Consonant LE Syllables - The Reading and Spelling Rules No One Ever Taught You

A stable final syllable (also known as CLE) gives the word the necessary second vowel to make it a multisyllable word.

Here we are with our last syllable type! If you’ve been with us since the beginning of this series you’re all caught up on the crazy reading and spelling rules you may have never heard of - we certainly hadn’t. If you missed learning about all the spelling rules with the other syllable types - go back and check them out!

You can learn about Closed Syllables, VCE Syllables, Bossy-R Syllables, Open Syllables, and Vowel Teams here.

So this last syllable type is an interesting one and once I learned more about it, spelling made SO MUCH MORE sense. The last syllable type is the Stable Final Syllable. For example why don’t we spell APPLE as APL?! That would be so much easier and our beginning readers and spellers would be so much more successful!

So here’s the deal, we don’t spell APPLE as APL for two reasons.

First -

The word apple has 2 syllables, not 1. If you clap out the word apple you will hear two syllables. A-PL. Because the word has 2 syllables it needs at minimum - 2 vowels. So as per usual, E steps in to the job no one else wants to do and hangs out silently at the end of the word. This is nice and we are used to adding Silent E’s to the end of the words but that begs the question why not just leave it at APLE? Good question, let’s move onto our second step.

Second -

When a word ends with an L-E we need to check to see if a consonant will precede the L-E, if it does we have a syllable division rule that dictates “consonant L-E count back 3” which would mean we would divide the word as A-PLE. Dividing the word in that way will leave the A open. Open syllables require the vowel to say their long sound so we would end up with APLE rhyming with ABLE.

How Does This Help?

So knowing that consonant LE words need to be divided in the way will help us to know if the first syllable has a long or short sound. The word raffle has two Fs in order to keep the first syllable closed. Having a closed syllable will keep the first syllable’s vowel sound short RAF-FLE. Whereas in words like cradle you will get a long (open) vowel in the first syllable CRA-DLE.

This is a quick run down of the importance of this syllable type but it certainly is a nice one to really see the power of the syllable types and knowledge of how all six syllable types work together to create words. Understanding the syllable types adds so much breadth and depth of understanding of the “WHY?!?!” of the English Language.

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