The most variant sounds in the English language are vowels. Rather than giving up or guessing, students need a strategy for determining how to pronounce vowels. With over 600,000 words in English, and each word categorized as one of six syllable types or as a composite of syllable types, knowledge of the syllable types can give students a strategy for pronouncing an unfamiliar word.
Six Syllable Types
Six Syllable Types Overview
The overview video introduces the concept of a syllable and discusses the importance of understanding syllable types as a way to pronounce variant vowel sounds. Participants review the English Language Arts Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and reflect on the skills students must master at each grade level to successfully progress toward college and career readiness.
Six Syllable Types: Applications for Reading
The Discovery Method is used throughout this section to introduce syllable types. The Discovery Method is a teaching technique that encourages students to take an active role in the learning process by answering a series of questions to introduce a general concept (Mayer, 2003). The responses to these questions lead students to the understanding of a concept before it is explicitly stated.
Once a syllable type is taught it is important for students to be able to read longer words that include multiple syllable types. Struggling readers often attempt to read multisyllabic words by guessing. A syllable division strategy for reading multisyllabic words described here teaches students to decode multisyllabic words by identifying the vowel sounds and then dividing the words into chunks or syllables.
Consonants and Vowels
The presenter defines consonants and vowels.Consonants are closed sounds that can be voiced or unvoiced. Vowels are open-mouth, voiced sounds. Although there are only five vowels in the English language, they make about 20 different sounds. Students need a strategy to determine the sound that each vowel makes.
In this video, the presenter introduces r-controlled syllables. An r-controlled syllable has an r after the vowel. The vowel makes an unexpected sound. The sound that or and ar make depend on whether the syllable in which they appear is accented. Accented syllables are covered in depth in Additional Information for Six Syllable Types.
Vowel Digraph and Vowel Diphthong Syllables
The presenter defines vowel digraph and diphthong syllables. A vowel digraph syllable has two adjacent letters that make one vowel sound, such as boat. A vowel diphthong syllable has two adjacent letters that blend smoothly together, such as round. After students can recognize vowel digraphs and diphthongs, they need to be taught the sound each makes. Some vowel digraphs and diphthongs make more than one sound.
Final Stable Syllable
In this video, the presenter introduces final stable syllables. A final stable syllable is unaccented and in the final position of a word for which the pronunciation and spelling never change (remain stable and reliable). The most common final stable syllables are consonant-le ,as in candle, turtle, cable, etc. Other final stable syllables include –tion, as in station; -sion, as in version; -ture as in mature; and-age as in package.
Additional Information for Six Syllable Types
Word Sort for Vowel-Consonant-Silent e Syllables
The presenter models an activity in which students decode words that change from closed syllable to vowel-consonant-silent e syllable by adding a final e.
Syllables that are stressed in pronunciation are accented syllables. This video provides opportunities to identify accented syllables in words, which can help a reader determine what sound the vowel will make.
The schwa sound, sometimes called a lazy vowel sound, is typically heard in unaccented syllables. This video describes its origin, location in words, and a strategy for teaching the schwa sound to students.
Rules and Expectations For the Letter “y”
In this video, the presenter describes the different sounds y makes, depending on its location in words.
Spelling Rules for –ve, -qu, -dge, -ge
The rules for the –ve spelling pattern are presented. Also discussed is how to teach familiar words that appear to not follow spelling rules, such as have and give.
Common Spelling Patterns
The presenter reviews a resource that provides spelling pattern generalizations and emphasizes the importance of teaching rules / generalizations with the most utility.
Morphology is the study of meaningful units of language. Because English orthography (a written language system) represents sound as well as meaning, an understanding of morphology helps students read and understand words.
This set of videos introduces the aspects of morphology that should be taught directly to students and discusses the importance of increasing students’ morphological awareness—the emphasis of word consciousness over memorizing a system of rules.
Morphology: Applications for Reading
Base Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes
In addition to presenting types of morphemes—base words, prefixes, and suffixes—this video presents an illustration of how the English language has been influenced by Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek languages.
The Discovery Method is used to introduce suffixes. The Discovery Method is a technique that encourages students to take an active role in the learning process by answering a series of questions or solving problems to introduce a general concept (Mayer, 2003). The responses to these questions lead students to the understanding of a concept before it is explicitly stated.
Derivational and inflectional suffixes are defined. Also presented are specific strategies for teaching suffix –ed.