by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady
What are open and closed syllables? And what are some ways to help students decode them? How can students apply this knowledge to read and spell multi-syllabic words? FREE activities below.
- The vowel is closed in (or trapped) between two consonants and usually makes the short vowel sound.
- Examples in one-syllable words: cvc patterns such as hot, big, mat, pen, tub
- Examples in two-syllable words: picnic (pic-nic), rabbit (rab-bit), pencil (pen-cil), tablet (tab – let)
- The vowel is open at the end of a word or syllable and usually makes the long sound.
- Examples in one-syllable words: go, she, glue, tree
- Examples in two-syllable words: lion (li – on), baby (ba – by), local (lo – cal), music (mu – sic), tiger (ti – ger)
Reading Open and Closed Syllable Words:
- If it is a closed one-syllable word, I advise students to try the short vowel sound first to see if that sounds right and makes sense. If not, flip the vowel sound to the long sound.
- With a two-syllable word: Use a small post it, a masking card, or your finger to block off part of the word so only the first syllable is exposed. This is often 2-4 letters. If it looks closed (vowel between two consonants), try the short sound first to see if it sounds right and makes sense. If it looks open (one vowel at the end of a syllable), try the long sound first to see if it sounds right or makes sense. If not, flip the vowel.
- Apply this to 3 and 4 syllable words (looking at one syllable at a time). Common rimes or chunks might be revealed in the process.
- Practice breaking words apart to hear the two syllable and the vowel sounds. Here is a matching activity I made which you can get for FREE. Click here for the Closed syllable matching 4 pages (2 pages of pictures, 2 pages of matching words). Click here for the Open syllable matching 4 pages (2 pages of pictures, 2 pages of matching words).
- You can match the whole word to the picture.
- You can cut the words apart by syllables and match picture with both syllable parts.
- Try this game format using some of the same above words. Click here for a FREE copy of the Open and closed syllable game.
Stay tuned! Next week I will focus on a fabulous strategy for decoding (making analogies).