Syllable Scoop

Syllable Markup

UDL 2.3

Syllable scooping is a multi-sensory reading strategy used to teach students to use syllabication to read words through “scooping” the syllables in a given word by marking each syllable with a half-circle below the word. Once students are taught a syllable type(e.g., -le, closed, open, etc.), they are given a list of between 5-20 words to “scoop” the separate syllables and mark with the syllable type to assist with decoding. Students can also use this strategy to help decode multisyllabic words in context. The physical act of drawing the “scoop” to mark the syllables reinforces the learning pathways and activates multiple areas of the brain to help students become more fluent readers.

Implementation Tips

Practice in Reading
Preview the texts to be read that week in class and choose between 5-20 words that fit the syllable type students are learning in order to make practice relevant. Allow students to practice scooping the syllables individually or in small groups. Students can apply this practice to scoop syllables while reading independently.
Differentiate Lists
Differentiate word lists based on the reading level of the students. Some students may need a shorter list of two-syllable words and one-on-one instruction to scoop them properly. Others may be able to scoop a longer list of three- or four- syllable words independently. Provide differentiated lists for the same syllable type.
Syllable Coding
Teach students a particular marking code for each syllable type (e.g. mark the vowel sound in a closed syllable with a breeve). Coding the syllables will help students decode the word. See [[ | this resource ]] for commonly used syllable marking codes.
Hunt for Words
Allow students to choose the words they scoop. They can ‘hunt’ for words with a specific syllable type (e.g. closed syllable) in their books or in and around the classroom environment. Magazines or cookbooks are great resources for multi-syllabic words with plenty of context.
Integrate into Routine
Embed syllable scooping into a daily routine by giving students a list of multi-syllabic words on their “do-now” (at the beginning of class or a learning block) or “exit-ticket” (at the end of class or a learning block) to reinforce the scooping strategy and monitor progress for all students.
Reusable Word Lists
Use sheet protectors to keep your master copies clean and reusable. Students can scoop syllables using dry erase markers on the sheet protectors. Alternately, you can have students practice scooping words on a smart board. Both adaptations allow students to change their scoops easily and reuse word lists for practice.


Whole Class Gradually Released Instruction
The teacher models how to scoop a multi-syllabic word on the board. “*Let’s look at a closed syllable. It has a short vowel and is ‘closed’ in by consonants. In the word* combat, *there are two closed syllables. Scoop the first syllable* com *and the second syllable* bat. *Can anyone tell me where I would put the breeve on these syllables?*” Together the teacher and students will work on a few more words together. Finally, students are given a differentiated list of words that contain closed syllables and are appropriate for their reading level to scoop on their own.
Station Practice
The teacher separates students into groups based on their ability to read multi-syllabic words. The teacher tells students, “*Today you will practice scooping syllables on some new words! Please go to your station and work with your group on your list of words.*” Students go to a table with a list of words that are at the correct level of difficulty. Students use a colored dry erase marker to scoop the syllables on a page in a sheet protector. Students check their work by discussing it with their group and decoding the words together.

Related Strategies