Articles on: Literacy

Early Years: Screening Syllablification (syllables) can you clarify?

In the PLD process for the Early Years, the Term 1 skill is the ability to blend and segment syllables. After targtyeed teaching delivered over each day of attendance, in week 6 or 7 a 1 minute subtest is presented.

Just a few quick questions about Subtest 1 results that I have observed, if you could please comment on the points below:

Some students are pronouncing the word 'Octopus' as Optopus however they have correctly broken up the word into 3 syllables. Is this ok? Can I mark it as correct?

Response: Speech immaturaties are common in the Early Years. Yes mark as correct, but note that /k/ is pronounced as /p/. The student is marking the syllables, into three, but a speech error is present.

One of my students can correctly break up the words into the correct syllables however her movement from head, shoulder to hips does not synchronise with what she verbalises. Her hand movements are faster than what she verbalises. Can I mark her as correct? Or should I re-test? Or just write observations down as part of notes?

Response: We are marking the ability to break words into large sound units and not the associated movements. Again, mark as correct.

One of my students has broken up the following words into the correct number of syllables but what she verbalises does not match with what we've taught. Are the following incorrect? ie.

Elephant (el/e/phant)
Camel (cam/el)
Zebra (ze/bra)

Response: Yes - the child is marking the syllables, so that is fine. The divisions are not perfect, but they are demonstrating enough skill at this stage.

Some parents have been "correcting" us in saying that vegetables has 4 syllables as opposed to 3 syllables (veg-e-ta-bles). What can we say to this?
Maybe the parents are not pronouncing the words correctly.

Response: Keep in mind that phonological and phonemic awareness is often best taught by teachers and not parents. They have likely not had enough training to present the skill properly.

Updated on: 23/03/2021

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