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Chapter 8: Multisyllabic Word Reading

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1 Chapter 8: Multisyllabic Word Reading
Teaching Reading Sourcebook 2nd edition

2 Reading Multisyllabic Words
It is essential for students in the fifth grade and beyond to decode multisyllabic words since most of the words they encounter contain more than one syllable. When proficient readers see a multisyllabic word they automatically break it down into smaller units and chunk it into syllables. The brain’s orthographic processor must learn to “see” common multiletter patterns or chunks. The multiletter patterns or “chunks” may be syllables, affixes, or phonograms.

3 Syllabication Syllabication is the division of a word into separate syllables. The ability to segment and blend syllables enables a reader to rapidly identify a multisyllable word Research recommends moving from a focus on teaching rules and generalizations to a more flexible approach that includes decoding longer words. Many researchers agree that practice is the best way for students to gain insight and confidence in syllabication. Each syllable contains one vowel sound. The syllable may contain more than one vowel letter but the letters will represent only one sound. The letter y may represent the long e or long i sound.

4 Approaches for Teaching How to Read Multisyllabic Words
Using syllable types and division principles Emphasizes the six common syllable types and syllable division principles. Identifying affixes or word parts Focuses on morphemes or meaningful word parts including: root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Using flexible syllabication strategies Segment into graphosyllabic units (spelling units) or “chunks” that can be decoded. Many multisyllable words contain an affix; each syllable contains a vowel sound. Syllable types: closed. open, vowel combination, consonant le, vowel-consonant e, r-controlled. See page 262. Most useful syllable division principles: two consonants between two vowels, one consonant between two vowels, three consonants between two vowels, consonant le forms a separate syllable. See page 264. Other syllable division principles: divide compound words between smaller words, inflectional endings ing, er, etc., form separate syllables, never separate a vowel digraph, diphthong, or r-controlled vowels. One of the syllables in a multisyllabic word receives more stress or emphasis. The unstressed syllable is often reduced to a schwa.

5 Syllabication Research
Good readers accurately identify multisyllabic words by effortlessly breaking down words into syllables. Poor readers tend to process the letters within the words rather than syllables. Multisyllabic word reading is critical because of the number of unfamiliar words introduced in intermediate and secondary textbooks. Poor readers Do not pronounce affixes and vowel sounds; Disregard large portions of letter information; Are more likely to omit syllables.

6 When to Teach, Assess, and Intervene
Prerequisite skills for multisyllable instruction are: decode single syllable words, pronounce vowel combinations, identify open and closed syllables, and pronounce affixes in isolation. Assessment in multisyllabic decoding should begin in the middle of second grade. Many middle and high school students have mastered basic decoding skills, but they lack strategies for identifying multisyllabic words. Diagnostic assessments are needed in order to determine the prerequisite skill deficits, especially in older students.

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