| |

Here’s How To Teach Multisyllabic Words in Speech Therapy

Younger children with speech sound disorders may have trouble saying multi-syllabic words. This may be the result of motor planning or phonological difficulties. Longer words can be more challenging to say. Speech-language pathologists might therefore wish to select multisyllabic targets during speech therapy sessions. A multisyllabic word list for speech therapy is included in this article and contains 1-syllable, 2-syllable, 3-syllable, 4-syllable, and 5-syllable words. Strategies for teaching multisyllabic words in speech therapy are provided, and multisyllabic words speech therapy activities are also recommended. 

This is a blog post that features word lists, strategies, and activities to use in speech therapy while teaching multisyllabic words.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we could receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended.

Why Target Multisyllabic Words Speech Therapy

There are many reasons why speech-language pathologists might choose to target multisyllabic words in speech therapy.

One main reason SLPs might target multisyllabic words is to help increase a child’s intelligibility. Multisyllabic words can be especially difficult for children with speech sound disorders to produce. 

Multisyllabic words also provide a way to help children learn appropriate prosody. Stress, intonation, and rhythm all contribute to how intelligible a child’s speech is.

Targeting multisyllabic words also helps increase language skills, specifically in the area of vocabulary development.

It is also useful to target multisyllabic words as a way to help children prepare for reading and writing. There are many multisyllabic words in written language. 

Finally, SLPs might also wish to target multisyllabic words as an additional way to increase phonological awareness skills.

Articulation and Phonological Disorders

A speech therapist may work on multisyllabic words with children who have articulation disorders or phonological disorders.

According to ASHA, an articulation disorder is the ‘atypical production of speech sounds’. It can involve substitutions, omissions, additions, or distortions. Speech intelligibility can be negatively impacted.

A phonological disorder involves patterns of rule-based errors. 


Definitions of Communication Disorders and Variations. (2023). Retrieved 12 July 2023, from https://www.asha.org/policy/rp199300208/#:~:text=An%20articulation%20disorder%20is%20the,that%20may%20interfere%20with%20intelligibility.

This blog post provides multi-syllabic word lists for speech therapy: 1-syllable, 2-syllable, 3-syllable, 4-syllable, and 5-syllable words for speech therapy sessions

Weak Syllable Deletion

Children with phonological impairments may exhibit a process called syllable deletion. This happens when a syllable is omitted. An example of syllable deletion is saying ‘nana’ instead of ‘banana’.

Learn more about the different phonological processes.

Apraxia of Speech

Children who are diagnosed with apraxia of speech may have difficulty with the production of multisyllabic words. Read more about the characteristics of childhood apraxia of speech.

CAS (childhood apraxia of speech) is a neurological speech sound disorder that is characterized by difficulty with planning and programming movement that is required for speech.

Learn more about childhood apraxia of speech

Children’s Books with Multisyllabic Words

Speech therapists often use books in speech therapy.

It may be useful to choose books that feature multisyllabic words as a way to engage young children.

The book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is hilarious (bonus!) but also features multisyllabic words such as dragons, tacos, salsa, totally, gigantic, tortillas, tomatoes, accordions, comforting, jalapeno, conversations, decorations, and samaritan!

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is another great choice for working on multisyllabic words! This book features words such as: golden, swirly, rainbows, unicorn, magical, wonderful, important, magnificent, enchanted, and discover. 

SLPs might also wish to check out this ultimate list of children’s books for speech therapy.

Multisyllabic Word Puzzles

Why not use puzzle pieces as an engaging way to teach multisyllabic words?

Younger children will enjoy this puzzle set featuring fruits and vegetables. Many of the featured fruits and vegetables are multisyllabic words. 

Another option is this puzzle set which features 3 puzzles showcasing the world, the United States, and space. There are tons of states with multisyllabic names! 

7 Strategies for Teaching Multisyllabic Words

It is important that children learn how to say all of the syllables in a multisyllabic word.

Speech pathologists might wish to try a variety of strategies for the speech production of multisyllabic words.

  1. Backward chaining: this involves teaching the child to say the last syllable, then slowly go backward and add to it. An example would saying “fly”, then “terfly” and finally, “butterfly”.
  2. Forward chaining: this is the opposite of backward chaining! Start at the beginning, then slowly add syllables, like this: “buh”, “butter”, “butterfly”.
  3. Use pom poms or some sort of object to represent each syllable in a target word.
  4. Make a pacing board by drawing circles on a piece of paper. Tap a circle as you say each syllable.
  5. Emphasize the vowel or dipthong in each syllable. 
  6. Use gestures, such as circling your lips with your finger for the ‘oh’ sound, to highlight the vowels.
  7. Seeing the written word can be beneficial! Write out the word, then underline each syllable.

Phonological Awareness and Multisyllabic Words

Phonological awareness involves identifying and manipulating the sounds of spoken language. It is important to note that phonological awareness skills can have an impact on reading and writing.

