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Lesson Plan

Spelling in Parts: Learning to Spell, Write, and Read Polysyllabic Words

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time One 30-minute session
5- to 10-minute follow-up sessions
Lesson Author

Debbie A. Powell, Ed.D.

Wilmington, North Carolina


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology




  • Clipboards (optional)

  • Paper and pencils

  • Polysyllabic environmental print

  • Whiteboard or chalkboard

  • Writing folders or notebooks

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1. Familiarize yourself with the Spelling in Parts (SIP) strategy. You will model the strategy and provide demonstrations as needed. The strategy involves having students:
a. Say and clap a word in syllables.

b. Divide the word into syllables as they pronounce each syllable. (You may check that it is a reasonable division without teaching syllabication rules. For example, the legal division for bucket would be buck-et; buc-ket is acceptable, but not bu-cket)

c. Say a syllable, and spell it; say a syllable, and spell it. (Check that students are saying each phoneme within the syllable as they have marked them.)

d. Circle syllables with difficult spelling patterns.

e. Study circled syllables; possibly think of a mnemonic or analogy to recall the spelling pattern (e.g., the mnemonic to-get-her may require the student to divide the word differently to recall the syllables; a student may recall the spelling of the first syllable in frighten by associating it with light: I was frightened by the light).

f. Cover. Say a syllable and write the syllable. Repeat as necessary until the word is finished.
2. To teach this lesson, you will need a whiteboard and marker or chalkboard and chalk. It is also helpful to have a sheet of paper to cover the words. Students will need paper (preferably on a clipboard) and pencils, individual white boards and markers, or individual chalkboards and chalk. They will also need an eraser if using the whiteboard or chalkboard.

3. The environmental print displayed on word walls, bulletin boards, posters, and calendars in your classroom will likely contain polysyllabic words that can be used in this lesson. If your room does not have environmental print as described, have newspapers or books with polysyllabic words in the titles displayed on the chalk ledge.

4. Although students will be expected to divide words into syllables, no previous knowledge is necessary. In preparing for the lesson, you may find it helpful to review rules for syllabication for your own background knowledge. It is always helpful if you can point out tips about syllable rules while students are in the process of learning or practicing this strategy.

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