How to divide syllables

How to divide syllables DEFAULT

Syllable Division Rules

Syllable division rules show us how to break up a multi-syllable word into its syllable parts. There are six main syllable division &#;rules&#; to guide us.

How is Syllable Division done?

  • It all starts with the vowels. Find the vowels in the word. It helps to underline or highlight them.
  • Find the patten of the consonants and vowels (VCV, VCCV, VCCCV, VCCCCV, C+le, VV).
  • Use the syllable division rule (shown below) to divide the word into its syllable parts.

Why Should we Teach Syllable Division?

Learning the rules of syllable division provides our students with an effective strategy for chunking up those bigger words into more manageable parts. I see it as another &#;tool&#; for their &#;tool belt&#; that leads to more accuracy while reading.

Understanding syllable division also helps students to determine what the vowel sound will be. As I learn more, I see this works best when incorporated with morphology (think prefixes, suffixes, and roots). When I first learned syllable division, I only learned syllable division without the consideration of morphemes (which are the smallest units of meaning in our language). I now teach my students to look for familiar prefixes, suffixes, and even roots (for older kids) first. If there aren&#;t any, then begin syllable division.

To get to that point though, we need to teach them those syllable division rules and give them enough practice with them so that it becomes more automatic. All the while, I&#;m teaching new prefixes and suffixes to them so those can also become more familiar.  I think the two actually go together well. But I digress! Back to syllable division!

The first thing to know is that every syllable must have a written vowel. The very definition of a syllable is an uninterrupted unit of speech with one vowel sound.

syllable division

Syllable Division &#;Rules&#;

Here are the syllable division rules on one page:

syllable division
syllable division

  Here is a picture from my classroom: 

syllable division

As I mentioned above, first thing to know about syllable division is that it&#;s all about vowels!

Every syllable needs a vowel, so we can determine (usually) how many syllables there are based on the number of vowels.

  • Vowel teams and diphthongs count as one syllable even if there are two vowels because they work together to make one sound. 
  • Same with silent e. The e doesn&#;t make a sound so it doesn&#;t get it&#;s own syllable.
    • The exception of course is the syllable type consonant -le. This syllable is found in words like little, bubble, table. You cannot hear the e, but it does get its own syllable. It buddies with the l before it and the consonant before the l. More about that later, though!

Syllable Division Rules

The following slides show the main syllable division rules. 

Rule #1: Two consonants between the vowels: VCCV Pattern

The first syllable division rule is VC/VC, which stands for vowel-consonant-consonant-vowel. Train your students to find the vowels in the word. They are our starting point. In words with the VCCV pattern, there are two consonants between the two vowels. Usually, we split between those consonants.

syllable division

See the step by step directions with blue and yellow letters below. (Before teaching this, you should teach your students about open and closed syllable types.  For the word basket,  split between the and k.  The first syllable is bas and the second syllable is ket. Each syllable has a vowel.

syllable division

Of course there are always exceptions.

  • One exception is when there are R or L blends, like in the word secret. We keep R and L blends together, so instead of splitting between those consonants, we keep them together and move them to the second syllable.
  • We also keep digraphs and units (ing, ink, ang, ank, ost, olt, ind, ild, olt) together.  Never split those!
syllable division
syllable division

Rule #2 & 3: One Consonant between the Vowels: VCV Pattern 

There are twooptions here! This slide shows both ways.

syllable division

More commonly, you would split VCV syllables the before that consonant. This leaves your first syllable open, so the vowel would be long.

  • In the word silent, the letter l is the middle consonant between the vowels. We move that to be with the 2nd syllable: si-lent.
  • In the word bonus, the letter n is the middle consonant between the vowels. We move that to be with the second syllable, leaving the first syllable open (because it ends with a vowel) bo-nus
syllable division

Sometimes though, we do the opposite. Sometimes, we split VCV syllables after the consonant. In this case, we close that first syllable, leaving that vowel short.

  • In the word robin, the middle consonant b moves with the 1st syllable making rob-in. The first syllable rob is closed by the b.
  • In the word visit, the middle consonant s moves with the 1st syllable making vis-it. The first syllable vis is closed by the v.
syllable division

Rule #4: Three consonants between the vowels.

