A Multitude of Multisyllables


Practice dividing words into syllables while building team spirit!

The deck of cards is composed of 30 words of a particular syllable type. In the deck pictured here, you see r controlled –or– words. It’s important to have words of varying lengths, from two to five syllables long.  Arrange small post-its to make a game track and label the first and last one Start and Finish. I usually stick them in the shape of a mountain on a whiteboard, but you can choose your own lay-out on a table. One playing piece is used for all the players. The object is to work together to get it to the finish line.

On his or her turn, a player takes a card and reads the word. If correct, s/he    determines the number of syllables in the word and advances the group’s playing piece that number of squares on the game track. If s/he is not correct, the playing piece doesn’t advance, and the next player can choose to take another stab at the misread word card instead of picking a new word card from the deck.

It works well to have the players check each other. I’ve established a system in which the player to the right of the reader checks to see if the word has been correctly identified. While it may sound counterintuitive, this framework helps to cultivate a sense of support and camaraderie in even the most competitive of groups.


You can write the number of syllables on the back of the cards and arrange them face down in piles of 2, 3, 4, and 5 syllable words. On each turn, a player decides how many syllables s/he wants to try for. The advantage of this version is that weaker decoders can control the level of challenge they’ll encounter. And if you use this game format throughout the year, children get to see their progress as they move into reading words of steadily increasing length.

-or- Word List:

2   sylls.                3   sylls.            4   sylls.            5  sylls.
northward            portable          elevator            unaffordable
forlorn                  recorder          corporation      ordinarily
foreword              misinform        reordering        immortality
cordless                tornado            operator          misinformation
porthole                reported           decoration
torture                   correction        escalator
hornet                    effortless
snorkel                   importance