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.
- 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).
HOW TO USE THEM:
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.