Teaching Syllable rules

There are 7 syllable types.  I use the anacronym CLOVER for the 6 main rules.

*Compound Words (which are usually the first multisyllable words introduced to young readers, although the component words are actually a combination of 2 of the other 6 types.  Examples are:  cup/cake, rain/coat, pop/corn.

*C–cvc/–Closed syllables have a short vowel with 1 to 3 consonants following it.   "When a vowel is closed by a consonant door, it says its short sound."  Examples are:  rob/in, nap/kin, kit/ten, hun/dred.

*L–/cLE–Consonant LE syllables are found at the end of a word and are divided before the consonant that comes before the LE.  I use a silly phrase that helps students remember this rule: "-le in little BEFORE the BEFORE."  Examples are:  no/ble, jun/gle, mar/ble

*O–cv/–Open syllables have a vowel hanging open at the end of a syllable.  The vowel usually has a long sound.  "When a vowel is left open, it says its own name."  Examples are: mo/ment, va/ca/tion.

*V–cvvc/ or cv/vc–Double vowels can be a usual digraph, such as ea, ai, or oa, which is not divided and the first vowel has a long sound.  Double vowels that are not a usual combination, such as ia or eu, can be divided between the two vowels to make a multisyllable word, such as dial or museum.

*E–cvce–Silent e syllables can come in the middle of a word, but are usually found at the end of a word.  Of ten the vowel preceding the silent e has a long sound, although no English word ends with the letter v, so a silent e that follows the “v” may or may not affect the preceding vowel.  Examples are:  in/vite, home/sick, in/ten/sive.

*R–cvr–R-controlled syllables have a vowel followed by an r and can be found in any syllable of a word.  While ar and or have distinctive sounds, any vowel followed by an r can be pronounced /ur/.  Examples are:  car/pet, fur/ther/more, thir/sty.

I usually take a lesson or two to introduce the concept of syllable division and give an overview of the syllable types.  Then I teach in-depth and have students practice each rule until mastered and automatic, both in reading and spelling.  I usually use the following sequence for the in-depth practice–Compounds; Closed; Introduce or review common suffixes, such as -ed, -ing, -tion, -ness, -ment; Silent e; Open; Consonant-LE; R-Controlled; and Double Vowels.

I have used several workbook and curricular series when teaching these rules.  I enjoy using Megawords with students grade 4 and up.  Explode the Code Book 4 is great for younger students who still need larger space for writing.  These items can be found in our catalog in the Phonics or Vocabulary sections.  I also use the Wilson Reading System with some of my students.  If you are interested in information about this program, contact us by e-mail at info@wisdomseekersinc.com  or phone at 1-406-771-0069.


1 Comment

  1. October 20, 2008 at 11:10 am

    […] teaching reading or spelling, it is important that students understand all six syllable types. https://wisdomseekersinc.wordpress.com/2006/03/27/teaching-syllable-rules/    As was mentioned in the group discusssion that I began this post with, don’t get […]

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