As a recap, closed syllables have one short vowel and end in one or more consonant. Examples include: chip, click, hap·pen, chip·munk, splash, etc. Closed syllables can be paired with other syllable types; but when you first begin teaching, try to stick to words with only closed syllables. Also, highlight blends and digraphs (see previous posts on those), as many closed syllable words are made with these letter combinations.
Some ideas to teach closed syllables include:
- Make syllable cards and have students form words. (Anytime you can include a multi-sensory approach, this is helpful.)
- Give students words with closed syllables and have them circle the short vowel and underline the ending consonant(s).
- Give students simple sentences and have them identify the closed syllables by the method listed above. For example: The cat sat by the plump pig (circle the vowel).
Closed Syllable Exceptions
Of course, in English, there are always exceptions. Here are some of the more common exceptions:
- –ild, as in child, mild, wild
- –ind, as in blind, kind, mind
- –old, as in cold, mold, told.
- –olt, as in bolt, colt, jolt
- –ost, as in host, most, post
In these instances, the vowel makes a long sound, rather than the short vowel sound, as is typical in closed syllables. It is helpful to teach the sound and spelling of these letter combinations, as they are fairly common.
Remember, teaching/learning syllable types takes time, and there needs to be a lot of repetition and review. Still, over time, your students who struggle with reading will start to have the tools they need to attack reading and spelling.
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Closed Syllables are the most common type of syllable. Before you begin, students should understand the definition of a syllable: a word, or part of a word, made by one push of breath. Practice clapping the syllable, tapping the syllable, etc. Students should also know the difference between a consonant and a vowel (you’d be surprised), and be able to identify short and long vowel sounds.
- Have only one vowel.
- The vowel sound is short.
- The vowel is followed by one or more consonant (hence, “closed-in”).
Examples of closed syllables are: clap, tip, graph, pic·nic (two closed syllables).
Why teach closed syllables?
Personally, I like to give ownership back to students for their learning. When you teach this rule, and students understand it, you can give prompts such as, “This word has a closed syllable.” The cue being: one short vowel, ends in a consonant(s).
We’ll discuss teaching ideas in the next post.
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These are six syllable types that make up the majority of words in English.
1. Closed Syllables
2. Open Syllables
3. Vowel-Consonant-e Syllable
4. Consonant-le Syllable
5. R-Controlled Syllables
6. Vowel Teams
What are the benefits in learning these six types?
English is a very complicated language, and teaching the syllabication principles will help your child/student chunk words down into more manageable parts. This, in turn, will help with overall reading skills and identify of spelling patterns.
This will also be especially beneficial for students who have a specific learning disability in reading. Research supports that teaching phonics is the most effective type of reading instruction for students with dyslexia.
In the upcoming weeks, I will tackle the different syllable types. Whether a refresher, or new material, I hope this series helps!
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