Syllables




Syllables are the phonological building blocks of words and are essential in developing phonics and literacy skills. VocabularySpellingCity recognizes the importance of syllable instruction and provides K-12 teachers key resources to supplement syllable lesson plans.

VocabularySpellingCity’s free premade syllable word lists align with English language arts state standards and can be paired with SillyBulls for interactive syllable segmentation practice. Also available are free printable worksheets and instructional videos to enhance any syllable lesson.

Syllables Lesson | Syllables Patterns

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Syllable segmentation is a major component of phonological awareness and phonics instruction. Syllables are single units of speech and always include a vowel (or vowel-like) sound. Studies by Robert Marzano show that hearing phonemes and viewing corresponding letters allows the brain to make deeper connections, which lead to word retention. Therefore, understanding syllables and learning to segment words not only helps students master phonics, but also helps students develop skills in reading, spelling, pronunciation and comprehension.

Syllables first appear in the ELA Common Core State Standards under the Kindergarten reading foundational skill strand. Kindergarten students learn how to clap to identify the number of syllables in words, and understand that words can have one, two, or more syllables. Later in first grade, children learn that every syllable has a vowel (or vowel sound), and begin to recognize and use syllables to decode words.

VocabularySpellingCity’s instructional videos, located on the bottom of the page, showcase innovative ways to introduce syllables to emergent readers, like robot speech. Students can then practice counting syllables using VocabularySpellingCity’s interactive learning game SillyBulls. To further extend a primary grade level syllable lesson, teachers can assign a center activity where students write their words on sentence strips and cut the strips into individual syllables.

Syllable instruction is not limited to primary grade levels. As students become more experienced readers, they will encounter more complex multisyllabic words. Previous knowledge of syllable segmentation allows students to identify prefixes, root words, and suffixes to analyze word meaning. In addition, students in upper grade levels will study how syllables affect poetic rhythm and meter. In upper elementary and middle school, students will be exposed to haiku poetry, which follows a 5/7/5 syllable pattern.

Later in high school, students will examine stressed and unstressed syllables, specifically iambic pentameter, in literary pieces like William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. To supplement a syllable lesson plan, middle and high school teachers can use VocabularySpellingCity’s Paragraph Writing Practice to assign students a poetry writing activity. Students can create their own haiku poem, keeping in mind the syllabic pattern, or sonnet, using iambic pentameter.

The following are common rules found in segmenting words:

  • Always divide after the prefix: pre|view
  • Always divide before the suffix: mo|tion
  • When one or more consonants are followed by “le”, count back three and divide: ta|ble (Note: This rule does NOT apply to works that end in “ckle,” like “pickle”).
  • When there are two consonants in the middle, you should divide the word between the consonants, unless they blend into one sound, such as “ph” or “ch”: rab|bit
  • When one consonant appears between two vowels, it will most likely be in the same syllable as the second vowel: si|lent
  • Divide between compound words: sun|rise
  • Divide before a single middle consonant when the vowel sound before it is long: o|pen
  • Divide after the middle consonant when the vowel sound before it is short: hab|it
  • Divide between two vowels that don’t blend to make one sound: be|ing

View Common Core State Standards Related to SyllablesClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Syllables

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2
Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2.b
Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.2
Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3.d
Use knowledge that every syllable must have a vowel sound to determine the number of syllables in a printed word.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.3.e
Decode two­syllable words following basic patterns by breaking the words into syllables.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.3.c
Decode regularly spelled two­syllable words with long vowels.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.c
Decode multisyllable words.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2.f
Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position­based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.

View Words at a GlanceClose

K-1st Grade Syllables – Math: calendar, square, rectangle, sort, circle, addition, subtraction, cube, equal, triangle

K-1st Grade Syllables – Language Arts: alphabet, author, book, character, title, letter, vowel, noun, illustrator, syllable

K-1st Grade Syllables – Science: air, magnet, transportation, plant, weather, computer, animal, color, grandparent, senses

K-1st Grade Syllables – Social Studies: flag, rule, schoolhouse, tomorrow, family, neighborhood, citizen, responsible, symbol, community

2nd-3rd Grade Syllables – Math: fractions, multiplication, cylinder, perimeter, scale, triangular, division, hundreds, angle, sum

2nd-3rd Grade Syllables – Language Arts: enemy, greedy, alliteration, adjective, narrative, imaginary, predict, characteristic, contrast, verb

2nd-3rd Grade Syllables – Science: herbivore, balance, habitat, universe, star, accumulation, examine, experimental, adaptation, endangered

2nd-3rd Grade Syllables – Social Studies: career, explore, culture, geographer, president, nation, collaboration, volunteer, population, donate

4th-5th Grade Syllables – Math: perpendicular, acute, equivalent, estimation, median, probability, quotient, numerator, congruent, kilometer

4th-5th Grade Syllables – Language Arts: tradition, heroic, myth, antonym, preposition, analogy, homonym, realistic, inference, vivid

4th-5th Grade Syllables – Science: drought, equator, glacier, biodegradable, avalanche, solstice, prehistoric, speed, inertia, ecosystem

4th-5th Grade Syllables – Social Studies: frontier, overpopulation, ancestor, debate, entrepreneur, revolutionary, barter, slavery, reign, tolerance, conservation

Middle School Syllables – Math: proportion, origin, remainder, median, composite, diameter, quantitative, pi, hypotenuse, infinite

Middle School Syllables – Language Arts: hyperbole, personification, idiom, chronological, imagery, onomatopoeia, allegory, anecdote, refer, diction

Middle School Syllables – Science: tectonic, barometer, thermoelectricity, kinetic, potential, sublimation, periodic, atom, nucleus, lunar

Middle School Syllables – Social Studies: proclamation, rebellion, reliability, proprietor, conservation, globalization, trade, scarcity, interdependence, region

High School Syllables – Algebra: integer, expansion, variable, quadratic, exponential, inverse, frequency, term, prime, compute

High School Syllables – Space: equinox, satellite, constellation, eclipse, halo, solstice, crescent, revolution, gibbous, ozone

High School Syllables – Geography: hemisphere, latitude, peninsula, meteorology, isthmus, longitude, ecosystem, leeward, estuary, biosphere

High School Syllables – Literacy Terms: ballad, epic, foreshadowing, persuasion, stress, soliloquy, tone, genre, oxymoron, protagonist

VocabularySpellingCity.com provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to identify syllables and practice decoding multisyllable words.

Try SillyBulls with a 2nd-3rd Grade Syllables list.