The Importance of Syllables and Freebies !

My "AHA" moment around Syllables
     As I glide through this year, I began noticing a relationship between playing with syllables in the younger grades and understanding how to chunk words into syllables at the upper grades. I have noticed that as teachers explicitly teach phonemic segmentation  and nonsense words, the students gain a greater understanding about syllables. Gradually over time, first and second grade students seem more confident in their abilities to segment words into syllables as they begin to read words with multiple syllables.

   My "AHA" moment came as I was getting ready to write this post! When students in grades 2-5 realize that the clapping syllables and separating them into categories in younger grades supports them into breaking words into syllable types at the older grades... decoding may become easier for our older struggling readers.  

   An older student may benefit from explicit instruction in different types of syllables if he/she is only paying attention to the beginning or ending of words in oral reading. In addition, if their substitutions don't make sense within the sentence, it may be that the student is only attending to part of the visual cue.

   So, let's start off this post by looking and learning about the 6 syllable types...

The 6 Types of Syllables

1. Closed Syllable-- a syllable with 1 vowel followed by 1 or more consonants. A consonant, consonant blend, or consonant blend may be in front of the vowel or not. The vowel makes it's short sound and is marked with a breve.
Examples include: cat, hog, ask, chip, flop

After students learn the CVC rule and the basic closed syllable, they are introduced to consonant digraphs, consonant blends, and the exceptions to the closed syllable rule.

2. Vowel-Consonant-E Syllable-- a syllable that has one vowel followed by a consonant then an "e". The final "e" makes the vowel say its name, or it's long sound, and the "e" s silent. The vowel is marked with a macron.

Examples include: ride, throne, jute, shine, grade, smile

3. Open Syllables-a syllable that ends with 1 vowel. The vowel is long and is marked with a macron. This is the stage where students learn that "y" at the end of a word acts as a vowel sound. In a one    syllable word, a final "y" at the end of a word usually makes the long "i" sound.

Examples include: hi, me, shy, flu, she, cry

In a 2 syllable word, such as funny, baby, candy, the final "y" usually makes the long "e" sound.
4. Consonant -Le Syllable-- This syllable has a consonant followed by "le"  and it's the last syllable in the word. There are only 3 letters in this syllable. The final "e" is silent and syllable sounds like a blend as in the word, "muzzle".

Examples include: dribble, cable, puzzle, apple, tremble

5. Vowel-R Syllable: This syllable has a vowel followed by an "r". These are also known as "r-controlled vowels" and they don't have a short or long sound. The "r" controls the vowel so it makes a different sound. The sounds of "er" ,"ir" and "ur" sound similar. This set of words can be difficult for students to learn to spell.

Examples include: star, turn, bird, fern, short

It is common for students to try to read these syllables as a closed syllable. A prompt to look at the consonant after the vowel to see the "r": "It could be a closed syllable, but look at the letter after the vowel."

6. Vowel Team or Double Vowel Syllables--This syllable has two vowels that make one sound within the word. It is important to teach these sounds separately  as not all of the pairs follow the "When two vowels go walking the first ones does the talking" rule. Actually, only 40% of the vowel teams follow the "walking and talking" rule.

Examples include: foot, seed, sauce, tail, coin

 Two Freebies to support you in teaching syllables:

  1. The Six Syllable Types- Mini Poster
2. A Sweet Treat for sorting open and closed syllables with the Long Vowel Sound of "y" -- Head on over to our Facebook page and download this fan freebie until February 14, 2014

What types of Word Work or Syllable Activities do you do in your teaching? Please comment below!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing with us! Just so everyone knows this is in Appendix A on page 21 of the CCSS for ELA.

    1. Thanks... I am doing this as an intro to a series where I show different resources, ideas and lessons for syllables and other types of word work.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I love how all of the rules and I think it would be great to explicitly teach these to students.

    Krista Mahan
    Teaching Momster

    1. Krista,

      Thanks for commenting ! I will be sharing activities and ideas and fun ways of how to explicitly teach these to students !

      Wendy D.