Teaching Open and Closed Syllables

Saturday, October 30, 2021
Teaching syllable types has been proven to be very beneficial to your young readers...I like to start with open and closed syllables because I feel they are easiest to master.  First I teach students that every syllable has a ( written ) vowel.  We can usually determine how many syllables there are based on the vowels.  Like everything else there are exceptions ~ vowel teams, dipthongs, silent e etc. 

Here is a definition of a syllable: 

a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word; e.g., there are two syllables in water and three in inferno.

CVC words are a great place to start for closed syllables as they are not difficult to blend and can easily be tapped out.  

CLOSED SYLLABLES

A closed syllable is a vowel followed by a consonant.  CVC words are great examples of this: pot, map, hut, up etc.  The vowel is 'closed in' 🚪 by a consonant.  The vowel usually says it's short sound in these words, and more than one consonant can be used to close in a syllable.  I have my students find the vowel first in words and then decide if it's closed in if so they put a fist under it and say it's short sound.


OPEN SYLLABLES

An open syllable ends with a vowel and it says it's long sound.  We refer to these as Ti ger words.  
 Here are some examples:  hi, be, we, me, so, go, she, ho

Here is a visual I like to use with my students:

open closed syllables

I grabbed this cute fairy door from Amazon and it's the perfect size and has just the right amount of novelty to make this lesson extra fun!

You can grab the cute door here
amazon affiliate link


I like to also fold over sentence strips to work on open and closed vowels:

Here are some examples of how easy these are to make to support your students on this:

open and closed syllable lesson ideas

The foundations of how you teach vowels to me is important.  I start by teaching my students that the vowels  are the stars of the alphabet.  This is a great foundation for them to remember the vowel stars.  I use that foundation to reinforce looking for the 'stars' in words for syllabication. 

If you are interested in my Stars of the Alphabet pack you can grab it here.


When teaching this lesson on open or closed syllables I use star coffee stirrers that I purchased from amazon:

You can grab those here.
amazon affiliate link


Since my students are so familiar with our reference to vowels being stars these work perfectly.  First I have them find the vowels in the word, then they can slide the long stick up to break up the words into syllables.

open and closed syllable lesson ideas



As you can see this would be engaging for your students, especially if they are already familiar with the vowels being the 'stars' of the alphabet. 

open and closed syllable lesson ideas




I also use the ideas from 95% phonics to teach open syllables with an open palm and closed syllables with a fist.  I've included  these hand visuals in my syllable pack as well.  

As you can see these hands on ideas can be great visuals and very helpful as a scaffold to your young readers on better understanding open and closed syllables.  The walking vowel icon you see in that photo is also included in this pack and I explain how and why I use that with open  syllables.

You can find out more by visiting my store ~ here is the link to this syllable pack if you are interested.  Here

open and closed syllable lesson ideas


I hope these ideas have been helpful as an introduction to open and closed syllables with your students.

Please email if you have any further questions,
as always...

Happy Teaching~

xoxox,



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