There are indeed 6 types of syllables. Knowing the different kinds of syllables will help the children move as readers from reading basic single syllable words to multi-syllabic words like watermelon and helicopter.
Although children shouldn't be trying to decode multi syllabic words until they have mastered single syllable words with blends, digraphs, short vowels, long vowel patterns, r controlled vowels, diphthongs and other vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes.
In my second grade class, I'm still working on fluency with short vowels with several of my students, but my top readers are very much able to decode multi syllabic words, as well as spell them!
Here are the six kinds of syllables:
- Closed Syllable - These are short vowels followed by a consonant, such as num in number, or vel in velvet.
- Vowel Consonant e Syllable - This is your classic long vowel/ silent e pattern such as ade in parade or cide in decide.
- Open Syllable - These are long vowel syllables that end with the vowel such as ta in table and spi in spider.
- Consonant l e Syllable - These are at the ends of words like ble in table and tle in little.
- R- Controlled Syllable - These have an r controlled vowel such as gar in garden and der in under.
- Vowel Digraph/ Diphthong "D" Syllable - These contain a diphthong or a vowel diagraph. (Sometimes called "vowel teams") Examples are thou as in thousand and poi as in poison.
Why is it important to teach syllables? When readers break words into syllables, the words become easier to decode. Learning about syllables also help students remember spelling patterns. Knowing how to decode syllables will help children become more fluent readers, and studies show that fluency helps comprehension. And that's our goal, isn't it?
Many teachers teach syllables by having the children clap the beat of the syllables. This works for most children. A more tactile way is to teach the children to place their hand under their jaw as they say the words. As the mouth will open for every vowel sound (and each syllable represents a vowel sound) the jaw will tap the hand for each syllable.
Want to read more about syllables?
- Six Syllable Types on Reading Rockets was co-written by my instructor of the LETRS training, so it's got to be quality information! (And interesting, too!)
- Vocabulary.co.il has a couple of syllable games and videos for the kids.
I've put together a freebie with a couple of lists that can be used for practicing with syllables. There are a few options for using my syllables lists. They could be used simply as lists for children to practice reading. They could also be cut out and shuffled, for the kids to sort. They could sort by syllable type, or simply how many syllables are in the words. Click HERE for your freebie.