The All-Important Reading Lesson
by Linda Schrock Taylor: Cain
and Palin Applaud Dishonor
lesson on the Six Types of Syllables should be taught to new readers;
to poor readers; to damaged readers; to anyone wanting to speed
up and improve reading and spelling skills. With deeper Code knowledge,
and improved automaticity, readers of any age will decode and interpret
Print with greater finesse and fluidity. When the brain is trained
to automatically handle the decoding side of reading, the reader
can then focus completely on drawing meaning from the print; on
comprehension. Few understand the importance of the syllables for
precise speech and accurate use of English in all of its expressive
and receptive forms and levels.
In fact, the
ability to instantly see, identify, and use the Six Syllable Types
is so important that, if I was given but one opportunity
to teach one reading lesson, that lesson would be
"How to Use Syllables to Improve Reading and Spelling Skills."
use the structure "if I was" because some months ago,
I was given the opportunity to teach that lesson.
A young man, who had always struggled with reading, was here working
on my computer. I suggested that we trade skills: a reading lesson
for his computer assistance. During a 90 minute lesson, I taught
him to spot and use the Six Types of Syllables. I have not seen
him since, but he did phone to report that the one lesson
has made all of the difference; that he is now reading everything
he has long wished to read; and that he is reading smoothly with
rapid decoding and effective comprehension.
Comprehension depends on…and is limited by…the brain’s Ability,
Agility, and Fluidity as it rejects or make connections among and
between: automatic Code processing; streaming thought processes;
vocabulary and concept banks; language and communication skills;
storage of aural and oral information; and the reader’s knowledge
and experience base.
both Phonics and the Six Syllable Types to automaticity, the brain
takes over the responsibility for rapid Code processing thereby
vastly improving the ability of the reader to develop brain processes
that are agile and fluid while interweaving thought; while checking
and rechecking knowledge, experience, and language against a developing
This is the
Lesson Plan that I use for teens and young adults. New readers will
not need all of the information at the same time. Older readers
can handle more. Do not overwhelm the student, but most importantly,
absolutely do not under-whelm or under-educate them, either. Make
use of mirrors, writing supplies, palms-on-throat, fingers-in-mouth,
just whatever it needed to teach anyone that Print begins
in the Mouth!
One LESSON PLAN
fun with this!! Students love to learn "how it all works"!)
A – Check/Correct Student Knowledge/Gaps
With a mirror
as your tool, teach the difference between Vowels and Consonants.
forming Vowels, the airflow through the throat is never
restricted. The parts of the mouth and face change shape
in order to produce a variety of vowels BUT…the air passing
through the throat and mouth remains UN-restricted.
(Note: Vowels make singing possible. Try to sing the sound /d/…"duh".
How about belting out /k/? Great singers have the ability to produce
palm of one hand against the throat, while observing the face in
in sat), A-A-A (as in navy), ah-ah-ah
(as in fa3ther);
(as in set), ee-ee-ee (as in me);
(as in sit) I-I-I (as in silent); ee-ee-ee
(as in poli3ce)
(as in gym), I-I-I (as in my), ee-ee-ee
(as in baby3),
in hot), O-O-O (as in open),
oo-oo-oo (as in do3)
in but), U-U-U (as in music), u3-u3-u3
(as in put)
The Primary Vowels are: a, e, i/y, o, u. A, E, I/Y, O, U.
Eye/Y, OH, U!
Forming Consonants, parts of the mouth must stop, block,
pressurize, explode, hiss, and/or send air through the nasal passages;
must in some way restrict, squeeze, release, and/or shape the air
prior to it leaving the mouth. Still using mirrors…but this time
directing focus to the interior of the mouth…with palm on throat,
have students practice Unvoiced and Voiced Consonants; Liquid Consonants;
Nasal Consonants; and Huffed Consonants. Students should be every-moment
aware of how the airstream is being stopped then released. Voiced
Consonants can be felt; Unvoiced Consonants cannot! Teach students
to turn on then turn off voice.
vs. Voiced Consonant Pairs:
The only difference
between these consonant pairs is the addition, or the
subtraction, of VOICE!
d-d-d k-k-k vs. g-g-g ch-ch-ch vs. j-j-j
vs. b-b-b f-f-f vs. v-v-v s-s-s vs. z-z-z
(as in thin) vs. TH-TH-TH (as in then) wh-wh-wh
vs. zh-zh-zh (Note: zh is never used in spelling. Usually
the /zh/ sound is spelled "si". Vision,
C makes its S sound when followed by: E, I, or Y
G often (but not always) makes its J sound when followed by: E,
I, or Y.
Consonants: L and R. These two are odd: not fully consonants;
not actually vowels. They just "pour" on and on like the
movement of flowing water. lllllllllllllllllllll (not lah)
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (not errr)
Consonants: m, n, and ng. These sounds are created by sending
the air stream to the nasal passages. Please note that the sound
/ng/ never includes a /g/ sound! "ng" is
the spelling for the nasal sound /ng/: sing, sang,
sung. It should never be pronounced "/n/+/G/"!...sin-G,
ran-G, lon-G…like too many reporters, TV personalities, and others
people who should know better now do.
Consonants: h and wh. The Voiceless Consonant sound /h/
is created by huffing out air: Happy Holiday.
The Voiceless Consonant sound "wh" is actually
pronounced backward: /hw/. Huff in the /h/
then blow out the /w/. Never say "wh" with
Voice! With voice, it becomes /w/: wen (not when) wy (not why) wear
(not where). Please help save the "wh".
