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Mark Pennington

Knowing the Top Ten Syllable Rules can help improve reading, pronunciation, and spelling.

1. Every syllable has only one vowel sound. Some syllables have just one vowel; others have two. But even when there are two vowels, there can be only one vowel sound in each syllable, so the two vowels say one sound.
For example, out-side.

2. When the vowel's at the end of a syllable, it has a long sound. Reading specialists call the Vowel-Consonant-Vowel (VCV) pattern an open syllable.
For example, be-low.

3. When the vowel is not at the end of a syllable, it has a short sound. Reading specialists call the Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) pattern a closed syllable.
For example, bas-ket.

4. Divide syllables between doubled consonants, unless the doubled consonant is part of a syllable that is a base word.
For example, din-ner and tell-er.

5. Usually keep vowel teams together in the same syllable.
For example, boat-ing.

6. Keep the silent final "e" and the vowel before in the same syllable. The silent final "e" makes the vowel before a long sound if there is only one consonant in between the vowel and the "e".
For example, basement.

7. Keep the "r"-control vowels (ar, er, ir, or, and ur) in the same syllable.
For example, or-al-ly.

8. Keep the consonant-"le" sounds (ble, cle, dle, fle, gle, and ple) in the same syllable. These syllables have the schwa sound between the consonant and the "le". The schwa sound sounds like a nasal short u.
For example, cra-dle.

9. All words have one syllable that has a primary accent. The vowel in the accented syllable receives the stress. Words may also have secondary accents. The primary accent is usually found on the vowel in the root, not the prefix or suffix. Also, the syllable before a double consonant is usually accented.
For example, slw-ly and swm-ming.

10. Unaccented vowel sounds frequently have the schwa sound, especially when there is only one letter in the syllable. All vowels can have the schwa sound.
For example, a-bout.

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The Top Ten Syllable Rules will help students improve reading, pronunciation, and spelling accuracy. Applying these syllabication rules will also help readers identify prefixes, roots, and affixes, which improves word identification. Clear examples follow each syllable rule.

Mark Pennington is an educational author, presenter, reading specialist, and middle school teacher. Mark is committed to differentiated instruction for the diverse needs of today's remedial reading students. Visit Mark's website at http://www.penningtonpublishing.com to check out his free teacher resources and books: Teaching Reading Strategies, Teaching Essay Strategies, Teaching Grammar and Mechanics, and Teaching Spelling and Vocabulary.

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