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Fun and Games with Syllable Practice

By Laurie Patsalides

Students can play these center games to reinforce learning about syllables while practicing math and spelling. These are geared toward the primary grades, but certainly can be extended for older students to play.

Games Give Confidence

Once students have learned to count syllables, allowing them to practice their new found phonics knowledge will increase their confidence and learning. If you would like, start with the lesson for teaching syllables at the end of this article before using the games.

Practice with a Syllable Sort

In the media gallery at Bright Hub you will find a worksheet of syllable picture cards and a page to sort the words for this activity. Download the picture cards and the sorting table to use as a syllable sort game. Photocopy the number needed and cut out each picture card. Laminate them and put them into a baggie. Have the students sort the cards.

I have provided practice with one, two and three syllables on these downloads. If desired, you can photocopy enough for each student to have a sheet; the students can cut the boxes out themselves and glue them into columns, one, two or three.

After this activity, have the students create syllable groups on their own. Students then group and create a list of all of the words with the same amount of syllables in them. For students who need a challenge, extend the activity for students by having them create their own graph of words that they have collected.

Use Picture Cards to Count Them

Using your First Words Cards, a picture dictionary, or a classroom chart (such as one on the months of the year, days of the week, or holiday words) have the student's draw a picture of the word, copy the word and then clap and write the number of syllables in the word.

For example, in the First Words Cards, there is a picture card of an umbrella. Students would draw a picture of the umbrella, write the word umbrella and count and write the number of syllables in the word umbrella (3). In this way, the teacher will have a record to see if the students know how to count syllables.

Students who are older or more advanced can break the words down by syllables. Following the rule of syllables that each part of the syllable has a vowel, they would write the word um-brel-la. As a caveat, there are more syllable rules, but this is the most basic for this age.

They can also use a dictionary as this game is designed to be self- discovering. They should circle the vowel in each segment of the word. Another option is to make the game self-correcting by providing selected cards and an answer sheet.

Add Up the Syllables Game

Play a math game while counting syllables. Students count the syllables of two or more words and add them together. For example, umbrella (3) + orange (2) = 5 syllables all together. Students can do this activity with the resources listed above or their friend's names. Make sure that the students draw the pictures and write the words that they are adding, so that you can correct their work and check progress. Older or more advanced students can create sentences and add the syllables in the whole sentence.

Syllable Scavenger Hunt

Have students go on a syllable hunt. Hide some First Words cards around the classroom, or use any words in print in the classroom that the students can read independently. Have the students create a syllable list based on their discoveries using pictures and words in their word journals.

Use Vocabulary Words to Count Syllables

Make a list of math, science or social studies vocabulary in your unit of study for students to independently count and record syllables. The fun part about this activity is that it can be changed with every unit of study to give students a chance to practice counting syllables all year long with new words.

Students will enjoy the free time to explore learning syllables at center time. The games can be played again and again. They are teacher created from my classroom experience.