· segment (sound out) words
1. Prepare and photocopy enough Word Snakes for all pupils.
1. Review the picture cards and ensure the pupils know the words for each card. Sound out each word.
2. Draw a large blank snake on the board and demonstrate the activity with the whole class so they know how to complete their own Word Snake.
3. In the first section of the snake put up a picture and ask the class to segment the word (e.g. mop = /m/, /ɒ/, /p/). Ask the class to identify the last sound of the word ‘mop’ (/p/) and find a picture that starts with the same sound e.g. pan. Have the class sound out the new word ‘pan’ and put the picture in the second section.
4. Repeat this process until all 6 sections of the snake have pictures in them where the first sound of the next word is the last sound of the last word.
5. Repeat this activity with the whole class but instead of using the pictures to put in each section ask pupils to come up to write in the word form.
6. Give each pupil a copy of the Word Snake and ask them to complete the missing gaps to sound out the words.
Pupils can draw in pictures for each word in order to create a simple dictionary/reference tool.
Pupils can swap their Word Snake with a friend and the class check the answers with the teacher eliciting the words and how to sound them out (segment) from the pupils.
Topic vocabulary, animals, classroom objects, etc. can also be used although this is likely to move the focus to spelling and not phonics.
Word snake worksheets can include picture clues for weaker pupils.
The snake can also be changed to a caterpillar, worm, bus or train.
The main focus is on the words starting with the last sound of the last word, this means the teacher has to think carefully about the words they are going to include on the Word Snake.
Pupils can draw their own snake outline if photocopying is not available.