Traffic Light Segmenting & Blending

Research has shown that segmenting and blending skills can predict later literacy development. These are great, simple skills for SLPs to target incidentally while working on articulation (e.g. s- blends) or language in general. Most students understand the concept of how a traffic light works, so I have made some simple visual scaffolds to help them to segment and blend – even to spell and read using these.


MATERIALS:              photo-1

  • Black paper or cardboard
  • Green, yellow and red stickers (find at office store – right)
  • Laminate for durability


I always start by introducing the colors and giving examples. Green is the start of my word and the first sound that I hear, yellow is always my vowel sound, and red is the last sound that I hear.

If I am introducing blends like CCVC I might use a dry erase marker and write the vowel sound on the yellow sticker so that the student knows that they really have to listen to the 2 blended sounds (e.g. for ‘stop’ children usually say s-o-p, but because I have already written down ‘o’, they have that visual reminder that there is another green sound at the start that they have listen for).


Segment: Say a real or nonword in the given consonant/vowel structure and ask them to point to each sticker as they break it up.

Blend: Teacher points to each sticker as they say individual sounds, student blends them together

Spelling: After they have segmented the word they can either write it on a piece of paper/whiteboard or write directly on the laminated traffic lights – just make sure it’s laminated so that you can wipe it away!

Reading: Write words on the traffic lights, ask the student to say each sound and then blend it to say a word.


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Hi, I'm Rebecca.
I encourage SLPs to feel more confident treating speech sound disorders, and make faster progress with their students.