The Connection Between Decoding and Encoding - Part 2

Hi, friends! Last week, I discussed the importance of connecting speech to print and how that relates to spelling instruction. Did you miss last week's post? Click here to read that first. In summary, we can think of reading and spelling as reciprocal skills. Reading, or decoding, is applying the sound-symbol relationships and successfully blending them to read a word. Spelling is the other side of the coin. It is the ability to segment words by individual sounds and use the correct sound-symbol correspondences in written form. 

This speech to print approach helps us connect the phonemes, sounds, to the grapheme, letter/s; the representation for each individual sound. While this may be a practice that many of us are familiar with in the early grades with single-syllable words, how does this apply to multisyllabic words? Let's explore this. 

How Does the Speech-to-Print Approach Assist in Spelling Multisyllabic Words?

Students need explicit instruction in strategies that help them spell multisyllabic words. We want students to see how the sounds within our spoken language link to the graphemes, the letter or letters, representing the individual spoken sound. Just as we take syllables apart to help the code for reading, we can take syllables apart to help for spelling instruction.

Steps for Explicitly Teaching Spelling of Multisyllabic Words

⭐️ Remember, use words that contain phoneme-grapheme correspondences that you have explicitly taught. 

  1. Say the word aloud. Have students echo the word.
  2. Have students break the word into syllables. Draw a line for each syllable. 
  3. Have students segment the syllable into individual phonemes. Place a dot under the syllable to represent each phoneme.
  4. Students touch each dot and spell the syllable aloud. Then, write the graphemes representing the sounds within the syllable.
  5. Continue for all syllables within the word.
  6. Students read the word as they scoop each syllable. 

As you can see, there is a progression of knowledge and application of sound-symbol relationships and syllable work that is systematically built through instruction, moving from individual phoneme-graphemes to multisyllabic words. 

The more we explicitly teach spelling and reading strategies, the more we set our students up for success. We want to provide students with the explicit instruction that provides a reliable strategy for encoding, spelling, multisyllabic words. 

Once students are proficient at the strategy, you can pull back the support by removing the dots underneath the lines that hold a place for each phoneme. As the students gain automaticity in phoneme-grapheme linkages, they will not need to write the lines which represent each syllable. Instead, they'll be able to write automatically. 

This strategy allows students to understand how syllables and sounds assist in reading and spelling instruction. Remember, reading and spelling are reciprocal skills; they're different sides of the same coin with a clear connection. 

What I love about this instruction is that we can teach with a whiteboard, a pencil and paper, or in the sandbox! It's straight forward to implement, and it's a strategy that kids can take into any classroom and utilize without needing any extra materials. It also reinforces the speech-to-print approach because students are focusing on the sounds and how they relate to the letter representations. 

I hope this quick tip for spelling with multisyllabic words helps. Let me know what questions you have. I'd love to help!

If you want to hear a little bit more about how to bring parents into instruction, head over to my friend Ashley's podcast The Reading Project. I was recently a guest on her podcast! It was so much fun to sit down with Ashley and chat about spelling instruction and the link between sounds and print. We also discussed how parents can help reinforce this strategy at home. Click here to head to her podcast page and look for my upcoming episode!

Another fun project I have been working on is my Sight Word: Mapping Sound to Print Growing Bundle. Currently, it's at a discounted price as I continue to add to the bundle. Unlike traditional flashcards or high-frequency word reading practice, the focus of these cards is to take students from speech-to-print in a scaffolded way that provides for differentiation. I have included small printable cards for students to color-code as well. I have used these with my students in dyslexia therapy, and the students like how it maps out the words, provide layers of support, and has a simple format. When all updates have been added, it will include the Fry List 1-300 words. It also includes bonuses such as an Automaticity Practice with High-Frequency Words product and a Progress Monitoring Form for Instant Word Reading. I hope you check it out! Thank you for the support! 

Have a great week!



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