Springman Reading Support

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”

Rules of Syllable Division

The following provides background information, which can be used for specific lessons in dividing words in syllables.

1. Each syllable contains a vowel sound. When dividing a word into syllables, vowel teams stay together (ai, ay, ea, ee, oa, ow, oo, oi, oy, ou, ie, ei).  

2. Words containing one consonant in the middle, or VCE (vowel-consonant-vowel):

 ·        Divide after a consonant that is closing in a vowel. (ton-ic)

·        Divide after the vowel and allow the consonant to go into the second syllable. (mo-tor)(After showing these divisions, you can teach that students should try the long vowel and if it doesn’t work, try the short vowel. It isn’t more complicated than that.) 

3. Words containing two consonants–VCCE (vowel-consonant-consonant-vowel)

·        Divide between the two consonants. (con-tain, spel-ling)

·        Keep digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh, ck, ph, tch) together. (cric-ket, fish-y)

·        Keep blends together in the second syllable (mis-spell)

·        Keep ble, gle, and ple together at the end of a word (ta-ble, bu-gle) 

4. Words containing three consonants–VCCCV (vowel-three consonants-vowel)

·        Keep digraphs (ch, sh, th, wh, ck, ph, tch) together.

·        Blend stays in second syllable (hun-dred)

·        Split compound words between the two words. (base-ball)

·        Divide before the first consonant and le (jug-gle) 

5. Words containing four consonants–VCCCCV

·        Keep digraphs, blends and welded sounds (ing, ank, ong, etc.) together. (wing-span)

·        Three letter blends stay together (con-struct)

Adapted from: Wilson, Barbara, Rules Notebook, p.16