What is a syllable?
Syllables are single, unbroken sounds of a spoken word sometimes referred to as the “beats” of language.
A word can have 1, 2, 3, 4, or even more syllables. Every syllable must contain at least one vowel, as it is the opening and closing of the mouth to say the vowel sound that makes a syllable. However, it is the number of vowel sounds that determines the number of syllables in a word, not the number of vowels.
For example, words like ‘bike’ and ‘cake’ have two vowels but only one vowel sound. And words like ‘sound’ and ‘boil’ are spelled with vowel teams that make a single vowel sound. As such, these words all have just one syllable. Also note that ‘y’ can make a vowel sound as in the words ‘try’ and ‘fly.’
While every syllable must contain a vowel, a syllable may or may not include consonants.
Why is counting syllables important?
Counting syllables is a pre-reading skill that children are expected to master in preschool or kindergarten. Learning to count syllables is important because:
- Dividing words into syllables helps the process of decoding
- Knowing the rules for syllable division helps students read words more accurately and fluently
- Knowing the rules for syllable division helps children to understand the conventions for spelling English words
How to teach syllable counting
Inside the Syllable Counting Activity Pack you will learn seven strategies kids can use to identify the number of syllables in a word. You will also receive lots of ideas and printables full of fun, simple, and hands-on ways children can learn and practice syllable counting skills.
The Syllable Counting Activity Pack includes:
- Three pages of syllable background information for the educator: All of the background information you need to understand syllables and effectively teach syllable counting to your children or students.
- Word cards for 1, 2, 3, and 4 syllable words:These word cards can be used along with several other materials in the Syllable Counting Activity Pack to provide children with diverse opportunities to engage with syllable counting.
- Syllable counting strategy cards for playing games: Print the strategy cards and place them into a differentiated instruction cube. Have your child roll the cube and then count the syllables in a word using the strategy rolled. (If you don’t have a differentiated instruction cube your child can simply select a strategy card from a pile.)
- Syllable sorting labels: Use the included labels and word cards to have your child sort words based on the number of syllables in the word.
- Syllable race game: Play a syllable race game for additional practice with counting syllables.
- Syllable counting clip cards: Have your child count the number of syllables in the object on the card and then clip the appropriate number with a clothespin.
- Syllable mazes: Practice syllable counting with these fun and colorful mazes! Children start at the top and then have to find all the words with the same number of syllables in a trail leading to the finish circle at the bottom.
- Marking syllables activity worksheet: Your child can use dot markers to dot a number each time they say a syllable in the word.