What Are The Six Syllable Types ?

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SWBAT identify which type of syllable a particular word is and then be able to sort those words into the correct category on a tree map.

Big Idea

We've made it to the major leagues in decoding. Come find out why learning about syllables is so important.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     It wasn't until I was trained to be a Common Core Coach in Tennessee that I realized I had to be much more specific in teaching syllable types to my students.  If you don't know the 6 different syllable types don't worry.  You've probably been teaching them without realizing it. Here is a list that I display in my classroom when I teach this lesson: syllable type posters.pdf.

     It's important to teach the different kinds of syllables to your students.  If students have a strong understanding of syllables they will be able to decode (read) and encode (spell) multisyllabic words easily.  All they need to do is break the words down by syllable type. So we are applying our decoding and word analysis skills to one syllable words today, thus addressing standards RF1.3 and RF1.3b.

      I have already taught all the syllable types in our phonics lessons.  I have also previously taught a lesson on multisyllabic words and open and closed syllablesso my students already know that every syllable has to have one vowel in it. I have also taught many of the common spelling patterns so this will be a good review for my students and we are also addressing standards RF1.3c and RF1.3d.

     Finally, the whole point of this lesson is for my students to see that they can be amazing spellers if they break a word down by syllables but also to be able to decode multisyllabic words easily.  We know that if a student can decode easily that more of their "mental deskspace" will be available to devote to comprehending text. 

     I want my students to have a strong understanding of the different syllable types, so today I am using mostly one syllable words with the exception of the C-le words. I don't want to complicate things for my students so when we get to the C-le words we are going to classify the word as a C-le word.  In later lessons I will show them that these words can be split in two syllables can be classified as two separate syllables.  For example if I split the word paddle between the two d's the first syllable is a closed syllable and the second syllable is a C-le syllable.  But that is for another lesson.   Once my students have mastered this skill, we will move on to multisyllabic words.  There is one thing I'd like to note.  If you do any research for lessons on the internet, you may see sources that say there are 7 types of syllables.  Louisa Moates is one of the nation's leading reading researchers, and I was trained by one of her employees at Sopris West, Danielle Thompson.  I have been taught that a vowel team syllable is not only when 2 or more vowels make a long sound but a vowel team could also contain a consonant.  Some examples could be oy, aw, and eigh.  Other programs may classify these as dipthong vowel teams.  I was taught from these reputable people that there are 6 types so that is how this lesson is written and taught. The syllable types posters also are reflective of this.

     For this lesson you will want to copy a set of the syllable type posters (see link above), a set of example words to instruct your students with Teacher word list for teaching syllalbe types.pdf (for your viewing), and enough student copies of the words the students need to cut out and the tree maps to glue the words onto Syllable Types Activity.pdf.  You will also want to know that this lesson took me more than one day to teach.  I only have about 15 minutes for each small group each day.  I listed this lesson as one lesson but you can break the lesson up so it fits your needs.

Stating the Objective and Small Group Instruction/Discussion

25 minutes

     I did this lesson with my highest reading group because they really need this skill right now.  You could wait to teach the lesson to your whole class until the end of the year, or, like, teach it to your highest groups earlier.  For me, there were just too many times when we are reading in our reading group, and one of them will encounter a multisyllabic word and just look at me with a helpless look.  I need to make them independent when decoding multisyllabic words. 

     I had my little group around me at the reading table.  I had my posters in front of me.  I said, "Today we are going to be working on the 6 different types of syllables.  The reason why we're learning this is because I want you to be able to sound out, or decode large words when you see them in your reading.  You can also learn how to spell these large words if you break them down by syllable.  I am not going to follow you to college and help you to read and spell large words so it's time we start to do this today." My students always laugh when I say the last part.  They find the notion of me following them to college is hilarious.

     I held up the first poster on closed syllables.  After reading the poster I said, "Do you remember when we learned about closed syllables? What job does the last consonant have? That's right it closes off the syllable and makes the vowel be short." I have a white board right behind my reading table.  I wrote some examples of the closed syllable words from the list.  I put one index finger on the vowel and put my other index finger on the following consonant.  I said, "This consonant's job is to close off the syllable.  It makes the vowel short."  I did 2 more words as examples. 

     I continued the same way with the remaining posters.  I read the poster and then wrote a few examples on the board. We analyzed each word and talked about the characteristics of the word that made it fall into that category of syllable type.  My students had experience with all of the syllable types in our phonics lessons with the exception of the C-le syllable.  I took more time with this type of syllalbe, showing my students how this syllable is different than Vce because there is more than one consonant in between the two vowels.

     I then passed out the student work and we worked on the first column of words together.  Each column of the student work has one example of each kind of syllable.  I would ask the students to analyze each word and they had to tell me what kind of syllable it was. We cut out one word at a time, analyzed it, and then put it under the correct category on the tree map.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

     Once we had finished the first column of words, I stepped back and let my students work on the rest of the words independently.  I really kept quiet because I wanted to assess how much of the content my students actually grasped.  Some of my students just whipped through the work with no problem and some of my students really had to think.  You can see how my students did with the work by watching the videos here What Kind of Syllable Is This Video 1.mp4 and here What Kind of Syllable Is This Video 2.mp4.


5 minutes

     I don't like long and complicated closures. To finish the lesson I said, "What did we learn today? Why is it important to learn about syllables? Who can tell me one kind of syllable? And another?" Once I was done asking my questions I said, "Now that you know about the syllable types we are going to take this knowledge and learn how to break up large words so we can read them and spell them."