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.