Analysis of the longer word misunderstanding.
The word misunderstanding is composed of four major parts: The two prefixes mis- and under-, the
base word stand, and the suffix -ing.
The base word stand is composed of two simple parts, the initial consonant blend st plus the word
family sound -and. There are many common words that begin st- such as:
stop stand stick step stare
There are at least 87 common words that belong to the -and family such as:
band hands handed handing
sand sands sanded sanding
land lands landed landing
brand brands branded branding
hand hands handed handing
stand stands standing
The suffix -ing is one of the most commonly occurring suffixes in English.
The prefix under is a common word by itself and a common prefix as well. Even its parts are
common. -Un is a common base sound in the -un family with words like run, sun, fun, etc. -er is a
common sound occurring in both prefixes and suffixes such as per- and greater as well as common
words such as her. The medial sound /d/ in under is a common sound in initial positions in common
words such as dog, ending positions in common words such as bad.
The prefix mis- is a common and very important prefix in many commonly used words such as
mistake and misspell.
Going backwards — or from the end of the word it becomes clear that all the word parts of the long
word misunderstanding are short and are commonly occurring elements.
-ing 3 letters
and anding 3 letters + 3 = 6 letters
st standing 2 letters + 3 + 3 = 8 letters,
er erstanding 2.letters + 2 + 3 + 3 = 10 letters
d derstanding 1 letter + 2 +2 + 3 + 3 = 11 letters
un understanding 2 letters + 1+ 2 + 2 + 3 + 3 = 13 letters
mis misunderstanding 3 letters + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 3 = 16 letters.
Copyright © 1997 AVKO Educational Research Foundation, Inc.
When I first saw the Sequential Spelling technique demonstrated, I couldn’t believe what I saw with my own eyes. I watched Don McCabe take a woman who had to struggle to even put the letters s-a-d-r on paper when asked to spell the word scattered, and get her to spell that word correctly the next time he asked her to spell it.
At first, I felt like I was watching a magic show, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that what Don McCabe was doing made perfect sense. He was letting the woman discover for herself the phonics of our language by letting her learn from her mistakes the moment she made them. And all the time he was building her confidence using one of the oldest and best teaching gimmicks of all time -- praise.
The other aspect of his technique that appealed to me then and still does now, is that he quickly builds from a little sound such as “at” to interesting words or colorful words such as brat to powerful words such as flattery. The adult knows that the spelling words are not just for little children. Little children wouldn’t get words like these to spell in their spelling books. That’s for sure.
The best part of the entire program, as I see it, is the way the adult learners self-confidence is dramatically built. You should see the look in the eyes of adults when they discover that they can spell a word they don’t even recall ever having seen, but they know they have spelled it right because they know how to spell the sounds in the word.
Faye Lapp, Director
Tuscola County Literacy Volunteers,