IEP Goals for Decoding Multisyllables

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Teacher, Butterfly, Table, Pencil, Helicopter – Do you know what is common about these words? Well, these are multisyllable words. If you know the sequence of these multisyllables, you can sound out and spell the words correctly. Hence, decoding multisyllables is one of the necessary elements of speech therapy. It is required for those kids who have issues with speech articulation or have conditions like apraxia.

What does decoding multisyllables mean?

Decoding multisyllables simply means breaking the word into vowels and consonant sounds, in a logical combination. It involves steps such as:

a. Chunking: Teachers guide the students to concentrate on individual vowels and consonant combinations. For example, when they ask students to say ‘Mat’, they can make them clap once at shutting the mouth to produce the ‘M’ sound, and the next clap coincides with the ending of the ‘T’ sound. Since it is a monosyllabic word, the mouth will be opened only once. (It is a hint to differentiate monosyllables from multi- ones.)

b. Combining: Students may combine vowels with consonants lying next to each other, and count how many times the mouth opened or shut in the process, to determine if the word is multisyllabic. For example, in Teacher, One combination will be ‘teach’ and the other will be ‘er’. Similarly, in Basket, the first set is ‘Bas’ and the other is ‘Ket’.

Having understood how monosyllables and multisyllables constitute the unit of pronunciation, let’s move on to IEP goals formation for decoding multisyllables. Before that, let’s take a quick recap of how to form IEP goals for teaching multisyllables.

Forming IEP goals for decoding multisyllables

The SMART approach discussed in our previous IEP goals formulation for NVLD post applies to this process too. Hence, multisyllables decoding IEP goals (According to the Oregon Department of Education) should:

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1. Provide a summative approach to building skills: It should start small and gradually add up.

2. The progress should be calculable: The learning should tell what has been learned in the most accurate terms. Such as, mastered 3 monosyllable words by a specific date.

3. The goal should be relevant: Its relevance is derived from the assessment of student’s abilities while keeping parent and teacher in the loop. So, a progress is a progress, and may mean different for individuals seeking multi-syllablic competence.

Keeping all these factors in mind, let’s move to the list of IEP goals for decoding multisyllabic words as tabulated in the National Center on Intensive Intervention and other departments of US state education.

List of IEP goals for teaching how to decode multisyllables

A typical IEP goal for learning decoding of multisyllables as part of speech therapy reads like ‘Stephen will decode single syllable word 4 out of 5 times by a set date.” Based on this pattern, students can have IEP goals chalked out as:

  1. Decoding multisyllables: The child will learn to decode 36 multisyllabic words out of the list of 40 words comprising closed, open, consonant, C-V-e, and vowel team syllables. He will decode these fluently 80% of the time.
  2. On showing pictures: When shown 10 pictures:
    • the child will articulate sound at syllable level 80% of times
    • the child will articulate sound of (vowels) in a verbal model and then in non-verbal at the word level, 4 out of 5 times or 80% accuracy.
    • the student will articulate the sound of vowels or consonants or V-C, C-V, etc. at phrase level with 80% accuracy.
    • the student will articulate chosen sound at sentence level with 80% accuracy.
    • the student will pronounce a complete word in a sentence with 80% exactness.
  3. On reading a storybook: Child will pronounce correctly the chosen sound in the position of words at his reading level; total errors allowed 5.
  4. While reading written passages: Child will read with no more than 2 mistakes in a five-minute oral reading, at least twice.
  5. After listening to a short story:
    • The child shall retell the story by articulating all words in a conversational tone, the words remembered should be repeated at least twice.
    • The child shall form WH words questions with 80% accuracy
  6. From a 10-minute language sample: From the sample, the child may articulate or pronounce all positions of words in a conversational manner – 80% time.
  7. Moving to curriculum reading materials: In a simulated and then in the real 20-minute classroom, the child shall articulate chosen vowels or consonant sounds in 4 out of 5 instances
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Once done at chosen sound level, the children are made to move to target vowel and then to consonant blending, in firstly the broken manner, and then in running speech.

Later, the marks are made in the sentences to indicate pauses. The child reads as suggested by pauses with 80% articulation level.

Finally, a short story is given to the child at the end of chosen IEP session to read. The child discusses the story in amply comprehensible and intelligently poised manner – 5 out of 5 times.

Summing up,

Reading is an important skill to wield for attaining proficiency in basic academic activities. While discussing the IEP goals for decoding multisyllable words, you must enquire about the strategies used by the teacher to teach phonics. Once you learn about the strategies like clozure activity, marking vowels, blending sounds by opening and closing of lips, or use of various parts of the mouth to produce sound, you can give ample practice to the child at home. Little steps taken can help the child with LDs take a big leap and become fluent readers of long words.


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