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How to Teach the Syllables to Beginner Readers

Updated on April 4, 2018
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been teaching for more than 30 years. I also write fiction and non-fiction stories.

A consonant plus a vowel makes a syllable

Teaching the syllable is part 2 of the basic reading program. This is not an easy job on the part of the teacher. Teaching reading is a daunting job, especially for beginner readers. To a young child who doesn't have any idea what a syllable is, it is the teacher's job to let the child know what it is all about. This does not mean however that you will explain what a syllable is. You have to show what a syllable is.

Let the child see that if you add a vowel to a consonant it will blend to make another sound. By doing this, the child will know what a syllable is.

This is why it is very important for the child to master the sound of each letter of the alphabet. Only then can the child learn how to read syllables then words after mastering all the sounds.

The First Syllables:

Now that the child has mastered the sound of each vowel in the alphabet, it is time to teach the syllables.

As soon as the child knows the sound of all the vowels (a, e, I, o, u); it is now easier for them to figure out how syllables work out by blending a consonant and a vowel.

I always start with the letter Mm.

Again, you have to emphasize the sound that says mmmm. I tell the kids that the sound of Mm is like the sound that one makes when the food is delicious. This is one way of helping the child understand the sound of letter Mm better. You can say, “Mmm, the food is good.”

You can now teach the child to connect the sound of m to the vowels by saying, the sound of m is mmm and the sound of Aa is aaa, if you combine mmm and aaa, you will say ma. Do the same with, e, I, o, u.

You can write the syllables on the blackboard but using a flashcard is better.

Now, you can let the child read, ma me mi mo mu.

Individual Reading is Good

Let each child read the syllables several times in order to retain the sounds in their mind. Repetition is still the best way to teach young kids.

I always let each child read the syllable. I make sure that every kid participates in the recitation.

When each child has recited the syllable; apply choral reading. The good thing about choral reading is that even those who have difficulty reading can imitate their classmates and learn.

Now that you have introduced the syllables to the children, you can now give them exercises.

Repetition always works with young children. Apply it in every lesson you teach.

Individual Reading:

It is very important to let every child participate in class activities. Recitation is good as it will help the child express himself or herself in class. This teaching method will help the child develop self-confidence too in doing something.

Some young children lack self-confidence. They need you to help them grow stronger without fear of facing challenges and changes inside the classroom.

In a class, everybody should participate in class activities so that nobody is left behind.

The boy is only 3 years old when this video was taken.

Activities for teaching the syllable:

Here are some of the activities that you can use for teaching ma me mi mo mu.

  1. Coloring pictures that begin with Mm
  2. Tracing ma me mi mo mu
  3. Matching the syllables to pictures
  4. Coloring the picture with the beginning syllable
  5. Matching pictures with the correct beginning syllable
  6. Choosing the correct syllable for the given picture

Do the same method when teaching the other consonants.

Here's a suggestion that you can follow.

After the syllables for letter Mm, you can follow this sequence when teaching the syllables:

Ff, Gg, Ss, Dd, Tt, Ww, Nn, Bb, Pp, Hh, Ll, Rr, Vv, Cc, Kk, Qq, Yy, Xx, Zz.

When teaching the syllable for Cc and Kk, use this:

ca ke ki co cu.

When teaching Xx, use the ending syllable like ax, ex, ix, ox ux.

There is no fixed method when teaching the syllables to beginner readers.There are many ways of teaching syllables to the children. The choice is yours. The important thing is, you have to focus on the mastery of the sound of each letter because this is the best way for the child to learn how to read syllables then finally CVC words.


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