Move the Word Stress

line drawing of four wrists and hands

Purpose:  A simple kinesthetic way to help learners count syllables and practice word stress  

Preparation Time:  none

Materials Needed:  a list of weekly vocabulary words


  1. Say a word from the weekly unit. Emphasize the syllable that is stressed.
  2. Have the learners repeat the word, emphasizing the stressed syllable.
  3. You may need to repeat steps one and two several times, and learners may need additional support if they are struggling with a word.
  4. Model saying the word while showing the stress with your hand. Hold your hand low for unstressed syllables, and raise it for the stressed syllable.
  5. Have the learners repeat the word, showing the stress with their hands.
  6. Repeat the process with the next word.

Want to see this activity in action? Check out Open Door Lake Street teacher Mya as she works with her class through this routine! You can see find her Word Stress Routine video at, or see it on the MN ABE Professional Development Youtube channel at

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