Today I’m going to talk about syllabication rules because I sometimes get asked about it by teachers that use my multisyllabic word resources.
Breaking apart multisyllabic words is an important skill for kids to have if they’re reading longer texts. Longer texts often include bigger words and kids need strategies for how to tackle them.
So let’s talk about one of my favorite strategies.
The Spot and Dot Strategy
Before teaching kids how to break apart multisyllabic words, make sure they have a good foundation of vowel sounds and irregular syllables like -tion.
That will be the first step of the strategy. Students identify any irregular syllables and put a box around them.
Then they look for all the vowel sounds and place a dot on top of each one.
In the word foundation, they box the -tion and place a dot on top of -ou and the -a.
Next, it’s time to connect the dots and identify how many consonants are between them. In the word foundation, there are two consonants, -n and -d. Students draw a line between those two consonants.
They should have the word broken up like this: foun/da/tion. After the word is broken up, have students read each syllable and blend them together until they figure out what it says.
Syllabication Rules Should Be Broken
The English language is complicated and there are tons of rules. If we want kids to be successful at reading, we need to be ok with them breaking some reading rules.
Like syllabication rules. What do I mean by kids should break syllabication rules?
I’m talking about when kids break apart a multisyllabic word into syllables. It’s ok if those syllables are not the actual syllables a word is broken up into.
If you use the spot and dot strategy I shared earlier for the word rocket, it would not be broken up correctly. Using that strategy, the word rocket is broken up into roc/ket.
The correct syllables of rocket are rock/et. However, if a child breaks up the word as roc/ket and is successful at decoding it, does it really matter if they broke it up incorrectly?
The purpose of the spot and dot strategy is to help kids break up big words and read them. The purpose isn’t helping kids improve at breaking up words into correct syllables.
So I think it’s ok to break the rules sometimes. Especially if it helps kids become successful readers. In the end, that’s what really matters anyways.
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