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Decoding multisyllabic words

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Activity Type: Introduce/Revisit
Activity Form: Standard
Grade: 3-12
Group Size: Whole Group/Small Group
Length: 20 minutes
Materials: Grade-Level Appropriate Prose or Poetry
Goal: Students can demonstrate understanding about how to read unfamiliar multisyllabic words in and out of context.
Items: Grade-Level Appropriate Prose or Poetry

What to do

  1. Before the lesson, in a text that you have chosen, identify a multisyllabic word that you are going to focus the lesson on.
  2. Introduce students to what the focus of the lesson is going to be. When we read, we sometimes come across multisyllabic words that we don’t know how to read. In this lesson, we are going to learn a strategy on how to read multisyllabic words.
  3. Show students the text that you will be working with. I am reading this text, and I came across a multisyllabic word that I can’t read. Write the word that you have chosen on the board. For an example, we will use the word “unimaginable” in this lesson.
  4. There is a process that we will guide students through to be able to figure out how to read the word. The first step I need to do is to look to see if there are any prefixes in the word. I can see in the word “unimaginable” that there is the prefix un-. Put a box around un- in the word “unimaginable.” The next thing I need to look for is if there is a suffix in the word. I can see in the word “unimaginable” that there is the suffix -able. Put a box around the suffix -able. This leaves me with the root word. Put a line under “imagin.” It might be a word that you already know. If it is not a word that you already know, use your knowledge about sound-spellings and the 6-syllable type. I need to sound this out: im-ag-in. Sound out the word and break it into syllables. Now, I am going to blend the affixes and the root word together. Model how to blend the parts together so that you are reading them fluently.
  5. Put students in pairs and have them select a piece of text that they are reading. I want you and your partner to look through your text and identify a multisyllabic word that you both are struggling with reading. You will go through the same process that we did as a group. On the board write: 1. Find the affixes (prefixes and suffixes). 2. Locate the root word. 3. Blend the affixes and root word together. Use these steps with your partner to help read the words.
  6. Rotate around the room and observe students going through the steps. If partners are struggling, work with them to identify the different parts and blend them together. After 5 minutes, call on students to share the word that they were working on and the steps that they took to read the word.