Word Stress

Published on 12th March, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

successWe can focus our students on word stress by simply saying the word, eliciting the stress, then drilling it. However, there are plenty of different ways you can do this, which can easily be incorporated into your teaching repertoire.

-You can ask students to use coins to mark the stress on a word, e.g. one (or possibly two) larger coins, then two or three smaller ones. Say the word clearly, and students display the coins accordingly on their desk. ‘Read’ their words back to check they have marked the stress correctly.

– If you have access to dictionaries, set the activity up as a race and challenge students to be the first to find the word stress.

– Give the students options when eliciting where the stress is. Say the word properly, then give different options, e.g. You write original. Ask: is it original, original, or original? Hold up one, two or three fingers as you give each option to represent the stressed syllable. Students then just identify the correct one, before repeating it themselves.

– A fun, physical way to show word stress is to do the first activity, but instead of using coins, use the students themselves. Put students in groups of three or four (depending on your choice of words). Ensure that there is one taller person in each group. Say different words, and students group themselves accordingly from left to right, with the tall person representing the stressed syllable. ‘Read’ the students to check which group has the right stress.