Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crunching and Munching on Multi-syllabic Words!

Recently, we have been working on using strategies to help us decode unknown and unfamiliar words. 
As we all know, decoding word sound involves lots of different things: 
  • Understanding letter sounds (phonics, letter a, b, c,)
  • Flipping sounds between their short and long vowel sounds 
  • Understanding letter sound combinations (-tion, ch, -er, ious, ism) 
  • Blending different sounds together 
  • Recognizing grade level sight words that do not match rules - you know, like Colonel and Kernel (gotta love the English language!)
By fifth grade, many students have most of these skills, however, some of our kids still need the extra support, and ALL of them need to recognize that we use these strategies everyday (usually without thinking about it) when we encounter a word that we don't know how to pronounce. 
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Today, we looked at a concept I found HERE on pinterest called CRUNCH and MUNCH. In this simple, but awesome strategy, kids CRUNCH the word into syllables (paying close attention to Greek and Latin suffixes and prefixes) and then combine them to sound out the word.
The kids did a really good job of breaking down difficult words using this strategy. It was really fun to see them freak out when I placed a LONG word on the board and then watch the excitement/light bulbs go off once they realized they now had a tool to break it down and sound it out. Then they began asking for BIGGER words - this challenged me! hehe  
As always, we had a notebook insert that matched my anchor chart (please ignore my sloppy handwriting! Gotta love the GIANT "C" in echolocation - ha!), I modeled this strategy using a word from a read aloud, then we practiced it together using a couple words from our morning fluency read. Lastly, I had them look for unknown words during their independent reading that they could CRUNCH and MUNCH to decode. I cannot make this insert available since it so closely resembles the Lesson Clouds which she has on TPT. 
In small group, we practiced more of this reading a short article. I was AMAZED at how much easier it was for my kids to CRUNCH up the word parts now that I am incorporating more Greek and Latin root words into our curriculum. So many of the parts in multi-syllabic words have them and it makes it SO easy to remind students to A) look for these and B) remind them not to crunch them, and other common word parts, apart when breaking down the sounds. 
If you are looking for a FUN, easy, and effective way to incorporate Greek and Latin suffixes and prefixes into your curriculum, I HIGHLY recommend The Reading Olympians. I am hoping to do a post on it and how I use it in my room in a few days.
What are some of your favorite tricks for helping kids decode unfamiliar words? 
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