to becoming strong readers and writers! It will also help your students see why they need to learn phonics skills to read independently.

This image shows an example of an activity that can be used during word work time to practice segmenting and blending. Students will break each word into its sounds and then sort them based on the middle vowel sound.

Teachers tend to incorporate word work time in several ways. Some teachers like to use these activities exclusively in small groups, while others prefer a group teaching format. I’m from the camp of using both! This is because I have noticed more lightbulbs going off when I teach in multiple formats. We might start with a whole group intro, break off into small groups, and then circle back around to a group review later in the week. The key is to have dedicated word work time in your schedule regularly. This time block is where rubber meets the road with reading skills and students will get to apply everything they’re learning in class!

Blending and Segmenting Activities for Word Work Time

Blending and segmenting are both key phonological awareness skills that help our students become strong readers. They’re among my favorite skills to practice during word work time since they’re so impactful to how students learn to read!

Segmenting refers to the ability to break apart a word into phonemes. Blending refers to joining one or more phonemes together to read a word. While these skills are opposites, they work together! Oftentimes, these two skills are focused on during a single word work session as children become more comfortable with new words. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite segmenting and blending activities during word work time!

1. Picture Cards

Picture cards are a go-to in my classroom lessons to facilitate segmenting and blending practice. Since no letters are used, they help students focus simply on the sounds they hear as they work through each word. Picture cards can be used in several ways, but they can be really helpful when introducing new sounds and spelling patterns.

This photo shows a fun pocket chart sort. Students can segment and blend the words that correspond to the pictures on each card and then sort them based on the sounds they hear.

I like to use picture cards that align with each vowel, blend, or digraph we’re focusing on that week. To use, I would hold up a card and say the word aloud. Then I’d ask students to break it apart into segments orally. They will say each sound and tap their finger on the desk as they go. You can also have them place a manipulative down or put up a finger for each sound. This will help them understand how many phonemes make up the word. Doing so also comes in handy when you move on to using letter tiles and identifying the spelling of each word.

The great thing about picture cards is that they’re easy to use for a quick lesson anytime. Sneak in a little extra practice during your morning meeting, as you line up for recess, or anytime you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare!

2. Letter Tiles

Letter tiles are another extremely helpful tool and great for facilitating segmenting and blending activities during word work time. I used these for introductions, but also as a tool for the whole year!

In the pocket chart activity shown in this photo, students will use letter tiles to build words following different spelling patterns that they are learning during reading groups.

They came in so handy that I liked to make sure every student had their own set of letter tiles. I printed the consonants on blue cardstock and the vowels on pink cardstock. This helps students easily identify the difference. Kiddos kept their set of letter tiles in a baggie labeled with their names. This way, they’d be ready for word work time at any moment!

You can use these in so many ways, but I find they’re a very helpful visual to use alongside the picture cards. After working with those independently, I would pull the cards again, write the word for the picture on a flashcard or whiteboard, and then have students segment the word into phonemes. They use their trusty letter tiles to make the word, making sure to note where each phoneme ends. This is a great way to help students visually see both the spelling of the word and how it’s broken up. Then, they can practice blending the sounds together to read the word aloud.

You can also make a larger version of the letter tiles for yourself with magnets attached to the back. This will come in really handy to model for the class, and provide an opportunity for students to check their work as well!

3. Stamp It!

Anytime I can use fun materials like stamps and ink pads, I can count on greater student engagement. We must remember that primary learners LOVE tactile activities, so including them in your segmenting and blending activities is a must to snag attention and keep it!

This image shows a fun word work time activity that encourages students to practice segmenting words as they sound out and stamp each letter that is found in picture shown.

“Stamp It” is a fun activity that has students say a word, and then spell it using letter stamps and ink. I have my students use different colors to show the different sounds they hear. This will naturally reveal spelling patterns you’re working on to your students and help provide that lightbulb moment we’re all looking for!

This activity is fantastic to use in small groups and centers as you review previously taught sounds. You can model a word or two for students and show them how to segment and blend each word. Then pass out the worksheets and supplies and let those kids get to work! They’ll be happy to have a hands-on learning activity to use, and you’ll be thrilled to see the growth in reading skills!

4. Digital Word Work Activities

Digital word work activities are among my favorites to use for whole-group teaching. They’re a great way to model activities for students as well as present new sounds and words. If you’re just getting started with a new sound, try projecting activities like these up on your interactive whiteboard as a fun and engaging introduction for students. For example, I love using the “Spell It” slides to practice segmenting and to build the word.

The digital activity in this image is the perfect addition to work work time. Using digital letter tiles, students can build words next to a corresponding picture.

To start, students will look at the picture and say the word. Then, they will segment each sound. You can tap each one with your mouse or a pointer for students to visually see the segmentation of sounds. Then, drag and drop the correct letters to spell the word. Finally, check your word by blending the sounds together to say the word once more. This is a great activity for independent practice after teaching too!

Digital activities make word work time more flexible because you’ll have one more tool in your toolbox to help students learn. Whether you use the slides for presenting an intro, as a tool in small groups, or as an assignment to have students practice, these are a great way to ensure everyone gets what they need! Inside the Digital Word Work Bundle, you’ll find this activity along with many more such as “Find It” words and pictures, “Stretch It”, “Match It”, and more!

5. Word Hunt

This last activity is a student favorite and can be used for every sound and spelling pattern you work on with your students. I always liked to use this as a way to wrap up our word work activities for a specific sound.

This image shows a "Word Hunt" activity that can be used during word work time to engage students! Students can use the sound wall, word wall or their own imaginations to come up with different words that fit each spelling pattern on the worksheet and record them.

To play Word Hunt, each child will receive a worksheet with the target sounds you’ve been practicing during word work time. Then, they will try to find words that fit the spelling patterns. You can have them search in assigned reading, around the room, or hide words in a sensory tub. Personally, I like to mix it up so that this activity is different every week.

You can mix it up further by pairing students up and having them work as a team to find words. I also instruct students to segment the word into sounds, and then blend it together before they are allowed to write it down. Their partner can count the phonemes and check their work before swapping places as they continue the word hunt. This is a fun activity to use on the last day of the week when students are beginning to fizzle out. This will boost engagement and help students see that word work time is fun and engaging in your room!

More Word Work Time Activities

The fun doesn’t have to end here, friends! There are so many great segmenting and blending activities to use inside the Word Work Study Bundle. You’ll find everything mentioned here as well as many more ways to help students practice important skills like segmenting and blending! These activities cover so many phonics skills including:

These fun activities are perfect for word work time! Using stamps and write the room activities, students can use segmenting and blending skills to practice different spelling patterns.
  • CVC Words
  • Short Vowels
  • Long Vowels
  • Blends
  • Digraphs
  • and Diphthongs

This bundle will make planning your word work time simple and fun! Just select a skill and you’ll have everything you need to teach it in a fun and engaging format all week long. If you want to test out these activities in your classroom, you’re in luck… You can grab a FREE sample from the Word Work Study Bundle here! Your students will love these activities for Digraph ng! I know these activities will transform your word work time into a teaching opportunity you look forward to every week. Grab the freebie and get started today!

Looking for More?

Here are some additional posts all about word work time in the primary classroom:

Save These Segmenting and Blending Activities

Pin this post on Pinterest to save these word work ideas and come back for more!

Are students starting to get a little bored with word work time in your classroom? Or maybe, you are struggling to incorporate segmenting and blending in your class routine? If either of those sound like you, these 5 fun ways to practice segmenting and blending during word work time will help to solve your problems!


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