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Step 3: Open (CV) and Closed (CVC) Syllables, Y at the End of Words

Open Syllable Header
Open Syllable
Closed Syllable Header
Closed Syllable

Learning the one syllable words (i.e. be, go, fly) is enough to move on. More advanced readers can practice the multiple syllable word resources (labeled as “advanced”).

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Open and Closed Syllable Definitions:
CV is short for Open Syllable. The Open Syllable has one vowel and the vowel is at the end of the syllable. The vowel says its name (its long sound) as in the Open Syllable words: hi, me, and go. Open Syllables are most often part of longer words, as in the first syllable in the words: bonus, table and meter.
CVC is short for Closed syllable. The closed syllable has one vowel and ends in a consonant. The vowel says its short sound like in the words fan, pet, it, on, and luck. The Closed syllable is the most common syllable, and the only syllable where the vowel says its short sound.
Short Vowel refers to a vowel saying its short sound (not its name) as in hat, bed, sit, off, up. Short vowels are represented:  /ă/  /ĕ/  /ĭ/  /ŏ/  /ŭ
Long Vowel refers to when a vowel says its name as in she, and bike. Long vowels are represented: /ā/  /  /ī/  /ō/  /ū/

Teaching Videos and Written Stories

Open and Closed Syllables

y at the end of open syllables
2 sounds for the name of ū

Written Stories

  • Written Story: Open & Closed Syllable Story Summary
  • Written Story: 2 Sounds for Long u Story as told in Teaching Video
  • Full name & nickname Story/Explanation for 2 sounds of /ū/:
    • Full name: The letter u’s name is pronounced like the word “you”.  This word has two phonemes (sounds): the /y/ sound (as in yes), and then the /oo/ sound (as in moon).  In words like use and cute the letter u’s full name is heard. 
    • Nickname: Often the u goes only by the end of its name, its nickname.  For its nickname the u drops the first phoneme (sound) /y/ and we only hear the second phoneme (sound) /oo/ as in moon.  We only hear the /oo/ sound of the u’s name in words like tube and flute.

PowerPoints and Google Slides PowerPoints for teaching short vowel words CVC Google Slides Icon

For the formatting of PowerPoints to be correct, click FILE, then DOWNLOAD, and download in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Open and Closed Teaching Activity Activity working together

Act Out Open and Closed Syllables! Start teaching the first two syllable types by making letter cards and act out what the vowel would say in different situations. For example holding an “e” letter the learner acts out “ē, ē I can say my name!” When an “m” arrives to its left the student acts out “ē! I can say my name! And run away!” But then a letter t arrives to the right to close it in! Student acts out “/ĕ/” (short sound of e) “I wasn’t showing off… /ĕ/.” Find directions here.

Tips Tips

Note on Syllables: Every syllable has a vowel sound. The vowel sounds make our chins go down when we speak.  Vowel sounds create syllables.  Place your fingers under your chin.  Say the word “begin” out loud.  You can feel your jaw drop two times.  First for the open syllable “be”, then for the closed syllable “gin.”  Many teachers clap for each syllable. When learners spell bigger words, teach them to count how many syllables are in the word, then spell each syllable, one at a time. Practice identifying and counting syllables. This skill is critical as learners progress to reading and spelling multiple syllable words.

Map Sounds to Letters

Map the sounds in the word to the letter(s) representing the sounds, even if it is not a letter combination that has been taught yet. Only an unusual sound/letter combination needs to be remembered “by heart.” Mapping the sounds to the letters is how we remember what words look like. See example below:

Map Sounds To Letters examples

Be sure to reinforce what you know and are learning about words, for example:
Schwa Sound: Any vowel might say /ŭ/. Point out that this happens in many common words like: the, of, was, some, from…

Key and Directions for Materials Key

Blue Heart: Beginning, grades K-1K-1 Beginning
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-21-2 Growing
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeIntervention/Challenge

Bundle: Multiple types of materials (games, activities, stories…) bundled together.
Pack: Multiple pieces of the same type of material, for example a pack of books.

Directions for everything else:

More on the Directions Page

Sample Bundle

Sample Bundle contains samples of the stories, games, lists, flashcards, fluency pyramids, activities, spelling and more you will find in the practice section below.

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