Syllables are the beats that compose a word when you speak it.
WHY STUDY SYLLABLES? The syllable type controls the vowel sound. Since vowels can make different sounds, identifying the syllable usually identifies the right vowel sound.
WHY DOES THE DICTIONARY HAVE DIFFERENT SYLLABLE RULES? The difference is that the dictionary divides by morphemes, not phonemes. In decoding, we have students divide words by syllable division rules as in bi/king. The dictionary divides by morphemes bīk-ing because they are focusing on the word meaning. The dictionary puts a macron over the i to tell you the vowel sound is long.
When students are working on decoding, we use syllabication rules. When they have moved from decoding on to word analysis and morphology, we teach root words and affixes. The dictionary always uses the latter.
When you are reading, and you are stuck on a word, follow these syllable types to decode the word!
SIX SYLLABLE TYPES
1. In CLOSED (VC) syllables there is only one vowel, the vowel is usually short, and there is at least one consonant at the end.
sad rab/bit (~ 2 closed syllables)
This pattern is the most common. There are 12 variations: CVC (cup), CVCC (hand), CCVCC (fresh), CCVC (trip), CVCCC (match), CVCCe (judge), CCVCCC (crutch), CCVCCe (grudge), CCCVCC (script), VCC (add), VC (in), VCCC (inch).
5 exceptions to closed syllables are the glued/welded sounds: old, ild, ind, olt, ost as in sold, wild, find, bolt, most
GLUED/WELDED SOUNDS: all, am, an, ang, ing, ong, ung, ank, ink, onk, unk. When the letter a is in the glued pattern such as “-all” or when it comes after the letter w it makes the short o sound as in hot.
2. The SILENT E (VCe) syllable is when there is one vowel followed by a consonant and a final e. The vowel is long and the e is silent.
This is the 3rd most common pattern. There are 4 variations: CVCe (race), CCVCe (shave), CCCVCe (strike), VCe (ate).
3. The OPEN syllable (CV) is when the syllable ends with one vowel which will be long.
This is the 4th most common pattern. There are 2 variations: CCV (she), CV (we).
4. The R CONTROLLED syllable (Vr) is when the vowel sound is changed when followed by r ~ ar, or, and these 3, which sound exactly the same: er, ir, ur. Remember: Her turn first. Her bird burps.
5. The DIPHTHONG syllable (VV) has a combination of 2 vowels standing together that have one sound.
This is the 2nd most common pattern. There are 12 variations: CVVC (heat), CCVVC (treat), CVVCC (reach), CVV (pay), CCVV (play), CVVCe (leave), CCVVCC (bleach), CCVVCe (freeze), CCCVVC (sprain), VVC (oat), VVCC (each), CCCVV (three).
6. The CONSONANT LE syllable (Cle) is when a consonant is followed by le to form the syllable.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
- When dividing “liquid” into syllables – remember that qu has 2 phonemes – /k/ /w/ – that’s where we divide it in speech (lik-wid). It gets tricky when one phonogram has 2 sounds.
- Remember that sight words do not necessarily follow the syllabication rules, for example have has a silent e, but a is the short sound.
- Every syllable has one vowel sound.
- The number of vowel sounds in a word equals the number of syllables. home sub/ject pub/lish/ing
- A one syllable word is never divided. stop feet bell
- Consonant blends and digraphs are NEVER separated. rest/ing bush/el reach/ing Keep this in mind when you have 4 medial consonants.
- When there are 3 medial consonants, usually the first consonant goes with the first vowel, and the second two go with the second vowel. This is considered the 1st division rule. ~ VC/CCV as in con/tract
- When a word has a ck or x in it, the word is usually divided after the ck or x. nick/el tax/i
- When two or more consonants come between two vowels in a word, it is usually divided BETWEEN the two consonants. sis/ter but/ter hun/gry
- When a SINGLE consonant comes between two vowels in a word, it is divided AFTER the consonant if the vowel is SHORT. This is considered the 3rd division rule. lev/er cab/in hab/it
- . . .but if this doesn’t sound right, divide BEFORE the consonant, to make the vowel long! ba/sin fe/ver ma/jor
- When 2 vowels come together in a word, sometimes they are sounded separately. Divide the word between the 2 vowels. di/et po/em ge/ode
- A compound word is divided BETWEEN the two words that make the compound word. in/side foot/ball tooth/brush
- tion and ture at the end of a word makes their own syllable. lo/tion pos/ture
- When a syllable or word ends in al or el, these are usually the last syllable. lev/el u/su/al
- The past tense ed at the end of a word forms its own syllable only when preceded by d or t. want/ed fund/ed
- Prefixes and suffixes makes their own syllables. un/kind kind/ness thank/ful stuff/ing dis/like
|Identify and Remove Affixes||Divide Between the Consonants||Closed 1st Syllable (short sound)VC/V||Open 1st Syllable (long sound)V/CV|
Some information was taken from Mary Briggs – Orton Gilliingham – Commonwealth Learning Center, Newton, MA
I am happy to share my pages, but please cite me as you would expect your students to cite their sources.