Students look at the words on this sheet (categorized by phonics rules) and Tap them Out (Wilson's tap it out method):
Phoneme segmentation on your fingers (A.K.A. “Tapping It Out”). Each two-finger tap is one phoneme [smallest sound]. Thumb with Index finger, Thumb with Middle finger, Thumb with Ring finger, Thumb with pinky finger, and if there are more than 4 phonemes [sounds], continue on to Thumb with Index finger and on.
Example: Brakes = /br/ /a/ /ke/ /s/ (Reiterating that there are 6 letters but 4 sounds) Blends are one phoneme, as well as vowel digraphs, like the Long E sound in Team. When the child is finished “Tapping Out,” they will touch all fingertips together making a “crocodile mouth” and clamping down while saying the entire word.
For Kindergarteners, I use “Clap It Out” and have students clap instead of tapping. Change the crocodile snap/clamp to one final clap, saying the entire word.