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If A Third-grade Student Writes, “My New Puppy Is Very Plafull,” What Does His Misspelling Of The Word Playful Most Likely Indicate?

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Question: If a third-grade student writes, “My new puppy is very plafull,” what does his misspelling of the word playful most likely indicate?

  • He has not identified the phonemes in the word.
  • He needs a good review of basic letter-sound correspondences.
  • He needs to learn to think about the morphemes, or meaningful parts, in longer words.
  • He needs more review of open and closed syllable combinations.

Answer: He needs to learn to think about the morphemes, or meaningful parts, in longer words.

The misspelling “plafull” for “playful” suggests:

“He needs to learn to think about the morphemes, or meaningful parts, in longer words.”

The error comes from not recognizing that “playful” is made up of the base word “play” and the suffix “-ful.” Instead, the student has transcribed the word phonetically based on how it sounds.

Recognizing morphemes helps in spelling longer words correctly, as it allows the student to break the word down into its meaningful components and spell each one accurately.

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