Understanding the Six Syllable Types - Closed Syllables

Understanding the Six Syllable Types - Closed Syllables.png

Closed Syllables

One of the most effective practices used in evidence-based reading intervention is the stress on teaching each of the syllable types and syllable division patterns. If you have never heard of the six syllable types, don't worry - you are not alone. Check out our blog: What’s This About the Six Syllable Types.

Understanding the syllable types helps students anticipate the sound vowels will make in each word.

The first syllable type that we teach is the Closed Syllable.

What is a Closed Syllable?

A closed syllable is a syllable that ends in a consonant. When you find one or more consonants behind a vowel, the vowel is closed in or trapped. This makes the vowel say it’s short sound.

It does not matter what letter is in front of the vowel, we are only looking at the letter that follows the vowel.

Let’s use the word cat for an example.

This is a one-syllable word. The syllable ends with a consonant. The consonant follows the vowel, the letter “a.” Since the consonant is behind the vowel, we would say that the consonant, or letter “t,” is trapping the vowel or that the vowel is closed in. Thus, it can only say it’s short sound of /a/ like apple. Therefore, we would pronounce the word /c/ /a/ /t/.

Another example is the word “in.” This is also a one syllable word. The consonant, or letter “n,” is following the vowel “i.” Since the letter “n” is behind the vowel, the vowel is closed in or trapped. When it is closed in, it can only say it’s short sound of /i/ like in itch.

Closed Syllables in Multisyllable Words

Let’s look at a multi-syllable word, “fantastic.” This is a three-syllable word. First, we would want our students to divide this word into the individual syllables, “fan-tas-tic.” Now, let’s look at each syllable starting with “fan.” The consonant “n” is behind the “a,” this makes the first syllable a closed syllable. Since the “a” is closed in or trapped, it makes the short sound of /a/ like apple. We pronounce this syllable as /f/ /a/ /n/. In the second syllable, “tas,” the consonant s is trapping or closing in the vowel “a.” This means the a can only say it’s short sound of /a/ like apple. We pronounce this second syllable as /t/ /a/ /s/ and it is also a closed syllable. The same is true with the final syllable of “tic.” The consonant “c” is closing in or trapping the vowel “i,” so the “i” can only say it’s short sound of /i/ like in itch. We would pronounce the final, closed syllable as /t/ /i/ /c/.

The opposite of a Closed Syllable is an Open syllable.

While this syllable type is taught at a different time, and not in conjunction with Closed syllables, I do show an example of an Open syllable to my students when introducing the concept of Closed syllables because I think the illustration of an Open Syllable helps cement the concept or difference between Open and Closed.

If you are looking for activities to support instruction of this syllable type, check out our Closed Syllable Bundle in our Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

You can find more information on the other syllable types here:

Corey Pollard