In the case of three consonants between the vowels, we usually split after the first consonant.

  • In the word conflict, the letter nfl are between the vowels. The first consonant n goes with the first syllable and the other two (fl) go to the 2nd syllable: con-flict.

See below that there are the usual exceptions.

  • We never split digraphs, blends, or units.
  • Also, a word this big can often be a compound word. Instead, you would split between the two words.

Rule #5: Four Consonants Between the Vowels

This is super similar to the last one. Split after the first consonant, unless it is a compound word. There are not as many of these words, and honestly when you&#;re getting into words this big, I tend to shift my focus to morphology.

Rule #6: Consonant -le

On paper, I&#;ve always had this as #6, but I actually found myself teaching this one after #3 because it came up earlier since it is so common. A great example is the word little.  

Following this rule, we see the -le at the end and count one back to make lit-tle. Consonant +le in this word is t+le.

This is the syllable type where there is no vowel sound. You only hear the consonant and the /l/ or /ul/.

Rule #7: V/V

When there are two vowels next to each other, but they are not vowel teams or diphthongs (more than one letter making one sound together), then you split between the vowels. These two vowels do not share a sound. I think this is the hardest for my students to decode usually. I wait to teach this one because it can be very confusing!

That first vowel is always long and that second one usually sounds like a schwa.

Compound Words

I&#;ve already mentioned this a few times as an exception to the other rules, but it&#;s really a rule all on its own. If the word is a compound words, don&#;t worry about the other rules, just split between those two words.

syllable division

Affixes: Prefixes and Suffixes

I almost put this one first because it&#;s so important, but I didn&#;t want to confuse. It is super helpful for students to get in the habit of always looking for prefixes and suffixes. This starts in kindergarten with the suffix -s!

I teach my students to always &#;chunk out&#; the prefixes and suffixes and to focus on the base word first. This requires direct instruction with all the different prefixes and suffixes.

In first grade, they commonly will see -s, -es, -ing, -ed, -er, -est, re and un. 2nd graders regularly see -ly, -ment, -ful, -less, -able, pre-, dis-, mis-, and so many more!

In some cases, suffixes like -ed don&#;t necessarily make a new syllable (jumped, camped, etc), while in others (rented, busted) it does make another syllable. But that&#;s even more reason to teach them about prefixes and suffixes! Our students will cover the -ed in jumped, then see only one vowel and one syllable. After reading jump, they will then uncover -ed and decide how to pronounce it &#;jumpt, jump-ed, or jumpd&#;.

You can learn more about this HERE.

syllable division

3 Syllable Words: 

When dividing a word with more than two syllables, first check for affixes (prefixes and suffixes). Then start at the left with the first two vowels, divide those syllables, then move to the right.

syllable division

If you&#;re interested in just these syllable division posters and some practice pages with all syllable types, you can find them HERE.  The practice  pages come in two formats: tabbed notebook (shown below) and also regular full-page worksheets.

Resources for Syllable Division

Here is a sneak peak of a few of the practice pages.

And because I&#;m so indecisive and have created and recreated so many posters over the years, I included all sets of visuals shown in this post. You can just choose your favorite and print!

However, if you already own my Syllable Division with Open and Closed Syllables, I also added these posters to that pack! You can find that HERE.

(If you&#;re wondering what the difference is, this pack above has a lot more practice pages, but just focuses on open and closed syllables because it is part of my systematic units and has detailed lesson plans. The new, smaller pack above that has just the posters and 40 practice pages for all syllable division rules. It includes open and closed syllables then has another section with all the other syllable types. It is not part of the systematic units and does not have the detailed lesson plans.)

Here are a couple of syllable activities that I&#;ve done:

For these two, I put the first syllable in one color and the 2nd on another color. Students read the syllables and matched them to make real words.

This next activity was a review activity after learning all syllable types. I wrote words on note cards. I gave each student one at a time. They read the card to the group and then together we determined which pattern it followed. (Students would copy the word on their white board first and do the syllable division individually.) We sorted them into the correct column. The next day I used colored transparencies to chunk a certain syllable. For each word, I would ask for the first or second syllable.  Students would say the syllable and then we would highlight that part.

