A child that is reading sight words fluently is ready for the task of reading multiple syllable words. These words are more challenging and require the learner to apply much more skill. Teaching children how to read multisyllabic words correctly will help them to strengthen their reading skills. You can employ several strategies that can help them learn how to handle these longer words.

Understanding Syllables

Teacher helping girl

It is important that youngsters understand the concept of the syllable before they begin to reading multisyllabic words. Help the child think of syllables as "word chunks" and remind them that each word has at least one syllable. To help children recognize syllables, clap along with them as they say each syllable. Start with one-syllable words, and eventually have them clap as they say the syllables of three or four-syllable words. Eventually you can let the child clap on each of her own syllables.

Common Spelling Patterns of Syllables

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It is important for learners to understand that multisyllabic words are broken down into six spelling pattern categories. Teaching these categories will help learners understand how multisyllabic words are formed and read. These categories include: open syllable, closed syllable, vowel-consonant-e syllable, vowel team syllable, consonant+le syllable, and r-controlled syllable. An open syllable ends in a vowel. A closed syllable begins with a consonant, has a vowel in the middle and ends with a consonant. A vowel-consonant- e syllable represents long vowel sounds with a silent e on the end. A vowel team syllable has two vowels that are side-by-side that create a new sound. A consonant+le syllable appears at the end of words. The r-controlled syllable contains the letter r, preceded by a vowel.

Dividing Syllables

Teacher and male student (5-7) reading book in classroom

Teach youngsters how to break down the syllables in multisyllabic words by using slashes or accents to divide the syllables. It is important that they apply the six common spelling patterns of syllables in helping them divide or "chunk" the syllables. Teaching a child how to divide the syllables in multisyllabic words allows him to focus on the word as segments. This makes reading multisyllable words less challenging. Start with a simple word such as bubble. Ask learners to place a slash or accent to divide the syllables in the word bubble: bub / ble. Then ask him to pronounce each individual syllable in the word "bubble".

Reading Multisyllabic Words Fluently

Girl reading

Once children have completed the skill of breaking apart or "chunking" the syllabic parts of a word, it is now time for them to read various multisyllabic words. Make sure that learners are not making longer-than-necessary pauses as they read the words. Demonstrating the proper way to read three- or four-syllable words will help them develop their skills in reading these longer words. It is important to listen as the the child reads lists of multisyllabic words independently. This will make sure that she has mastered the skill of reading multisyllabic words. If working with multiple students, it is important to use the technique of guided reading to make sure that each learner is dividing and reading multisyllabic words correctly.