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Kindergarten Phonics and Phonemic Awareness:
Sounding Out Words Lesson Plan

Guess What I Am Hiding

  • Students will learn to segment words into onset and rime.
  • Students will learn to blend onset and rime into words.
  • Students will indicate awareness of segmentation and blending sounds by responding with a physical movement.
About the Concept:

Blending sounds into words, historically called “sounding out words” is one of the most critical skills in learning how to read and spell. Even before they learn to read, it is beneficial for students to become adept at blending word onset and rime. Clarifying these terms, onset refers to sounds in a word occurring before the first vowel; rime refers to sounds in a word from the first vowel to the end of the word. Here are some examples of words that are split between onset and rime: c-at, t-able, sh-op, str-ing. The song, Guess What I Am Hiding, in this lesson gives students plenty of practice in segmenting words into onset and rime and then blending these parts together to form whole words. The auditory discrimination that students develop in preschool years or kindergarten prepares them for decoding and spelling words through phonics.

This lesson plan uses music, rhythm, and play activities to encourage students to listen, practice, discover, and create words from their component parts. Each time a partial word is pronounced, students respond physically by moving only one body part such as a hand or a leg; each time individual word parts are blended together to form a complete word, students respond physically by moving two body parts such as both hands or both legs, reinforcing the concept by including more of the total body in the learning experience. By covering up the pictures until students have blended onset and rime, students view the song Guess What I Am Hiding as a kind of guessing game with clues, giving them the feeling that they are playing, rather than learning. It should be stressed that, at this stage of development, blending onset and rime is an auditory skill, rather than a visual one. In other words, students can segment words into parts and blend these parts together when they hear words but do not generally have the skill level to read or spell the words in the song. However, for students who already recognize some letters and sounds, song lyrics on the Mini-Charts can help build skills in spelling and reading simple words beginning by segmenting and blending onset and rime. This lesson is the fourth in a series of five lessons. The previous lesson, Kindergarten Phonics Phonemic Awareness: Same and Different Sounds, teaches students to discriminate same and different beginning sounds. The next lesson in the series, Kindergarten Phonics Phonemic Awareness: Letter Sounds, teaches students letter/sound correspondence for initial consonants.


Note: If you do not have the CD or Mini-Charts, you can still teach this sounding out words lesson plan using the folk tune listed on the Phonemic Awareness song Guess What I Am Hiding Song Lyrics page. For this level, it is good practice to include pictures, for visual reinforcement.