In order to produce multisyllabic words, children need to have an understanding of phonological awareness tasks- specifically, syllable segmentation and blending. 

Syllable Segmentation

One example of a phonological awareness task is syllable segmentation. This involves segmenting words into syllables.

Syllable Blending

Another example of a phonological awareness task is syllable blending. Children will blend the syllables together in order to form a new word. 

Speech Therapy Phonological Awareness Activities

As previously mentioned in this article, speech-language pathologists may work on phonological awareness skills. 

Need a great resource to work on phonological awareness skills in speech therapy? Here are two activities and worksheets that speech therapists will want to check out!

Frog Syllable Segmentation

Check out this digital product that targets syllable segmentation.

Each word contains lily pads beneath it. 

For example, if there is a 3-syllable word, there are 3 lily pads beneath the picture.

Your students will love watching the frog hop from one lily pad to the next with the click of a button!

This is a segmenting words into syllables activity for speech therapy to target phonological awareness skills.

Ocean Animal Phonological Awareness Worksheets

These ocean-themed phonological awareness worksheets provide engaging ways to work on a variety of skills!

One worksheet has students clap out the number of syllables in a word, then trace a line to the correct answer choice.

Another worksheet has students identify if the words in bubbles rhyme or not.

 If they do, students give a thumbs up. If not, they give a thumbs down.

This is a speech therapy phonological awareness worksheet that targets segmenting words into syllables.

Multisyllabic Word Lists for Speech Therapy

Speech-language pathologists might enjoy using these multisyllabic word lists in speech therapy sessions.

Pair these word lists with a board game or another fun activity!

1-Syllable Words

This is a list of 1-syllable words that could be used in speech therapy. 

  1. bat
  2. bell
  3. cat
  4. cow
  5. cone
  6. dog
  7. fish
  8. barn
  9. horse
  10. pig

2-Syllable Words for Speech Therapy

Enjoy using these 2-syllable words in speech therapy.

  1. window
  2. airplane
  3. ice-cream
  4. popcorn
  5. apple
  6. honey
  7. flower
  8. turtle
  9. basket
  10. dolphin

3-Syllable Words Speech Therapy

Here is a list of 3-syllable words for speech therapy.

  1. butterfly
  2. alphabet
  3. basketball
  4. dinosaur
  5. hospital
  6. library
  7. Unicorn
  8. beautiful
  9. microphone
  10. umbrella

4-Syllable Words 

Need some 4-syllable words for speech therapy? Here you go!

  1. category
  2. celebration
  3. championship
  4. caterpillar
  5. watermelon
  6. alligator
  7. firefighter
  8. helicopter
  9. macaroni
  10. decoration

5-Syllable Words

These 5-syllable words will be perfect to use in your speech therapy session!

  1. congratulations
  2. determination
  3. imagination
  4. organization
  5. participation
  6. articulation
  7. cafeteria
  8. unforgettable
  9. examination
  10. apologetic

Multisyllabic Words Speech Therapy Activity

Looking for multisyllabic words speech therapy activities? Try out this recommended resource!

Mini Smash Mat Multisyllabic Words Speech Therapy Activity

Speech-language pathologists will want to check out this Weak Syllable Deletion activity for speech therapy! 

It is especially useful and engaging for preschool children with articulation and phonological disorders. 

Target words contain 2 and 3 syllables. 

The words are broken down into simple visuals that make it easy for kids to understand.

This is a multisyllabic words speech therapy activity that targets weak syllable deletion. It is useful for preschool or kindergarten speech therapy students.

Students can point to the small circles, or even smash play dough!

Speech-language pathologists might also wish to hide these cards in a sensory bin or some sort of fun container!

There are a total of 24 on-the-go mini smash mats for your speech therapy sessions. 

Each card contains a unique shape. The cards can be hole punched and arranged together using a binder ring. 

These cards are perfect for younger children with speech sound disorders. They provide a great way to really focus on all syllables in a target word.

The included picture visuals for each syllable emphasize the importance of saying each syllable in the word. 


In summary, a speech-language pathologist may wish to target multisyllabic words for a variety of reasons.

Targeting multisyllabic words may help increase a child’s speech intelligibility. Working on multisyllabic words can also assist with learning new vocabulary words and increasing phonological awareness skills. Finally, SLPs might also wish to target prosody skills while working on multisyllabic words. 

There are several strategies that speech therapists could use to teach multisyllabic words. 

This might include using backward chaining: in other words, teaching the child to say the last syllable, then slowly going backward and adding to it. 

SLPs might also use pom poms or other objects to represent each syllable in a word, and a pacing board might also be beneficial.

Speech therapists may wish to check out these phonological awareness and multisyllabic words speech therapy activities:

Related SLP Articles:

Similar Posts