How to Teach Syllable Types

A syllable is "a letter, or combination of letters, uttered together, or at a single effort or impulse of the voice," according to Webster's 1828 dictionary. Sometimes teachers refer to syllables as word chunks. Every syllable must contain a vowel.

How to Teach What a Syllable Is

It is important for students to recognize syllables in words. When they are able to say one syllable at a time, spelling becomes much easier. Fortunately, recognizing syllables is an easy concept to teach. Here is sample dialogue for demonstrating to your student what a syllable is:

  • “All words have syllables. A word might have one, two, or even more syllables.”
  • Reading has two syllables: read (clap)—ing (clap).” To demonstrate, clap as you say each syllable.
  • Blue has one syllable: blue (clap).”
  • Pumpkin has two syllables: pump (clap)—kin (clap).”
  • “Now you try. Clap your hands for each syllable in the word pig.”

Have your student practice with these words:










Another good method for teaching how to count syllables is to put your hand under your chin. Say the word and count the number of times your jaw drops.

Types of Syllables

There are six types of syllables:

  1. A closed syllable ends in a consonant. The vowel has a short vowel sound, as in the word bat.
  2. An open syllable ends in a vowel. The vowel has a long vowel sound, as in the first syllable of apron.
  3. A vowel-consonant-e syllable is typically found at the end of a word. The final e is silent and makes the next vowel before it long, as in the word name.
  4. A vowel team syllable has two vowels next to each other that together say a new sound, as in the word south.
  5. A consonant+l-e syllable is found in words like handle, puzzle, and middle.
  6. An r-controlled syllable contains a vowel followed by the letter r. The r controls the vowel and changes the way it is pronounced, as in the word car.

How Our Program Teaches Syllable Types

  • All About Spelling has determined the best sequence for teaching the syllable types for maximum learning and retention.
  • Students gain confidence and master one syllable type at a time.
  • Your job as teacher is made much easier with the complete lightly-scripted lesson plans.
  • Letter tiles are used to demonstrate syllable types. The specially color-coded letter tiles make it easy for you to show students the concepts in a way they will remember.
  • The All About Spelling program puts your students on the fast-track to mastering the six syllable types.