What are Syllable Types?

This post is all about the syllable division rules. But you also will want to know the syllable types. As I mentioned above, I have a pack that focuses on syllable division with only open and closed syllables, which are two of the 7 syllable types.  Want to read about the other syllable types? Click HERE to read more about syllable types.

Filed Under: Dyslexia, Orton-Gillingham, phonics, reading, word work


How to Teach Students to Divide Words into Syllables

Did you know that dividing words into syllables is one of the most powerful decoding strategies out there?

If your students are ready to read words with more than one syllable, then it&#;s time to start teaching syllable division rules!

When readers know the syllable division rules, it A) helps them successfully decode multisyllabic words and B) provides them with clues about the vowel sounds in multisyllabic words!

Knowing how to divide words into syllables gives your kids POWER to attack those longer words!

In today&#;s post, I&#;ll explain how to teach students to divide words into syllables!

&#;And I also have something to confess:

Despite being an English speaker, teacher, and avid reader, I did not know these rules until I&#;d already been teaching for years.

So if these rules are new to you, don&#;t sweat it! We&#;re all learning! All the time!

The 6 Syllable Types

Do you know the 6 syllable types? They are:

  1. Closed
  2. Open
  3. Vowel-Consonant-E (also known as Magic E or Silent E)
  4. Vowel Team
  5. R-Controlled
  6. Consonant-L-E

If you haven&#;t read my post that goes in-depth on these syllable types, you may want to read that first, and then come back to this post. My 6 syllable types post can be found HERE!

(And yes &#; there are a lot of terms and rules to remember when you&#;re teaching phonics. If you&#;d like a free PDF that has many different terms and rules in one place, grab this freebie!)

Finding the Number of Syllables in a Word

An important first step in dividing up a word into its syllables is knowing how many syllables the word has.

You may already know that 1 vowel sound = 1 syllable. If a word has 3 vowel sounds, for example, then it has 3 syllables.

(Notice that I&#;m saying vowel sounds, not actual vowels. The word &#;cupcake,&#; for example, technically has 3 vowels. But the e is silent. It only has two syllables because the vowel sounds we hear are the short u and the long a, 2 total vowel sounds.)

Syllable Division Patterns

There are only 6 syllable types, and there are even fewer syllable division patterns!

The syllable division patterns are as follows (V = vowel; C = consonant):


If you have two consonant sounds between two vowel sounds, divide the word between the consonant sounds.

In the word &#;sunset,&#; the vowel sounds are the short u and the short e. The two consonants in the middle, n and s, get divided up.

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!

In the word &#;bathtub,&#; the vowel sounds are the short a and the short u. The two consonant SOUNDS in the middle are /th/ and /t/. The word gets divided up between the h and the second t.

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!

If there are 3 consonants between the vowels, rather than 2, there&#;s going to be a blend in there. The sounds that get blended together stay together in one syllable.

For example, in the word &#;complex,&#; we divide between the m and the p.


Moving on&#;sometimes there&#;s just one consonant sound between the vowels, rather than 2.

If this is the case, the first syllable division rule that we try is V/CV (dividing up the word BEFORE the consonant).

For example, in the word &#;robot,&#; we divide up the word before the b. This creates an open syllable, &#;ro,&#; that ends in a vowel. As a result, the o in that syllable is a long o.

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!


However, sometimes the V/CV division rule doesn&#;t work. This is where it gets a little tricky.

If we try the V/CV rule but discover that it creates an open first syllable that should NOT be open (aka it should not have a long vowel sound), then we have to revert to the VC/V pattern.

For example, let&#;s think about the word &#;comet.&#; It&#;s pronounced with a short o at the beginning, right? It&#;s not CO-met. But if we were to apply the V/CV division pattern, that would make the o sound long. Instead, we have to revert to VC/V in order to reflect the fact that the o has the short o sound.

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!

Another example is the word &#;seven:&#;

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!


