Fairy Tale Themed Syllable Counting Cards
Counting syllables is another great tool to teach your child that can help improve their spelling and reading skills. It is also sometimes a largely overlooked skill since it doesn’t directly involve spelling or reading.
Let’s talk about syllables and how to count them. And I’ve got a super cute set of Fairy Tale Themed Count and Clip Syllable Cards for you at the end!
What is a Syllable?
Syllables can be tricky to define. Merriam Webster defines a syllable as
“a unit of spoken language that is next bigger than a speech sound and consists of one or more vowel sounds alone or of a syllabic consonant alone or of either with one or more consonant sounds preceding or following”
What?! I’m not sure I even got that, so I can’t expect my kindergartner or first grader to understand that definition.
Most elementary teachers teach syllables as being a part of a word or a word chunk. This is much easier for young learners to understand.
There are several rules for dividing words into syllables. I won’t get into all of them here, but let’s talk about a few of the more common ones that young readers and spellers will encounter.
Rules for Counting Syllables
There are closed-syllables, which end in a consonant. These most often have a short vowel sound in them. For example, pig.
There are open-syllables, which end in a vowel sound and most often contain a long vowel sound.
Many syllables have the pattern -vce, as in game. The e on the end creates the long vowel sound.
The word ending -cle is another very common syllable that young readers and spellers will encounter. This can be found in words like pur-ple, ta-ble, or fiz-zle.
Vowel teams are very common in early word lists, too. Words like street, sheep, beach, or juice.
Syllables are also split at compound words. For example, my-self, down-town, or rail-way are all split this way.
The last type of common syllable that I’ll mention is double letter. Words like mat-ter, pud-dle, and sum-mer get divided into syllables this way.
There has to be one vowel sound per syllable, so if your child is a bit older and knows all their vowels, you could have them look at the word and divide it that way, too.
The Classroom Key has a great poster with syllable rules written out in a easy-to-understand way for children.
How to Teach Syllables to Children
There are a few ways that most teachers (or parents!) teach counting syllables.
The most common way, I think, is clapping. For example,
“Let’s count the syllables in drummer. Drum-mer (clap clap).”
Children love to work with their name, so one of the first words I use when I work with my kids is their name. Then their siblings names, then my name…you get the idea.
Another common, yet I think, trickier way to count syllables is by feeling the “chin drops” when you speak the word. If your child holds their hand just under his or her chin, they will count a syllable each time their chin touches their hand. Personally, I think this way to be tricky and require very big movements with my mouth, but it words for some.
The last way I like to teach syllables is with “robot speak”. If you talk like a robot (or your kids do), you will naturally break the words into syllables.
Think “How-are-you-do-ing-this-morn-ing?” (read to yourself in your best robot voice!)
Robot talking can be a fun and silly way for kids to work on their syllables.
Syllable Count and Clip Cards
My girls love everything princess and fairy tale. So, when it was time to work on counting syllables, I created these Fairy Tale Themed Count and Clip Syllable Cards!
Students look at the picture and say the word, broken down by syllables. The pictures are easy to name, too. My four year old, who cannot read, was able to catch on very quickly and start participating, too. This is a beginner set, so there are mostly one- and two-syllable words, with a few threes sprinkled in.
Here is a quick peek at one page of the cards. There are three pages in the download, for a total of 18 cards.
Counting syllables can be a really fun activity and will come in handy when students are trying to sound out words and spell them on their own later. So, have fun with it!
The Measured Mom has some great ideas for activities and free printables.
This Reading Mama has a fun printable game that your kids can play together or you can play with them.
Not ready to print the cards right now? Save this post to come back to later!