Multisyllabic Word Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

As words get longer, saying them and using them gets harder. Help your students along their journey to ever longer words with a few of these multisyllabic word games and activities.

Learning Multisyllabic Words

English is a complex language, and things only get harder as students move into multisyllabic words. Help them learn to sound out, say, and use these more complex words with one or more of these games and activities.

Word Building

This game involves creating a set of small index cards or pieces of paper, each with a different syllable that makes up a set of multisyllabic words. Give groups of students an envelope full of them, and see how many of the full words they can construct. If time is limited, add a timer and make it even more of a challenge. The group that constructs the most words within a time limit wins the game.

Clap it Out

One useful technique for learning multisyllabic words is to clap out the syllables - that is, to clap whenever they say an individual syllable. For example if they were saying individual, they would split it into in (clap) - di (clap) - vi (clap) - du (clap) - al (clap). This can be turned into a fun game by getting students into a circle and having each student say a multisyllabic word, after which the whole circle repeats the word back and claps out the syllables. Continue around the circle either until everyone has had a go, or until the time runs out.

Syllable Songs

Have you ever noticed how most songs have a different musical note for each syllable? Use this knowledge to your kids advantage by combining music and English into a single activity. You can start by choosing well-known pop songs, writing the lyrics on the whiteboard, and then working with students to work out the syllables. Next, print out a set of lyrics for another popular song, one set for each student, and have them try it themselves. What might be hard in general speech, is remarkably easy with a pop song.

You can take this connection with music even further by having students write their own songs. Split students into groups, and give each group a set of 5-10 multisyllabic words. See if they can come up with a song together that incorporates those words.

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