Last but not least, we have the V/V syllable division rule! When there are two vowels next to each other that do NOT work as a team, then we divide the word between those two separate vowel sounds.

For example, we divide the word &#;diet&#; between the i and the e:

Want to teach your students the syllable division rules? This post explains all of them and also has a link to the 6 syllable types! This is must-know information for first grade, second grade, and on up!

However, in a word like &#;coat,&#; we do NOT divide between the o and the a. There is only one vowel sound, the long o. Therefore, it&#;s a one-syllable word, and the o and the a work together to make a single sound. They cannot be divided up.

Tips for Teaching Syllable Division Rules to Students

Okay, so&#;.that&#;s not too bad, right? Once you understand the four syllable division patterns, then you can teach them to your students!

As you probably noticed from the photos in this post, I have my students circle and label the vowels with red, underline and label the consonants with blue, and then cut or draw a line to divide the words. (Scroll back up through the photos in this post and have a closer look at what I did, if that helps.)

Here&#;s the procedure:

  1. Look at the word. Circle the vowel sounds with red.
  2. Underline the consonants BETWEEN the vowels (don&#;t worry about the other consonants).
  3. Determine which syllable division rule (VC/CV, V/CV, VC/V, or V/V) applies. (Students may have to attempt to read the word to choose between V/CV and VC/V.)
  4. Cut or mark the word accordingly.
  5. Read the word.

You can also have students code the syllable types after Step #3 (closed, open, VCE, vowel team, r-controlled, or CLE—read more about the syllable types HERE!)

When we&#;re learning about syllable division and syllable types, we use strips of paper. Students can copy a word I write on the board (or I prepare the word strips for them ahead of time).

I don&#;t read the word to them, because the purpose of the division exercise is to get them to break up the word and read it.

Once they&#;ve copied the word, then we go through Steps listed above, and students can cut the word in half.

The ultimate goal of this exercise is to get students to break up multisyllabic words as they read. So, as a bridge between this activity and reading, we use whiteboards or sticky notes to divide up tricky words they encounter in texts.

If I&#;m working one-on-one with a student and he/she comes to a tricky word, we can write it on a small whiteboard and then break it up.

If students are working on their own, they can write a tricky word on a sticky note, divide it up, read it, and then continue reading.

This does slow down the reading process a little, but I&#;m telling you&#;kids feel SO powerful when they can break up words and determine what types of syllables they have. This process also makes it easier for students to figure out the vowel sounds in a word too.

When to Teach This Stuff

You might be wondering, &#;When should I teach these rules? At what developmental stage or grade level are these appropriate?&#;

When to teach the VC/CV rule:

Whenever kids have mastered CVC words, they can read 2-syllable words!

Simple compound words are a great place to start. You&#;ll want to use words like &#;sunset&#; and &#;pigpen&#; that are 2 CVC words &#;put together.&#; At this point, you can teach students the VC/CV rule. You can also explain that both of the syllables in those words are closed and have short vowels.

I don&#;t normally teach this in Kindergarten, but if I have more advanced students who are truly proficient with CVC words, then it makes sense to give them &#;access&#; to these simple 2-syllable words.

Of course, if you give students words with consonant digraphs or blends in between, then it becomes a little more complicated—early first grade may be a better time for those more complicated VC/CV words.

When to teach the V/CV and VC/V rules:

I teach the V/CV rule first, because we always try the V/CV pattern before reverting to VC/V.

You can teach this rule once students know about the long vowel sounds.

They don&#;t need to have completely mastered long vowels and all their spelling patterns. But they at least need to understand the concepts of open and closed syllables (and how short and long vowels relate to open and closed syllables).

When we&#;re working on the V/CV rule, I intentionally only give them practice words that follow that rule.

After they understand the V/CV rule, then I explain that sometimes we have to use the VC/V rule instead.

I then give them VC/V words to practice.

Finally, I give them mixed sets of words where they have to choose between V/CV and VC/V.

When to teach the V/V rules:

I wait to teach V/V until students really understand vowel teams and diphthongs.