B – THE LESSON: Six Syllable Types
Open Syllables. Definition: Open Syllables are syllables
that end with a vowel. Since the mouth and airway must be open
to say a long vowel, such syllables are referred to as Open Syllables.
Rule: In an Open Syllable, the Vowel usually says its
own name/long sound. However, be alert to the Latin and French
effects on the "I/Y" spellings vs. pronunciations. If
a word does not sound correct using Long I, then try the Short i.
Next try the Long ee.
ba be bi by bo bu / ma
me mi my mo mu /
fi fy fo fu / la le li
ly lo lu / tra tre tri
try tro tru
- Closed Syllables. Definition: Closed Syllables
end with a Consonant. This requires that the airstream close
or stop to create a consonant sound. Usually the vowel before
the closure will be "clipped off," resulting in the production
of a short vowel.
bag beg big bog bug tan ten tin ton bob cob fob job lob mob
frost crust wrist blond lost trust cast pals talk
combinations of Open and Closed Syllables:
con ba gel glo ry i dol sha dy bag
gy ju ry mo ment fi nal
ral va cant po et pre cept qui et tu
tor fru gal di et di al
chill y gyp
sy mud dy sand y sul try fan cy pup py pan try
ad vent an gel bal lad car rot chil dren trum pet fam i ly
fo cal va ca tion cru el re gal
vi tal pal a tial gi ant re do
Syllables: Definition: E-Controlled Syllables are
those in which a Silent Final E forces the Vowel before it to say
its own name. First teach these in pairs so students can immediately
see /feel what the Silent Final E can quickly accomplish.
rob/robe hid/hide wad/wade cod/code fad/fade
Tim/time tap/tape win/wine fin/fine sit/site
bab/babe wok/woke mil/mile dol/dole gal/gale
ac cu mu late
al le vi ate lat i tude de pop u late cre ate sur prise
R-Controlled Syllables: Definition: R-Controlled
Syllables are those in which an R changes the expected sound of
the vowel. Teach the sentence: Her nurse first
works early. Here the main spellings for /er/
are in statistical order for their appearance in English.
nurse first works ear ly. / doc tor
hurt third worm learn / al li ga tor
church bird word heard / an ces tor
vin e gar
pur pose birth world search / in ves
tor burg lar
vous fur fir worth re hears al / glad
i a tor
y dis turb con firm wor ry Earth / per
pen di cu lar
Consonant +le Syllables: Definition: Consonant +le
Syllables provide a Silent E for a syllable that otherwise would
have no vowel. Rule: Every English syllable
must have a vowel!
can dle cra dle ta ble lit tle ti tle bat tles rat tle han dle re
spon si ble ap pli ca ble el i gi ble trea cle bi cy cle rat tle
Vowel Pair-plus Syllables: Vowel Pair-plus Syllables are
those in which it requires two or more letters to spell the vowel.
see seen keen spleen ca reer
day tray play dis play / pain
stain quaint saint
toy boy oy ster Tol stoy / boil
soil oint ment foil
awl brawl aw ful un law ful / fault
caulk auk Paul
boat coat soar oat meal / toe
Joe foe doe sloe
though through2 rough3
cough4 though5t bough6
sigh night sight high light thigh
cow how sow owl scowl / flow
bow throw sow2 show
boot loose smooth / foo2t
coo2k soo2t y / floo3r
round sound pro found / fou2r
/ you3 / cou4n try
eat / brea2d / brea3k
new few grew ewe / fruit suit
field / pie2
con ceit / vei2l / for fei3t
they / key2
eight freight / heigh2
daugh ter caught taught
C - PRACTICE USING MULTISYLLABIC WORDS
Write the word
"antidisestablishmentarianism" on board or paper then
lead the students in dividing the word into syllables.
Have the students
count the vowels (11). (Remind students that Vowel Pairs-Plus count
as only one (1) vowel.) Have students count the number of syllables
(11). Rule: Each syllable must have a vowel; each vowel must have
a syllable. A count informs the reader of how many syllables must
be decoded then pronounced.
Using the pointer
finger of the left hand, cover all syllables of the word except
the final one. Now teach students to "Decode Backward; Read
Forward" as you slide your finger left, exposing one syllable
at a time.
Backwards: "ism"; "an ism"; "i(ee)
an ism"; "tar (ee) an ism"; "men tar
i(ee) an ism"; "lish men tar i(ee) an ism";
"tab lish men tar i(ee) an ism"; "es tab lish
men tar i(ee) an ism"; "dis es tab lish men tar
i(ee) an ism"; "ti dis es tab lish men tar i(ee)
an ism"; and finally: "an ti dis es tab lish men tar i(ee)
an ism"! Point out that the root word is "establish".
Forwards: Have students smoothly read the entire word from
beginning to end.
Vowels, Decode Backward; Read Forward:
‘cious is a syllable suffix that is pronounced "shus".
CI represents /sh/.)
practice, use the dictionary to choose various sized words. Noah
Webster, creator of the "Blue-Backed
Speller," designed his program so that beginning
readers could soon pronounce any word they saw, whether they
understood the meaning or not. That should be the goal of all reading
instruction: Ability, Agility, and Fluidity.
Schrock Taylor [send
her mail] is a retired special
education teacher; a reading specialist; former homeschooling parent;
and outspoken constitutionalist. She is slowly writing her first
book on remediating reading skills.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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