Long Words: Handling
can tell who learned to read from phonics instruction, and who didn't, by how
well people do in pronouncing big, long words. You could call them
"polysyllabic." Or you could call them "humdingers."
you are faced with an unfamiliar word with lots and lots of letters in it, you
need to "sound it out." You attack it from left to right, silently
"pronouncing" the different syllables. Then you can see what root words,
prefixes and suffixes are at work.
people taught to read with Whole Language techniques, chiefly sight reading,
have trouble "hearing" the different syllables in order to sound out a longer
word. Their eyes tend to skip from front to back and front again, and they get
all mixed up.
instruction teaches children the various rules of pronunciation, such as when
you use the long vowel and when you use the short one, and that helps a lot.
But with sight reading, the sense of sound is basically back-burnered, so those
cues aren't helpful when dealing with serious vocabulary words.
just another reason we need our schools to stick with phonics-only reading instruction
in the early grades. It's the best foundation for handling humdingers on down
the road. Sadly, though, most teachers don't know how to give phonics-only
instruction. We need parents and the public to demand it.
you don't have good phonics skills, the best thing to do is to look up a long
word in the dictionary and follow the pronunciation guide that's given in
parenthesis. Then you can handle humdingers . . . and be thankful you don't
have to handle them too often!
opposition to separation
of the church and state.
longest word that Shakespeare ever used was another form of this:
honorificabilitudinitatibus. Costard, the clown, uses it in Love's Labour's Lost:
marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by
the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a
Estimating something as
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
026 • © 2006