I'm so glad You're Here!

Syllables Word Work

It is important to include syllables word work as part of your small group focus. When focusing on syllables, students improve their decoding abilities. As their decoding improves, their fluency also gets better. Syllables word work can include breaking words down to individual syllables. It can also include taking individual syllables and making a word. Read on for some ideas to focus on when doing syllables word work.

Syllables Word Work Idea

Here is a syllables word work idea that can be done with all readers, no matter their ability. You can simply adjust the number of syllables in the words used, depending on the groups’ needs. 

Since students often confuse the number of syllables with the number of individual sounds in a word, you’ll first want to clarify the meaning of a syllable. 

Syllables are units of sound, found in words, that must always contain a vowel sound.

Then, follow these steps to help students build on their understanding of the number of syllables in words.

1-3 Syllables Word Work Example:

  1. Start with a one syllable word that is familiar to them (such as: all).
  2. Say a word that rhymes with that word. (all, ball)
  3. Have students make the new word (ball) by switching out the first letter. When doing this, the student should say how many syllables are in the word. 
  4. Repeat this with a few more rhyming words. (fall, call, tall, wall)
  5. Next, say a two syllable word, that uses one of the one syllable words. (ball- baseball)
  6. Students should make the additional syllable (base) and add it to the word ball. Then the students can identify how many syllables are in the new word. 
  7. Choose a word with three syllables, using the same one syllable word. (ball- basketball)
  8. Students can make the new word, with your help, if needed. The students should again identify the number of syllables in the new word.


A Few More Tips:

  • It helps to pick a theme that students are interested in, like sports, for example. This will help the student since they’ll already be familiar with the words. 
  • Use visuals, like actual numbers, and objects, like the pom poms to help students identify the number of syllables and what those syllables are, in each word. 

Check out the video and photos below to see this in action!

Syllable Counting and Identification

Practicing syllable counting and identification with students, frequently, will make it more likely that students will apply their knowledge of syllables when independently doing word decoding. 

Students can practice counting and identifying syllables:

  • during word work in a small group
  • with task cards/short games
  • when focusing on vocabulary words from a text
  • within passages/stories, when reading
I’ve made it simple for your kiddos to practice syllable counting and identification of 2, 3, and 4 syllable words. Task cards, passages, and a vocabulary graphic organizer are included for you to print and use with your students. Check out my Syllables Reading Passages and Task Cards to use with your students!

ACS 5198phonics-in-context

If you’re looking for more syllables word work ideas, Three Ways to Practice Syllables can help!
Picture of Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

Leave a Reply

Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


Join the List

fluency passages freebie

Fluency Freebies!

Sign up for our newsletter and receive a set of fluency passages to help you incorporate fluency into your routine.

Recent Posts