A syllable is a unit of pronunciation with one vowel sound. It could be the whole word or it could be part of a word. The vowel sound in a syllable is made by one or more vowels.
∙One syllable word: bike.
∙Two syllable word eagle.
∙Three syllable word: elephant.
Teaching/Learning to Read
VIDEO: Break up and put together big words
Huge words are syllables brought together to make a word. The vowel sounds make our chins go down when we speak. Vowel sounds create syllables. Place your fingers under your chin. Say the word “table” out loud. You can feel your jaw drop two times. First for the open syllable “ta”, then for the -cle syllable “ble.” RULE: EVERY SYLLABLE NEEDS A VOWEL SOUND!
The goal is to read words quickly. Breaking words into syllables helps us read unknown words. As long as the word gets read correctly, the exact method of breaking up the word counts as successful!
- To Read: Break words into syllables, read the word syllable by syllable, and if it does not make sense adjust from there.
- To Spell: Say word in its syllables and spell one syllable at a time.
Teach and add schwa endings from the Big Sounds Pack to daily practice.
TEACH ALONG THE WAY ●●●
Compound words are 2 words with no space between them. Due to being complete words, they often break known “rules.” For example the Magic e comes at the end of the word, however, being at the end of the word “base” puts it in the middle of the word “baseball.”
Schwa endings: There are a group of endings with the schwa sound (-sion, -tion, -tious, -tient, -cion, -cial, -cious, -xion, -xious, -ture) where ci, ti, si and xi say /sh/. See Schwa Challenge wordlists below.
Morphology – building words with meaningful chunks. While learners start to become more comfortable with longer words and word parts, it is a good time to practice noticing that words are be built by adding prefixes and suffixes to a base word. This is the beginning of the study of morphology. Morphemes are the smallest units that have meaning (ie. incoming has 3 morphemes: in, come, ing).
Finding Morphemes and Making Words With Long Vowel Cheater Chunk -igh:
Click here for the -igh says the long /i/ sound worksheet. Highlight the -igh chunk in each title word. For the words below the title word, underline the title word and highlight the additional morphemes. (The title words on this page are each a single morpheme.) See Picture.
* A favorite!
Bundle: Additional various activities to practice a specific skill
Pack: Additional multiple versions of a specific activity to practice a specific skill
Challenge Bundles: Multiple Syllable words with endings -tive, -al, -tion, -sion, -ture
-tive ending Bundle -tive multiple syllable words
Schwa -al ending Bundle -al multiple syllable words
Schwa -tion ending Bundle -tion multiple syllable words
Schwa -sion ending Bundle -sion multiple syllable words
Schwa -ture ending Bundle -ture multiple syllable words
Schwa -age ending Bundle -age words and story: May I Help With Your Baggage?
Individual Materials including materials for more advanced learners:
Word and Phrase Lists
Multiple syllable words lists are a great way to practice breaking words up into syllables. Draw in the syllable breaks and label the syllables or follow the syllable sort directions.
* -igh words with added morphemes worksheet. *See above in “Teach Along The Way for directions*
* VCE 2 syllable vce to put together and read Explore (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
VCE compound words Inside (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
CVC CV VCE mixed practice multi-syllable divisions Robin (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
CVC CV dividing multiple syllable words Mustang (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
Compound Words Lists 1 and 2
VV ai ay words advanced vocabulary Strain with definitions
VR advanced word lists Ninjas 1, 2, 3
VR all vowels Advanced Vocabulary Word List #1
VR all vowels Advanced Vocabulary Word List #2
Multiple syllable all Determination (first 4 done for you)
Multiple syllable words in phrases Penguins on Parade
Multiple syllable words in phrases Promoting Porcupines
Multiple syllable nonsense words Crazy Nonsense
Multiple syllable all Challenge Comprehend
Multiple syllable Phrases The Porcupine
Multiple syllable phrases MUSTANG cvc cv vce vr vv schwa
Activity – re-arrange mixed up syllables to make words What Job Will I have?
Activity – rearrange mixed up syllables to make words Name That Animal!
Words with ending -tive advanced Effective
CVC VCE multiple syllable words, definitions and sentences Divide and Define #1 (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
CVC VCE multiple syllable words, definitions, sentences Divide and Define #2 (also found in Step 4 Magic e)
-ci, -ti, si, xi says /sh/ in endings multiple syllable words to teach and practice Who Knew?
