Syllables are simple, one for every vowel sound, so there are lots of syllables around. You can clap or tap, or feel your mouth drop! Hearing syllables is a part of phonemic awareness that can be practiced with a syllable sort mat and animal flashcards.
Open and Closed Syllables
When a vowel is followed by at least one consonant, it is closed in. It often makes a short sound, as in pin. (the vowel stops short)
A vowel is open with no consonant behind. Open syllables are often long, you will find. (the vowel can go long)
Advanced phonics patterns are more powerful and follow their own guidelines: “car” makes a new sound because of Bossy R, and so does “loud” because of the Diphthong. “Cake” and “team” both have long vowel sounds because of Silent e and Vowel Teams. WATCH this video from Jessie Ketchum.
WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Open and Closed Syllable tutorial at Wakelet. Some online games require flash, which is no longer supported after 12/31/2020. Learn more at The End of Flash.
Examples of words with open and closed syllables at sightwordgames.
WATCH videos and play games at the Syllable Division tutorial at Wakelet
Open & Closed Vowels in Two Syllable Words
Open syllables are found more frequently in words with more than one syllable.
This chart from the Long Vowel Patterns section of the Phonics Pow Toolkit shows some examples. See the full chart at the post Author Wiley Blevins.
After learning about how to divide syllables, notice that two syllable words with one middle consonant can divide after the first vowel. This leaves the first syllable open, which often has the long vowel sound. Examples: pa|per, be|gin, ti|ger, ro|bot, mu|sic. Note that there are exceptions: about 40% of the time the word splits after the middle consonant, making the first syllable closed and short. Examples: cam|el, ped|al, vis|it, rob|in.
In words with more than one syllable, one syllable is stressed or given more emphasis. Other syllables are unstressed, or unaccented. The schwa sound (often “uh” similar to a short u) can occur in an unaccented syllable, so it is heard more often in words with more than one syllable. Notice that schwa can be present in words with consonant-le (where it sounds like /ul/), open or closed syllables alike.
Learn more at More Ways Vowels Can Be Long.