If students don&#;t understand vowel teams, then they may try to divide up words like &#;train&#; into two syllables, between the a and the i. If they don&#;t understand diphthongs, they may try to divide up words like &#;loud&#; into two syllables.

Once they know the vowel teams and diphthongs, however, they&#;re more likely to recognize that words like &#;fluent&#; have two vowel sounds, not one, and we divide up the word accordingly (flu/ent).


This was a lot of info, right?! And it&#;s a lot to figure out and teach on your own &#; if you don&#;t have lesson plans and materials for it. Because unfortunately, many phonics and reading programs don&#;t cover this stuff!

If you&#;d like to make teaching this EASY and FUN for you and your students, check out my step-by-step guide to teaching all the syllable division rules and syllable types.

I designed this resource to fit perfectly into any phonics program. (However, if you&#;re using my phonics program, From Sounds to Spelling, you won&#;t need this resource because we cover this info within the program.)

You set the pace for how quickly you progress through these lessons! 1st grade teachers may spread them out throughout the entire school year, while 2nd grade and up may progress more quickly. Here&#;s page 1 of the table of contents (this is only half of the lessons):

Here&#;s what a lesson plan looks like:

Also included are words to practice dividing, plus lots of hands-on games!

Everything is done for you, so you won&#;t have to invest time or energy in figuring all this out on your own and creating lessons!

However, if you already feel confident in teaching syllable division and have plenty of materials for it, you may just need a few practice activities for your students. If that&#;s the case, my digital practice games might be a better fit.

These activities give your students practice with dividing words up into syllables AND identifying syllable types. The games include audio directions that explain the syllable types and division rules!

Syllable division practice

I hope these resources are helpful to you! You can also pin this blog post to your Pinterest account so you can come back to it later:

Do you teach your students the syllable division rules? If you teach first grade, second grade, or higher, these are must-know rules! Knowing how to break up words into syllables helps students with decoding and understanding vowel sounds. Learn all about the syllable division rules in this post!

Happy teaching!

  1. Little rock arkansas weather history
  2. Izzy dollface
  3. St thomas cost of attendance
  4. Witcher 3 earth elemental
  5. Imperial recruiter

Phonics, Syllable and Accent Rules


Phonics Rules

The vowels are "a,e,i,o, and u"; also sometimes "y" & "w". This also includes the diphthongs "oi,oy,ou,ow,au,aw, oo" and many others.
The consonants are all the other letters which stop or limit the flow of air from the throat in speech. They are: "b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,qu,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z,ch,sh,th,ph,wh, ng, and gh".

1. Sometimes the rules don't work.
There are many exceptions in English because of the vastness of the language and the many languages from which it has borrowed. The rules do work however, in the majority of the words.

2. Every syllable in every word must have a vowel.
English is a "vocal" language; Every word must have a vowel.

3. "C" followed by "e, i or y" usually has the soft sound of "s". Examples: "cyst", "central", and "city".

4. "G" followed by "e, i or y" usually has the soft sound of "j". Example: "gem", "gym", and "gist".

5. When 2 consonants are joined together and form one new sound, they are a consonant digraph. They count as one sound and one letter and are never separated. Examples: "ch,sh,th,ph and wh".

6. When a syllable ends in a consonant and has only one vowel, that vowel is short. Examples: "fat, bed, fish, spot, luck".

7. When a syllable ends in a silent "e", the silent "e" is a signal that the vowel in front of it is long. Examples: "make, gene, kite, rope, and use".

8. When a syllable has 2 vowels together, the first vowel is usually long and the second is silent. Examples: "pain, eat, boat, res/cue, say, grow". NOTE: Diphthongs don't follow this rule; In a diphthong, the vowels blend together to create a single new sound. The diphthongs are: "oi,oy,ou,ow,au,aw, oo" and many others.

9. When a syllable ends in any vowel and is the only vowel, that vowel is usually long. Examples: "pa/per, me, I, o/pen, u/nit, and my".

When a vowel is followed by an "r" in the same syllable, that vowel is "r-controlled". It is not long nor short. "R-controlled "er,ir,and ur" often sound the same (like "er"). Examples: "term, sir, fir, fur, far, for, su/gar, or/der".

