Aside from very beginning books, students are going to encounter multisyllabic words in their reading. That includes words in informational texts, instructions, as well as reading for entertainment.
What are multisyllabic words? Any words that have two or more syllables, such as uphill, begin, homework, elephant, and scientist.
These words can be intimidating for readers. Students need systematic instruction, just as they do with simpler words like CVC words or VCC words. Confidence and fluency come with direct instruction and plenty of practice with multisyllabic words.
When and how do you introduce multisyllabic words? A scope and sequence makes it simple and systematic. Learn more about how a phonics scope and sequence can help organize your lessons. A scope and sequence makes it clear how multisyllabic words fit into your phonics teaching and allows you to differentiate instruction for students while still focusing on the same phonics skills.
Get your FREE Phonics Scope and Sequence:
Build phonics skills with multisyllabic word lists
Teaching multisyllabic word lists should follow your scope and sequence. When you introduce a new phonics skill, start with one-syllable words. As students master the skill, you can add multisyllable words with the same sound pattern.
Help students break down multisyllabic words. Things you can do:
- Explain that syllables can have one or multiple sounds. They may contain just a vowel, a vowel pair, or a vowel and one or more consonants.
- Tap out the syllables in multisyllabic words to help students hear syllable breaks. For example, multisyllabic has 5 syllables.
- Teach different types of syllables: open, closed, silent e, vowel team, r-controlled, and final stable syllable.
Once students can find the syllables, they can also:
- Identify any familiar affixes (prefixes or suffixes).
- Look for rhyming patterns and familiar sounds. For example, if you’ve been working on the phoneme /oy/, they can underline those parts.
After breaking down multisyllabic words into syllables, students can work on finding the sounds of each syllable using their phonics skills. Finally, they will need to practice putting the parts back together.
You can, of course, practice multisyllabic decoding and encoding with words you encounter in reading, but mostly you want to take a systematic approach. That means words that use the phonics skills you are introducing or expanding on.
Having a list of multisyllabic words that corresponds to different sounds you are teaching makes life a lot easier. Picture trying to think of multisyllabic words that correspond to different phonemes, coming up with new examples for each lesson. That’s where done for you multisyllabic word lists come in!
You can get phonics word lists for teachers, including single syllable and multisyllabic word lists. These lists are based on a structured synthetic phonics approach and work beautifully with the free Phonics Scope and Sequence.
Pair that with phonics word lists for students. Choose from word lists with 10, 15, and 20 words … whatever will work best for your students.
Having lists of multisyllabic words tied to your scope and sequence will make teaching phonics skills so much easier!