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pcture cards showing cat, bat, hat, hen, pen, and number ten
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
  1. Say, “Let’s see if you can guess what I am hiding under my hand. I will say parts of the word and if you put these parts together, you will be able to guess what is under my hand.” Holding up the stack of cards, cover the top picture with your hand and pronounce the onset and rime separately. Ex: c-at If the students are able to blend the parts and come up with the word, show them the picture and repeat the process with the next card. Ex: b-at. If the students are not able to blend onset and rime, model the process for them. Ex: c-at cat, b-at bat. Repeat this practice with several cards until students begin to get proficient in blending parts into whole words.
  2. Open the Sing Your Way Through Phonics Ready to Read! Mini-Charts. to pages 44. (Hide page 45 for the time being.) Cover the cat and say, “Each time I cover a picture with my hand, I’ll tell you the parts of the word. See if you can put the parts together to guess what I am hiding.” Cover the cat and say, “C-at” Repeat the process with the pictures on the subsequent Mini-Chart pages: p. 45 (b-at), p. 46 (h-en), p. 47 (p-en), p. 50 (r-ing), p. 51 (k-ing), p. 52 (d-og), p. 53 (fr-og) p. 54 (th-umb), and p. 55 (dr-um).
  3. Once students can blend onset and rime for all the pictures in the song, say,“Now let’s listen to a song that puts word pieces together to make whole words. I will cover up each picture and sing, Guess What I Am Hiding. See if you can sing the parts that tell what is under my hand.” Play track 7 and 8 of Sing You Way Through Phonics Ready to Read CD. Cover each picture during the phrase, “Guess what I am hiding” and “Hiding right beside it.” Then uncover the picture and point to the left, to the right, and under the picture as you sing onset, rime, and whole word.
  4. Turn to Mini-Chart page 48-49. Say, “These pages tell what we did to guess the pictures. We call this sound-and-blend. We say the first sound, next we add the rest of the word, and finally we put the two parts together into a whole word.” Say, “Let’s see if you can sound and blend the words on these pages.” Cover the picture of eyes and read, “To sound and blend, we s-ee...” (Students should say, “see.”) “You must listen very carefully.” “Start with the first sound you h-ear...” (Students should say, “hear.”) “Then add and blend what follows so your words are clear.”
  5. Say, “Now let’s add some hand movements. When we sing ‘s-ee see’ curl your hand around your left eye, then curl your hand around your right eye, then curl your hand around both eyes.” Demonstrate this by making a “telescope” of your hands and curling around each eye successively, then around both eyes. Say, “When we sing ‘h-ear hear’ place your had behind your left ear, then place your hand behind your right ear, then place your hands behind both ears.” Demonstrate this by placing each hand with open palm behind the ears, as if trying to amplify the sound. Practice saying the words on Mini-Charts pages with all the hand movements led by the teacher and then with all the hand movements without the teacher leading.
  6. Say, “Now, let’s try singing the song again with the CD. Every time we get to the part about seeing and hearing, let’s see if you can do the hand movements for your eyes and ears the way we just practiced it.” Play CD Track 7 again, covering each picture during the phrase, “Guess what I am hiding” and “Hiding right beside it...”
  7. Turn to Mini-Chart p. 44-45 and say, “Can anyone say the two parts of the word cat?” (c-at) Continue, “Can anyone say the two parts of the word bat?” (b-at) Repeat this process with all of the subsequent pages up to Mini-Chart page 61.
  8. Say, “Now, let’s practice this song again, and we’ll give some of you a chance to cover and uncover the pictures.” Choose two students to stand to the left and right sides of the Mini-Charts. Each student covers the picture on his/her side of the charts. Each student uncovers the picture after the phrase, “Guess what I am hiding” or “Hiding right beside it” is sung. Play CD Track 7 again and assist the picture coverers, if necessary, by guiding their hands and reminding them to turn pages as the song continues.
  9. Pick a picture at random from the Mini-Charts for the song. Say,“Who can tell me what picture I’m looking at. I’m just going to say the parts of the word. You will have to put the word together to know which picture I’m looking at.”
  10. The student who names the picture correctly may come up and choose another picture to quiz the group. S/he must say the onset and rime of the word. Then the others have a chance to guess the picture and become the new leader.
  11. Repeat Step 10 until all the pictures in the song have been named.

  1. Practice singing Guess What I Am Hiding every day for a week. Then try singing the song with the instrumental track on the CD (Track 8). Do the students remember all the words to the song? Review any parts of the song that are giving them difficulty and use the pictures on the Mini-Charts to aid memory.
  2. Help students create other sets of words for the song. Make 6 copies of Mini-Chart template pp. 86-87. Here are some other words that you can use with the Mini-Chart Templates: pl-ane plane, tr-ain train; p-each peach, b-each beach; l-ight light, k-ite kite; c-oat coat, g-oat goat; b-oot boot, s-uit suit; b-ear bear, ch-air chair. You do not need to replace all of the verses. Allow students to illustrate the new lyrics in the pockets on the Mini-Chart template. Place pages with new words in a 3-ring binder in page protectors and sing with the instrumental track on the CD (Track 8). If you have not replaced all the verses, sing the original verses on the parts of the song that do not have new examples.

body movement picture cards
  1. Practice blending onset and rime with picture cards. Add body movements that demonstrate part-part-whole. For example, when you say the onset, move left leg to the side; when you say the rime, move right leg to the side; when you say the whole word, jump and bring both legs together. Other variations: 1) slap left thigh, slap right thigh, slap both thighs; 2) tap left foot, tap right foot, tap both feet; 3) knock on table with left hand, with right hand, with both hands; 4) with partners facing each other, clap left hands together, right hands together, both hands together. Note: We always try to start from the left side to preserve left-to-right orientation for future reading and writing.
  2. Sing Guess What I Am Hiding and add the body movements developed in Step 1 of Extensions (above). Add rhythm instruments that can be held in both hands such as maracas, rhythm sticks, or tambourines. Play the left hand instrument on the onset, the right hand instrument on the rime, and both instruments on the whole word.
  3. Students who know some of their letters and sounds can help spell or write words (onset, rime, and whole words) created for the song’s instrumental track.

  1. Students sing all the words to the song on Mini-Charts pp. 45-61 without assistance, or
  2. Students indicate ability to blend onset and rime by making appropriate movements on the words in the song, without assistance.

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