Stompin’ Syllables

Stompin' Syllables

Stomp your way around the circle as you segment words into syllables.

This is a gross-motor auditory discrimination activity for a small group of emergent readers. Use poly vinyl spot markers from Becker’s School Supplies or Sports Authority to indicate a circle on the floor. (These markers won’t slip as children jump from one to another.) I use three sets (they come in packs of six) for a group of four children. Station children three or four spots apart.

You pull a word card out of a bag and say it. The children all say it in syllables as they stomp forward in the circle. For elephant, they’d move forward three spots, saying el-e-phant; for penguin (pen-guin), they’d move forward two. There’s no winner since everyone is moving simultaneously around a track with no beginning and end. It’s nice to play the first few times with the kids’ names. You can make a deck of homemade cards with a photo of the child on one side and his/her name printed on the other.

In the beginning, you can have one child model stomping on the spot markers while saying the syllables, and then have the others try it. Ultimately, you can watch to assess who is struggling with segmenting the words into syllables, so you’ll know whom to follow up with.


For a larger group, you could make two columns of nine spot markers each, and line up half the class behind each track. You say a word, and the first child in each line stomps it out. Then s/he hands a baton to the next player in line who takes a position on that spot and stomps out the next word’s syllables, and so on until everyone has had a turn. You’ll go through the game track multiple times in this version. Again there will be no winner because both teams are stomping out the same words.

WORD LIST: from Vocabulary A-Z, Tier 1 Nouns (a through m)

afternoon           cake              field                 key
airplane              candle           finger              kitten
animal                 carrot             flower            knife
apple                   chicken          forest              leaf
backpack            classroom     glasses           light
balloon                comb              grapes           lion
basketball           cloud              hamburger   lunch
bear                      dinosaur        head                marker
birthday               dollar              horse              mittens
breakfast             drum                hospital         monkey
building                face                  jacket             moon
butterfly               feather             juice               mountain