teaching resource

Syllable Count Sorting Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 7 pages | Grades: PK - K

Practice segmenting and counting syllables in words with this set of 24 picture sorting cards.

All learning includes the practice of “decoding.” 

As we’re presented with bits of new information and exposed to a range of new experiences, we subconsciously apply this decoding strategy to quickly understand new data. 

When learning to read, students are encouraged to decode words by looking at the sum of their parts—not only as phonics but also as syllables

Syllable counting breaks words into more digestible “chunks” for early learners’ ears to hear, making it easier to sound out and spell words accurately and with greater fluency. 

In this syllable sort activity, students will look at picture cards and count the number of syllables in the word each represents, categorizing them into 1, 2, or 3 syllables. 

How to Play Our Syllables Game to Make Listening to Language Fun! 

This resource to practice segmenting and counting syllables in words. It can be used as a reading center activity, for individual instruction in your guided reading group, and/or for early finishers

To play, the students will identify the pictures, segment the words into syllables, and sort cards by the number of syllables in each word. 

Get More out of Our Syllables Game 

There’s more than one way to use these syllable sort picture cards in your classroom! Check out a few ideas for taking this game to the next level. 

Memory Match

Bonus points for this version of the game as it helps students with their memorization skills! As a game for 2 players, students will shuffle the picture cards and lay them all face down. Each player takes their turn flipping 2 cards at a time until either finds 2 words with the same number of syllables (e.g., bus and clock) and sets the pair aside to keep score. 

Scoot Activity

Place each of the 24 picture cards around the room. Ask students to stand up with a blank sheet of paper numbered 1-24 to use as a recording sheet. Assign one card to each student (or pair) to start, having them rotate through each of the cards to write on their recording sheet how many syllables each word on the picture cards contains. 

(NOTE: We suggest printing a second set of cards for this activity that you can number.)

Spell it out

Use the cards to show students how breaking words down into their syllables can help them as they learn to spell. Choose 3 cards, one for each number of syllables, and project them on your smartboard. Working together as a class, sound out the words a syllable at a time and ask students what letters they hear. Write the words on the board as the students match up the sounds to the letters. 

Change the Difficulty Level if Needed

Fast finishers can take this activity further by sorting the picture cards by putting them in alphabetical order. You can also ask them to think of more words they know with 1, 2, or 3 syllables. Ask them to draw pictures of those words, and write the number of syllables each has below the drawing. 

If your students are having trouble identifying each of the syllables in the words, show them how to clap it out. This makes the act of sounding out words fun (they love to make noise!). Plus, students engage multiple senses while working on their phonological awareness.  

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the task cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. An answer key is also included with this download.

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 


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