Syllable Style:Closed Syllable Words

Hi! This is Wendy from Ms. D's Literacy Lab! I am beginning my first post in a series on syllable types to help your students decode and become fluent readers and spellers! 

 Knowing how to decode multisyllabic words is essential for 2nd-5th grade students because most of the words they will encounter in print are "unfamiliar and big" words.

Benefits of Syllable Instruction

Research shows that when good readers see an unfamiliar multisyllabic word, they look for smaller units like consonant blends and digraphs, vowel patterns, prefixes, suffixes, and syllables. After looking at it closely, they begin to pronounce it based on their word knowledge.

  I am working with my 3rd-5th graders who are struggling readers on syllable types and patterns.  Although there are exceptions in many English words and how they are pronounced,  struggling readers will greatly benefit from learning syllable types and patterns.  As students begin to notice the patterns in the English language, like they see patterns in math, their reading becomes more fluent and their attention adjusts to comprehending the story and deeper understandings.

What is a closed syllable?

A closed syllable is a vowel followed by at least one consonant.  The final consonant closes in the vowel so it makes a short vowel sound.   Another effective phrase is, "The consonant closes the door on the vowel".   Knowing that the "door" stops the vowel from saying its long sound has helped many of my intermediate students who are English Language Learners. 

 Words with closed syllables are introduced in kindergarten -second grade classrooms through shared reading, word work, word walls and literacy centers.  At the primary level, they are known as "short vowel words" or "CVC" words.  Words with closed syllables include many high frequency sight words and words featured in emergent and early readers. 

Closed syllables have 12 different patterns:

 Knowledge of syllable patterns helps students know where to divide the word into syllables in order to decode and read it easily. 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on this post. Do you have any questions about closed syllable words ?

** Clipart courtesy of Monster Wrangler Mike and Font by Luckeyfrog--TpT
** Close the door idea comes from Ms. Hazelton--The Wise Owl Teacher on TpT


  1. Working with syllable patterns is part of our everyday intervention routine for grades 3-5. This is a valuable skill for students learning to attack multisyllabic words. I can't wait for the rest of your series. I'm looking forward to some fresh ideas! :)
    Read with Me ABC

  2. Thanks, Wendy ! I have to work it in for my grades 3-5 as well. I hope to offer some freebies and other materials down the road as we go. I appreciate the kind comment ! :)

  3. Very interested in this series. We use several scripted programs which don't quite cover this important skill. Hoping to be able to develop my own intervention which is more effective. Enjoyed this topic greatly!
    Burke's Special Kids

    1. Thanks so much Sebrina...I became interested in this when I started looking at my grades 3-5 gaps.

  4. Love that "close the door" idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. It will help out with my struggling readers greatly! Can't wait to see what is next in the series.

    Reading Toward the Stars

  5. I will enjoy this one...since I'm constantly working with phonics at my different grade levels... My students are my best teachers ! Thanks !

  6. THANK YOU! I have been looking for information and approaches to teaching syllables. I teach kindergarten, but this will help.

    1. Thanks Karen ! As you can see, syllables start off with those simple CVC words in K-1. I will try to integrate some easier ideas for the lower grades as well !