CHALLENGE: Multiple Syllable Words With Schwa Endings Challenge
-tion, -xion, -cion, -sion, -xion, -cial, -tious, -cious, -xious, -cient, -ture, -age
The idea is to notice the schwa sound in these words. Draw a schwa symbol (Ə) over the schwa sound in each word. In a words with multiple syllables, the unaccented syllable is often the schwa sound. *Changing a vowel sound to a schwa sound is a very common way to figure out an unknown word that is not read correctly the first time.*
Challenge Schwa Endings –tion wordlist
Challenge Schwa Endings -ture wordlist
Challenge Schwa Endings -cial wordlist
Challenge Schwa Endings -age words and phrases: Some Words Don’t Act Their Age
Challenge Schwa Endings Common words with endings -tion, -cial, -sion, -cient, -ture
Challenge Schwa Endings Lists by ending and syllable type -sion, -tion, -tious, -cious, cial, -xious, -tient, -cient, -cion, -xion
CVC multiple syllable game Reading Bigger Words 1 (also in Step 6)
CVC multiple syllable game Reading Bigger Words 2 (also in Step 6)
CV CVC Initial open syllable word game 1 This Baby is Not Silent! (also in Step 6)
CV CVC Initial open syllable word game 2 Locate the Super Zebra (also in Step 6)
CV advanced phrases Open For Business (also in Step 6)
VR or advanced word game Horse (also in Step 7)
VR or advanced word game Horse with definitions(also in Step 7)
VR er ir ur advanced word game Insect(also in Step 7)
VR er ir ur advanced word game Insect with definitions(also in Step 7)
-tive words with ending -tive game Positive or Negative (also in -tive Bundle above)
VR ar advanced word game Pencil(also in Step 7)
VR ar advanced word game Pencil with definitions(also in Step 7)
Can use anytime after Step 8:
PowerPoint Game: Syllable Jeopardy!
Syllable Jeopardy! starts with one syllable words at the $100 level and works up to 4 syllable words. (Do this after step 8. All 6 syllable types are used, but there are only regular vowel teams, not diphthongs/digraphs.) For each question I have students write the word on a personal whiteboard, add the line(s) to show the syllable break(s) (for example: ta/ble) then over each syllable write the symbol for the syllable type (O, -cle). You can also have teams play and everyone in the team must agree on the final answer for the team to earn the points. I have all students (or teams) play all questions, so it is possible for every student to earn every point.
Practice with words from the lists, games etc.
When spelling multisyllabic words:
*Spell syllable by syllable. Draw a line for each syllable, then work one syllable at a time. Once each syllable says the correct thing, put them together and see if the word looks right.
*Think of other versions of a base word you are working with. Since the second vowel in money is an e, it makes sense that the second vowel in monetize is an e even though is produces the schwa sound.
* One way to remember challenging words is to use a ‘spelling voice’. Pronounce the word the way it would be pronounced if the vowel sound was stressed, or the word followed the rules. (Many of us learned to spell Wednesday this way, by pronouncing it “wed” “nes” “day”). In this case: the = /thee/, about = /AY bout/, etc
See syllable sort directions and headings and a strategy page in Teacher Resources below.
Syllable Sort – Cut Aparts Caterpillar Open, Closed, Magic e, regular Vowel Teams, Bossy r, tion, aigh says long
Multiple syllable all Challenge Determination
Multiple syllable all Challenge Comprehend
Full Page Stories with Lists
Full Page Stories with Lists
Highlighting Word Lists directions
I use the following symbols
for the syllable types:
Break up and Put together Big Words Powerpoint as in teaching video
Strategies / Tips
Spot and Dot – Strategy #1 for breaking up big words. We have found this to be the best, quickest and easiest way to get a start at breaking up big words. The goal is to get close enough that the words makes sense! If it works, it is correct!
Teaching/Learning Syllabication Guideline Sheet Here is more information about breaking up words into syllables.
- Each syllable has a vowel sound; therefore each syllable has at least one vowel in it. (The vowel sound may be a vowel on its own, a vowel team, a magic e vowel, an r controlled vowel, a schwa, or a –cle syllable…)
- –cle is always a syllable (table, bubble)
- Twin consonants are always split into separate syllables (runner, rabbit)
- Blends are not usually split, but consonants that are not part of a blend usually are (silver, program)
- Look for words you know – compound words are separated (bookcase)
- Look for affixes you know (-ing, -ly, -ness, re-)
- Pronounce word correctly! As the years have passed, we have gotten lazy in our speaking, using the schwa often and sometimes almost making some syllables disappear altogether (sep/ar/ate, fam/il/y, in/ter/est)
- When reading an unknown word, see if it makes sense, if it doesn’t try syllabicating it a different way (quiet as a vowel team vs. qui/et as an open then closed syllable word). Also try other sounds (like the schwa sound) for vowels or emphasizing a different syllable.
If a word is not sounding right:
1. Close an open syllable
2. Change a vowel sound to schwa
3. Accent a different syllable
4. Change a syllable break (like splitting up 2 vowels to be in different syllables) For example the word oreo can’t be split o/reo. (This does not lead to correct pronunciation of this 3 syllable word. Another clue this is wrong is that eo is not a known vowel team.) Oreo could be split o/re/o or or/e/o).
More on the Directions Page
- Highlighting Lists
- Working with Flashcards
- Flashing Words with flashcards
- Games with Picture Cards
- Games with Words/Phrases on Game Board
- Game I Have, Who Has
- Game Bang!
- Game Bingo
- Spelling help found on the Spelling Page in the Teach Along The Way section
- Small Book Assembly
- Small Book 4 pager Assembly
- Syllable Sort Directions