The Six Syllable Types: Vowel Teams (Part I)

Vowel Teams are the sixth syllable type we will discuss.

Vowel Teams are letter combinations that include at least one vowel. For example, the /ay/ in the first syllable, and the /ea/ in the second syllable of the word “daydream” each make a vowel team. 

There are some distinctions among vowel teams. They are:  

  • Vowel Digraphs are two vowels together that make one sound, such as ee in beet.
  • Vowel Diphthongs occur when one vowel sound glides into another, such as oi in toil.
  • Vowel Teams can consist of different letter combinations/not all vowels, such as igh in light or ow in cow.

For simplicity, I teach two vowels side by side using the phrase, “Vowel Teams,” rather than the more technical terms above. Teaching vowel teams is fundamental in teaching reading. I will discuss more in next post.

The Six Syllable Types: R-Controlled

Continuing on with the six syllable types…

R-Controlled Syllables:

  • Have a single vowel followed by an r.
  • -ar, -er, -ir,  -or, and –ur.
  • The vowel before the vowel is neither long nor short.

If you have been teaching for a bit, you may have heard simple words with this syllable type as having a “bossy r.” This is because the r controls the vowel. R-controlled syllables can be part of multisyllabic words.

Some examples are:

ar:  car, far, tar, star, car·pet, mar·ket 

er: her, hy·per,

ir:  firm, bird, dirt

or:  born, torn, worn, for·get

ur:  turn, churn, sur·vey

These words are often best taught together, and in context. For example, students need to know the meaning of fur versus fir.