Closed and Open Syllables

Estimated reading: 2 minutes

Closed and open syllables are the first syllable types that you’ll teach your students. They are also the most common. A closed syllable is one that has a short vowel and ends with at least one consonant (up, com). An open syllable is one single long vowel (ra, pre).

Here are some reminders when teaching:
  • This should be taught at the end of Kindergarten (single syllables). Students should at least be able to identify a closed syllable from an open syllable. 
  • Use a foam house with a closed syllable on the front to discuss the concept of closed and open syllables. The final consonant should be on the door. 
  • This should be reviewed in first grade – multisyllabic (or any grade in intervention) and take it a step further with syllabication. 
    • Use the Syllable Division Posters when you introduce this concept.
    • Use the Syllable Division Teacher Guide for safe words to use. This also has sentences for students to apply the skill into decodable text. 
    • Use the Blue Flip Chart to follow steps to syllabication.
    • Model for students first. 
    • Write words on strips of paper. Walk through the steps to divide the word into two syllables. 
    • Use a highlighter to draw the syllable wall. Label each syllable.
    • Literally split the paper into two syllables. Then read each syllable. Put it together to read the word. 
    • Provide lots of practice opportunities for students
  • Teach both the VC/CV and V/CV patterns. 
  • When a vowel comes up in the visual part of the Three-Part Drill, use a bent (left) arm to indicate a closed syllable. Use an extended arm to indicate an open syllable. 
  • Remember to remove the final consonant on the blending board to practice open syllables!
  • Use a Rapid Word Chart with the most common closed and open syllables (IOG or masters section) for students to practice automaticity. 
  • Include nonsense words to solidify the process

Use IOG to develop mini houses to have students practice this concept.