Basic Syllable Rules

1. To find the number of syllables:
count the vowels in the word,
subtract any silent vowels,
(like the silent "e" at the end of a word or the second vowel when two vowels a together in a syllable)
subtract one vowel from every diphthong, (diphthongs only count as one vowel sound.)
the number of vowels sounds left is the same as the number of syllables.
The number of syllables that you hear when you pronounce a word is the same as the number of vowels sounds heard. For example:
The word "came" has 2 vowels, but the "e" is silent, leaving one vowel sound andone syllable.
The word "outside" has 4 vowels, but the "e" is silent and the "ou" is a diphthong which counts as only one sound, so this word has only two vowels sounds and therefore, two syllables.

2. Divide between two middle consonants.
Split up words that have two middle consonants. For example:
hap/pen, bas/ket, let/ter, sup/per, din/ner, and Den/nis. The only exceptions are the consonant digraphs. Never split up consonant digraphs as they really represent only one sound. The exceptions are "th", "sh", "ph", "th", "ch", and "wh".

3. Usually divide before a single middle consonant.
When there is only one syllable, you usually divide in front of it, as in:
"o/pen", "i/tem", "e/vil", and "re/port". The only exceptions are those times when the first syllable has an obvious short sound, as in "cab/in".

4. Divide before the consonant before an "-le" syllable.
When you have a word that has the old-style spelling in which the "-le" sounds like "-el", divide before the consonant before the "-le". For example: "a/ble", "fum/ble", "rub/ble" "mum/ble" and "this/tle". The only exception to this are "ckle" words like "tick/le".

5. Divide off any compound words, prefixes, suffixes and roots which have vowel sounds.
Split off the parts of compound words like "sports/car" and "house/boat". Divide off prefixes such at "un/happy", "pre/paid", or "re/write". Also divide off suffixes as in the words "farm/er", "teach/er", "hope/less" and "care/ful". In the word "stop/ping", the suffix is actually "-ping" because this word follows the rule that when you add "-ing" to a word with one syllable, you double the last consonant and add the "-ing".

Accent Rules

When a word has more than one syllable, one of the syllables is always a little louder than the others. The syllable with the louder stress is the accented syllable. It may seem that the placement of accents in words is often random or accidental, but these are some rules that usually work.

1. Accents are often on the first syllable. Examples: ba'/sic, pro'/gram.

2. In words that have suffixes or prefixes, the accent is usually on the main root word. Examples: box'/es, un/tie'.

3. If de-, re-, ex-, in-,po-, pro-, or a- is the first syllable in a word, it is usually not accented. Examples: de/lay', ex/plore'.

4. Two vowel letters together in the last syllable of a word often indicates an accented last syllable. Examples: com/plain', con/ceal'.

5. When there are two like consonant letters within a word, the syllable before the double consonants is usually accented. Examples: be/gin'/ner, let'/ter.

6. The accent is usually on the syllable before the suffixes -ion, ity, -ic, -ical, -ian, -ial, or -ious, and on the second syllable before the suffix -ate. Examples: af/fec/ta'/tion, dif/fer/en'/ti/ate.

7. In words of three or more syllables, one of the first two syllables is usually accented. Examples: ac'/ci/dent, de/ter'/mine.

What is a Syllable? - Open and Closed Syllables - Kids Academy

Or even hugs. Since her childhood, she speaks of her reputation and the fact that the virgin should be sold for marriage with a wealthy man. And this fool came here to give it a piece to some middle-class businessman, whose dad did not even want to receive me a month ago. On one issue. And now I'm going to stare at his daughter.

Syllables divide how to

Having twisted it in all directions and admired its view, I put it in front of the mirror and stood behind it. - Well, look, you are simply Divine. Do you like. I lifted her arms straight and peered into her eyes in the reflection. - Yes, beautiful.

Speaking English - How to count syllables

He opened his mouth. And as soon as he began to scorn him to his lips, he heard the voice of the same Venus: Fuuu: I was joking. Drop it.

Now discussing:

Without stopping kissing her. gently squeezing her ass. She pressed closer to me, biting my lips.

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