Breaking up words into syllables or chunks is an important part of learning to read. Syllabication helps children learn to read and spell difficult words. If your child gets stuck on a difficult word, he or she can use the syllabication rules to figure it out. 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

There are Six Different Types of Syllables to Teach


Closed Syllable

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.  


Open Syllable

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.  


Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable

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.  


R-Controlled Syllable

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 phonemic 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.  


Thank you for reading my blog today!

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

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