Why knowing 6 types of Syllables will be a Game Changer for Reading and Writing

Why knowing 6 types of Syllables will be a Game Changer for Reading and Writing

I keep getting this question – how can I help my little readers improve? How can I help them progress and read with more meaning (understanding what they’re reading) and with more fluency (aka not sounding like a robot). Years ago when I started teaching, I didn’t know about the importance of the types of syllables. I didn’t even know that there was more than one type of syllable! Now, I know better. Knowing how and why syllables are so important can truly change the way children read. In this blog you will read about the 6 different syllables and why they’re so important! Please leave a comment below.


A closed syllable has a short vowel sound and ends with a consonant. Examples include CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words such as dog, bed and sun. Depending on your little reader, you might start teaching closed syllables toward the end of Kindergarten or early in Grade 1. When you explicitly teach children about closed syllables, you will set them up for success when they later encounter words with two closed syllables such as rab/bit, pic/nic and mit/ten. Which then can lead to learning compound words such as cob/web. 

Closed syllable sounds are one of the first syllables to learn: consonant - vowel- consonant.


An open syllable has a long vowel at the end that is not closed by a consonant. Examples include words like no, be and he. Notice that the vowel says its name. I would recommend teaching open syllables after teaching closed syllables. There are a number of 2 letter words with this syllable type that children might learn during Kindergarten that they may know by sight. So teaching this concept towards the end of Kindergarten or the start of Grade 1 works. As children move into Grade 2 and beyond you can refer back to this concept too. 

An open syllable is a syllable that ends in a vowel. Some examples are me, go, she.


This one has a long vowel sound, a consonant and then a silent e at the end. Examples include ate, time and game. When we teach this pattern of spelling we can explain to students that the e makes the other vowel say its name. There are a plethora of terms used for this e. Some call it silent, others say it’s magic or bossy. Call it what you like, the structure of long vowel-consonant-silent e is what students need to understand when decoding the word. This concept is a good one to teach after children have a handle on closed and open syllables. A lesson idea for Grade 1 students might be to take CVC closed syllable words and turn them into vowel-consonant-e words. For example, hop becomes hope and not becomes note.  

The Magic E or the Bossy E or otherwise known as the vowel consonant-e is when theres a consonant-vowel-consonant-e. the letter E become silent and makes the vowel say it's name.


When two vowels come together to make one vowel sound they make a vowel team! Examples include the words boat and pool. You can also find the letter y teaming up with vowels in words like play and toy. The letter w also wants a piece of the action in words like snow and claw. Historically speaking, some spelling may stem from early pronunciations of words that have changed over time. This syllable type can be taught after children have a solid grasp on closed, open and vowel-consonant-e syllables. So that could mean explicitly teaching this concept in Grade 1 and revisiting it again in Grade 2. But you know your little reader best. The timeframe for when to explicitly teach and revisit concepts can happen based on your own judgement. 

Vowel Team syllable are two vowels together that make one sound.


For this syllable type, you will find a vowel followed by an r. The r acts as a leader, affecting the vowel. Examples of words include car, bird and fur. Depending on your preference and what you think will work best for your child, you could teach this before vowel team syllables or after. As long as your kids have an understanding of closed and open syllables as their foundation, the order you teach these next syllable types can vary. You can teach this concept starting in Grade 1 and revisit it in Grade 2. And r-controlled spelling will pop-up again and again for learners as they add more challenging words to their reading and writing vocabulary. Knowing this syllable type will help with words like birthday, furniture and surprise. 

R-controlled syllable is when the vowel(s) is followed by the letter "r". Words like "car", "scar", "far".


This syllable type is found at the end of a word. The letters le will follow a consonant. If the consonant-le syllable comes after a closed syllable, the consonant will be doubled like in bubble. If the consonant-le syllable comes after an open syllable, the consonant is not doubled like in table. The e will be silent in these words and only the consonant and the l will be heard. Other examples include stable, circle and handle

By understanding the 6 syllable types, our children will be equipped with knowledge around spelling patterns. This will help them predict vowel sounds, make it easier to separate syllables when sounding out words and decode words when reading.  

I would love to hear how this goes for you and your little readers. Connect with me on Instagram and let me know! 


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