Syllable Cards

Separated Syllables Read, Multisyllabic Words Manipulation, Segmenting Syllables

UDL 3.3 UDL 6.3

Syllable Cards are sets of between 8 and 20 cards created or purchased by the teacher that each have a syllable from a word (e.g., cvc, cvce, or cvcc) which the teacher mixes up and gives to the student to physically sort in order to build multisyllabic words (e.g, wis-con-sin). This strategy is used to practice building multisyllabic words with previously learned syllable rules that are taught in isolation. In one-on-one or small groups, students can use the cards to make multisyllabic words from their spelling list or when read aloud by the teacher. This strategy helps students build their decoding skills by applying the rules of spelling and syllabication to build familiar words.

Implementation Tips

Graphic Organizer
Show students how to manipulate word cards into one or more boxes (e.g., three boxes beside each other for three syllable words) on a graphic organizer to provide students visual guidance for how many syllables are in the word and reinforce that each card represents a syllable in the word.
Student-Created Cards
Provide opportunities for students to create their own syllable cards from their spelling or reading word list(s). Students can create their own cards by writing the words on sentence strips and cutting them apart, syllable by syllable (see the example [[ | at ]]). Then they can make their words from memory during practice time.
Spelling Rules
Review previously taught syllable rules before practicing this strategy with students. Students can use the rules they have learned to apply them to the word creation. Students should be familiar with the types of syllables (e.g. open, closed) and vowel patterns (e.g. short, long) that you will present before working with them in the words.
Spelling Practice
Provide spelling practice with the words that are made by the cards. After they make the multisyllabic words with the cards, have students begin to create a list of real words created with the cards. After they decode the syllables to make a word with the cards, spelling the word will activate the brain-hand muscle connection of encoding the word.
Integrate with Reading Lesson
Provide opportunities to read the words they create within texts and sentences. Students can practice reading the multisyllabic words in context. This allows them to practice decoding the words, but also to use context and practice fluently reading the words.
Visual Learners
Provide images to match the words that students will create (e.g. a picture of lemon with “Lem+on”). Students can create the multisyllabic words based on the images or use the images as support as teachers read the words aloud.
Increase Rigor
Add words with more than three syllables to the mix (e.g., AC-TI-VI-TY). Teachers can also mix up the syllable types that are in the pack of syllable cards (e.g., EN-VE-LOPE).


Teacher-Directed Syllable Sort
Students are seated in a small group at a kidney table. The teacher says: “Here are some cards with syllables on them. We have learned many types of syllables. Can you name one syllable type?” Student says “short vowel cvc”. Let’s make some multisyllabic words that have two or more cvc syllables in them like, “Basket”. Here are the cards, but they have been mixed up. Can you find the syllables that make up the word “Basket”? Now see if you can find syllables that make real words. When you make a word, write it on the whiteboard or paper here.
Partner Syllable Sort
Students are seated in pairs with partners who are working on the same list of words. The teacher presents each partner with a word list of words that contain syllable types that they have been taught. The teacher says, “Today you will be making words together. Use this word list to find the syllables that make these words. When you have made the word, draw a picture of the word. If you can’t think of a picture then you have probably not made a real word. Try again.” Students build the words as the teacher circulates and assists as needed.