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Spelling Long Words: The Syllable-Building Strategy

A long word is a word that has more than one syllable (i.e., multisyllabic). A
syllable is a word or part of a word that is spoken with a single sound of the
voice. Using the Syllable-Building Strategy will help you spell long words
such as democratic.

Here is how a student named William used the steps in the Syllable-Building
Strategy to learn to spell democratic. He came across this word while
reading his social studies textbook.

Step 1. William carefully copied the word into his notebook. He checked
what he wrote to be sure that he had spelled the word correctly. Here is
what he wrote.

Step 2. William then located the word democratic in his


dictionary.

Step 3. William used the phonetic respelling of democratic


in the dictionary to help him pronounce the word. William knew that if he
could still not pronounce democratic, he could ask his teacher for help.

Step 4. From the dictionary, William learned that democratic was a four-
syllable word. William wrote democratic leaving a space between each
syllable. Here is what he wrote.

Step 5. William wrote the first syllable of democratic three times. He


pronounced this syllable each time he wrote it. Here is what he wrote.

William then covered what he had written and wrote the first syllable of
democratic from memory. Here is what he wrote.

He looked to see if he had spelled the first syllable correctly and found that
he had. William then wrote the first two syllables of democratic together
three times. He pronounced the two syllables together as he wrote them.
Here is what he wrote.

He covered what he had written and wrote the first two syllables from
memory. Here is what he wrote.

William then looked to see if he had spelled the first two syllables correctly
and found that he had not. Therefore, he once again wrote the first two
syllables of democratic three times, pronouncing them as he did so. Here is
what he wrote.

William covered what he had written and wrote the first two syllables from
memory. Here is what he wrote.

He looked to see if he had spelled the first two syllables correctly and found
that he had.
William continued this procedure for the first three syllables of democratic
and then for the entire word.

Step 6. Once William had correctly spelled the entire word from memory,
he wrote democratic on his personal spelling list. He wrote both the entire
word and the word broken into syllables.

Step 7. William periodically reviewed the spelling of democratic using the


following Spell and Say Review Procedure:
1. He pronounced democratic aloud.
2. He pronounced and spelled aloud each syllable.
3. He spelled the entire word aloud.
4. He wrote democratic three times.

Using the Syllable-Building Strategy will make you a better speller.