Yopp-Singer Test
of Phonemic Segmentation:

Directions for Administering

  1. Have one test sheet for each child in the class.
  2. Assess children individually in a quiet place.
  3. Keep the assessment playful and game-like.
  4. Explain the game to the child exactly as the directions specify.
  5. Model for the child what he or she needs to do with each of the practice words. Have them break apart each word with you.
Children are given the following directions upon administration of the test:
Today we're going to play a word game. I'm going to say a word and I want you to break the word apart. You are going to say the word slowly, and then tell me each sound in the word in order. For example, if I say "old," you should say "oooo-llll-d" (The teacher says the sound, not the letters.) Let's try a few words together.
The practice items are ride, go, and man. The teacher should help the child with each sample item - segmenting the item for the child if necessary and encouraging the child to repeat the segmented words. Then the child is given the 22 item test. If the child responds correctly, the teacher says, "That's right." If the child gives an incorrect response, he or she is corrected. The teacher provides the appropriate response. The teacher circles the numbers of all correct answers.

If the child breaks a word apart incorrectly, the teacher gives the correct answer:

  Child Says You say
Uses onset and rime
Repeats word
Stretches word out
Spells letters in word
Says first and last sounds
Says another word
Says a sentence
/d/ - /og/
d - o - g
"d" - "o" - "g"
/d/ - /g/
I don't know

The child's score is the number of items correctly segmented into all constituent phonemes. No partial credit is given. For instance, if a child says "/c/-/at/" instead of "/c/-/a/-/t/," the response may be noted on the blank line following the items but is considered incorrect for purposes of scoring. Correct responses are only those that involve articulation of each phoneme in the target word.

A blend contains two or three phonemes in each of these and each should be articulated separately. Hence, item 7 on the test, grew, has three phonemes /g/-/r/-/ew/. Digraphs such as /sh/ in item 5, she, and the /th/ in item 15, three, are single phonemes. Item 5, therefore has two phonemes and item 15 has three phonemes. If a child responds with letter names instead of sounds, the response is coded as incorrect, and the type of error is noted on the test.

Students who obtain high scores (segmenting all or nearly all of the items correctly) may be considered phonemically aware. Students who correctly segment some items are displaying emerging phonemic awareness. Students who are able to segment only a few items or none at all lack appropriate levels of phonemic awareness. Without intervention, those students scoring very low on the test are likely to experience difficulty with reading and spelling.

Teaching Phonemic Segmentation

1. The Rubber Band Stretch

Teacher models with a large rubber band how to stretch out a word as the word is said:


Teacher models with stretched out band how to bring rubber band back to original length and says the word fast:    /man/.

Children pretend to stretch rubber bands as they say the sounds in different words.

2. Stretchy Names

Children and teacher clap and say a verse for each child in class:
Children and teacher say the next child's name very slowly, stretching palms far apart as the word is stretched:


Clap once quickly and say name fast:   Christopher

Discussion Group

If you have questions, click on this link to Patti's Discussion Group and post your question or concern. You will receive feedback from Patti and other teachers who are using this assessment tool with their students.

Assessment designed by Dr. Hallie Kay Yopp, Professor at CSU Fullerton. The author acknowledges the contribution of the late Harry Singer to the development of this test.