Classroom printables, activities & worksheets

Syllables

Open the door to understanding both closed syllables and open syllables in your classroom this school year with printables, worksheets, activities, games, and digital teaching resources to help students make sense of this unit of pronunciation.

What Is a Syllable?

You may be new to teaching this part of the ELA curriculum, but perhaps you remember sitting in a classroom as a child with your hand beneath your chin as you pronounced words? Each time your chin hit your hand, you counted. Or maybe you clapped along as you slowly pronounced words, slapping your hands together as the chunks of the words containing vowels were broken up? Both are simple but popular methods of counting syllables, a key component of learning this standard of ELA. But wait, what are syllables? A syllable, by definition, is a part of a word that has a vowel in it. For example, let's say you have the word open. This word is made up of two syllables — the vowel "o" stands on its own as one syllable, and "pen" is the second part of the word containing a vowel. Syllables are often described as the phonological building blocks of words as they help us organize the speech sounds within a word. Some of the benefits of learning about syllables include the following:
  • Students become better readers and writers
  • Students develop spelling skills
  • Syllables form the basis of haiku writing in fourth or fifth grade

Types of Syllables

Syllables can be made up of just vowels or a vowel and accompanying consonants. To differentiate, syllables are broken down into 6 main types:
  • Open syllables: An open syllable ends with a vowel sound that is spelled with a single vowel letter. The vowel sound in an open syllable is a long vowel sound. In the example above, the "o" in open is an open syllable.
  • Closed syllables: A closed syllable ends with a consonant, and the vowel in this type of syllable is short such as the "e" in "pen" in the example above.
  • R-controlled syllable: Words like bar and far are examples of r-controlled syllables which contain a vowel before the letter "r." This "r" dictates how the vowel sounds.
  • Vowel-consonant-e syllable: You will typically find this type of syllable at the end of a word.
  • Vowel team syllable: When there are two vowels next to one another in a word, forming a new sound, you have what's known as a vowel team syllable. For example, the "ou" in "sound" is a vowel team syllable.
  • Consonant+l-e or Final Stable Syllable: This is another syllable type that is often found at the end of the word, such as the "-ble"  at the end of the word "syllable."

How to Teach Syllables

To make your syllable lesson plans easy, the expert teachers on the Teach Starter team have created syllable sorting activities, open and closed syllable tasks, and more activities to add to your lessons. Explore the collection below!

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