Teaching children to divide words into syllables or chunks is an important part of the Orton-Gillingham approach. The Orton-Gillingham approach teaches all six syllable types explicitly to children as they are learning to read. On today’s post I am going to share the six different syllable types and give you some information on teaching syllable division.
Count the Syllables
One activity that helps a child pull apart the syllables in a word is to count them. This can be done by clapping each syllable. You can start by counting (actually clapping) the number of syllables in your child’s own name. Ja-son (clap, clap). Jon-a-than. (clap, clap, clap). You can also clap out the days of the week Tues-day, the months of the year, Sep-tem-ber and fun words like cu-cum-ber or Cin-der-el-la.
For those kids who are having difficulties understanding syllables, try using “chin dropping.” This technique will help a child really “feel” the syllables. Place your hand under your chin, palm down. Now, say a multisyllabic word aloud. Every time your chin drops, that is one syllable! Some other ideas for teaching syllable division include:
- Stamping feet
- Tapping the table
- Beating musical instruments
- Tap sticks together
The Six Syllables to Teach
These syllables end in a consonant. The vowel has a short vowel sound, like in the word fan. Some examples of closed first syllables are:
ad-mit, un-fit, thun-der, cab-in, hab-it, lap-top
These syllables end in a vowel. The vowel has a long sound, like in the word so. Some examples of open first syllables are:
a-pron, ra-dar, ba-con, u-nit, tu-lip, pi-lot, lo-cate
These syllables are found at the end of a word. The final e is silent and makes the vowel in that syllable long, like in the word shake. Some examples of vowel-consonant-e syllables are:
con-fuse, camp-fire, cup-cake, es-cape, ex-plode, flag-pole, cos-tume
Vowel Team Syllable
These syllables have two vowels next to each other that make one sound together like in the word boot. Some examples of vowel team syllables are:
eight-y, dis-count, teach-ing, tug-boat, dug-out, dis-count
Consonant plus -le Syllable
These syllables end in -le, like in the word puddle. Some examples of consonant plus -le syllables are:
cud-dle, pur-ple, crac-kle, frec-kle, snif-fle
These syllables contain a vowel followed by an r. The r will change the way the vowel is pronounced, like in the word car. Some example of r-controlled syllables are:
hor-net, bom-bard, far-mer, tar-nish, mor-sel, bor-der
A good literacy program should include teaching syllable division in spelling and reading and help build strong phonological awareness. If you are looking for an Orton-Gillingham program that teaches students all 6 syllable rules and teaching syllable division and is extremely easy to teach, is HEAVILY scripted out and requires no training, check out the PRIDE Reading Program.
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