Once children become familiar with the individual phonemes that make up the phonetic alphabet, they begin to recognise these separate sounds and their word position from spoken language.

This is the beginning of Segmenting words into their basic phonic components. Segementation has two stages: 'auditory segmentation' is the skill required to identify the separate phonic components of spoken language. This is 'phonic awareness' and it necessary to develop the ability to identify the phonics components of written language. We call this process 'segementation' and it leads to an understanding of how sounds relate to the written words, and so is an essentail skill for spelling.

For example: The spoken word 'cat', can be segmented into its separate phonetic components c-a-t, with each phoneme being explicitly related to its grapheme correspondence. In this way the word can be written down or 'decoded'. This is simple for regular words, but becomes more complex for the many irregular words of the english language.

Segmenting, like blending, are really aspects of 'phonetic awareness'. 'Phonics' is really the process of relating this awareness to written language.