Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

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cartwheel
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Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by cartwheel » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:07 am

I would love to hear from folks here who work with small groups of struggling readers (age 8+): How do you approach instructing the students in working through multi-syllable words? It's one thing to work on multi-syllable words in a one-on-one tutoring situation, but with a group of 2-4 students, how do you structure the process so that all the students are getting as much practice as possible, with a low error-rate?

I viewed a recent post by Elizabeth with interest: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4504&p=36819#p36819 The program Elizabeth reviews includes choral response using prefixes/roots/suffixes and utilizing a white board. Have others used choral response in this way? Other approaches?

Thanks.
Jennie

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palisadesk
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Re: Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by palisadesk » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:17 pm

cartwheel wrote:I would love to hear from folks here who work with small groups of struggling readers (age 8+): How do you approach instructing the students in working through multi-syllable words?
I've found that REWARDS Intermediate fills the bill for the setting you describe almost perfectly. I've used it with groups as large as 7 (sixth graders -- age 11), 5 eighth graders (age 13&14) and 3-4 students per group in Grades 4 and 5. I seat the students around me in a horseshoe shape or semi-circle, so that when we do the choral reading/responding I can clearly hear each student. When someone makes an error, you correct it and the group reads the line or word again, but if you notice a particular student having difficulties you address those separately and individually.

The lessons are well-organized and prerequisite skills include basic code decoding proficiency and passage reading at about a second grade level. REWARDS starts by introducing advanced code vowel spellings systematically; students identify, underline and map words with oa/ow, ea/ee and so on. Prefixes, then suffixes and internal-word morphemes like "junct" and "struct" are introduced systematically, and students read the affixes as units, identify them in words by marking them in their workbooks, read the words aloud (after learning to "scoop" the syllables based on the vowel sounds in the word which they underline before sounding out the words). It's difficult to explain clearly without seeing the layout, but it is clear, crisp and uncluttered, the directions are excellent and it provides strategies and structured practice, most of which can be done as a group. Students are to correct their own marking of vowels and "scooping" of syllables immediately so as to get quick feedback and understanding -- REWARDS recommends an overhead projector. I didn't have access to one of these so simply made an answer key for each student, put it in a plastic page protector and had them quickly check and correct their own as soon as we (as a group) went over the section, whether it was circling affixes, underlining vowels, or mapping morphemes.

There are several oral parts to each lesson that are very beneficial, including one that teaches kids how to "tweak" the pronunciation as they sound the word out and it doesn't sound right because of incorrect syllable emphasis or vowel sound. Each lesson has 3 or 4 examples that are done quickly, using context to assist the student in identifying the word, for example. "I'll sound out a word. Ree-LATE--ivvv. My dad has a distant ree-LATE-ivv in Italy..." The students quickly learn to adjust the pronunciation to "RELL-uh-tivv" because they recognize the word from the context. They get quite good at this, even those who struggle with it at first, as some do.

Something about the circling affixes, underlining vowels and "scooping" syllables also seems to trigger an AHA! quite soon. By lesson 12 or 13, all my students were decoding the multisyllable words quite well, and looked forward to "Stump the Champ" games where I would pull out weird scientific terms and try to stymie their efforts (I lost). The program moves into sentence and passage reading for fluency and the supplementary REWARDS materials on science and social studies help with applying the skills to expository text such as those found in middle school curricula. I found using some of those materials very beneficial, because the students needed explicit instruction in how to read that kind of text, which differs significantly from narrative.

You can also do REWARDS with an individual student but I found it perfect for a small group, and in every group where I used the program the students quickly picked up the skill of multi-syllable word decoding. We also used some of the Abecedarian Levels C and D materials as individual seatwork and homework to teach and reinforce the meanings of some of the common affixes and build vocabulary.

Susan S.

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Susan Godsland
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Re: Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:07 pm

I've found Rod Everson's Multi-syllable method, complete with downloadable worksheets, useful. It's designed for 1-1 but could probably be adapted for small group work using individual white boards.

http://ontrackreading.com/phonics-progr ... d-overview

Rod Everson
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Re: Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by Rod Everson » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:52 pm

Hi Susan,

Thanks for pointing the way to my site. I have had a lot of success with the multisyllable approach I use, but I also worked one-on-one exclusively.

However, because the method works so well one-on-one, I gave some thought to how I would use it in a classroom situation. I was really thinking about a series of short lessons inserted into the regular curriculum of a Junior High or High School teacher who was teaching, say, social studies or science, and was faced with a number of kids who were struggling with phonics due to a lack of instruction in the early grades.

The result was a 10-lesson plan, budgeted for 15 minutes per lesson, and frankly, it's untested in the classroom (but the general strategy works exceptionally well in a one-on-one environment.) What I would be concerned about is a general lack of code knowledge. However, one major benefit of the approach is you're always discussing code knowledge and overlap options in the context of vocabulary words, once the 10 lessons are over.

Anyway, a reasonably detailed series of lesson plans is described on the Phonics Section of my website under the title "Junior High Phonics Course": http://ontrackreading.com/phonics-progr ... ics-course

If anyone actually tries it, I'd like to hear how the timing works out and what issues are encountered.

Rod Everson
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Re: Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by Rod Everson » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:49 pm

I should have thought to add this to my previous post, regarding code knowledge.

I've developed a set of 84 code knowledge flashcards to be used with a modified version of the Spalding Method. It occurred to me that the flashcards would be perfect for use with the Junior High Phonics Course since they cover the same code and teach the overlap options directly. Plus, until I figure out whether it's worth having them printed up to sell on my site, I'm giving away 50 copies of a PDF of the flashcards that you could use to print your own.

I'd love to know how useful a teacher found them in the sort of situation being discussed here, whether used with the Junior High Phonics Course or not.

The PDF of the flashcards can be requested by emailing me from the page Teaching the Phonograms: http://ontrackreading.com/spalding-meth ... phonograms. There's an example there too.

Rod Everson
OnTrack Reading

cartwheel
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Re: Multi-syllable word instruction for strugglers

Post by cartwheel » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:03 am

Thank you, Susan S. and Rod, for your help! For this short-term intervention I ended up creating materials that included a section rather like one Susan S. describes (circling affixes, underlining vowels) and a section that focuses on chunking multi-syllable words that contain focus letter-sounds (using word lists from Rod's website). It worked quite well in the small-group setting. Tho' hard to measure (I didn't give a pre-test), the gains seem to be strong. The Rewards program sounds great and I will likely add it to my toolbox for use with older strugglers. Thanks again.
-Jennie

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