Clap out the Syllables in Longer Words

Clap out the Syllables in Longer Words
ALL CHILDREN drop syllables from longer words at some point in their development. Its called 'weak syllable deletion' - and it just means that they drop the weaker, less pronounced syllable from the word. Take the word 'dinosaur' for example - say it in your head or out loud. Can you hear that the 'nuh' in the middle is a shorter, less stressed syllable? Try 'computer' - in computer, the 'com' is the less stressed syllable. If you try and say those words with equal stress on each syllable you sound like a robot!

For this reason - children make some really predictable errors.
Animals --> "amous"
Container --> "tainer"
Helicopter --> "copter" or "heycopter"
aeroplane --> "airplane"
Banana --> "Nana"

Even though this is a pretty typical thing for kids to do when they're learning to talk, it has a big impact on how easy they are to understand. As adults, we're listening for familiar patterns of syllables that make up our language. When a syllable is missing from a sentence, we struggle to work out where one word ends and another word starts. Dropping syllables typically stops happening around age 4, but if it continues it can make kids really hard to understand.

It's super easy to help your little one to hear all the syllables - just clap, tap, stomp or bang them out as you say the word slowly and with equal stress on each syllable! You can do this in response to something they've said or when you come to a long word in a story.

Child: "put it in the washingsheen"
Adult, "wa-shing-ma-shine, yes I'll put it in the wa-shing-ma-shine".

Doing this helps your little one to:

  • hear all the speech sounds in the word.
  • hear all the seperate parts
  • start to understand how syllables work. Being able to tap out syllables is a HUGE skill for literacy.

Try it! Also don't be afraid to use the word 'syllable', ie "there's 4 syllables in that word". Some people substitute it for the word 'beats' or 'taps' but our kids are capable of learning new words - it's in our own heads that it's too hard to learn. 👏👏👏

Let me know how it goes.

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