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Types of Syllables in the English Language

English Has 7 Types of Syllables 

There are 7 types of syllables found in the American English Language.  My students always get excited when I tell them this. Our language is rich with words, yet all of our words only contain 7 types of syllables.  Wow! That sounds manageable to learn. When students are familiar with all 7 types of syllables and have been given explicit instruction in American English spelling rules/ generalizations they will be able to spell (and read) with a much higher degree of accuracy.  Silver Moon Spelling Rules teaches the following types of syllables during spelling instruction.

1.  Closed  This syllable has one vowel that is followed by one or more consonants.  The vowel is “closed in” by the consonant(s) following it.
2.  Open  This syllable ends with a single vowel.  
3.  Unit  This syllable contains three or four letters that say an unexpected sound.  Basic units look like closed syllables, except they can’t be sounded out like a closed syllable can be sounded out.
4.  Silent E This syllable contains a single vowel, a consonant, then the letter e. 
5.  Vowel Team This syllable has two vowels next to each other that say one vowel sound.
6.  Bossy R This syllable contains one or two vowels followed by a single letter r.  The r sound is more prominent and takes over the sound of the vowel.
7.  Consonant - le This type of syllable has three letters - one consonant, one l, and one e.


Reading and Spelling Go Hand-in-Hand

Of course, students will need to know how to divide words into syllables in order to accurately identify the types of syllables in a given word.  Our, “Easy 3 Step Guide for Syllable Division Rules” gives directions for teaching syllable division rules.  Learners benefit from step-by-step directions when reading (decoding) as opposed to only relying on hearing syllable breaks auditorily.  When spelling (encoding) students hear the syllable breaks, spell each syllable, then check their work with their syllable division rules.  This promotes critical thinking and increases spelling accuracy because it allows students to more clearly see any errors they may have made when applying spelling rules/generalizations.  Syllable division goes hand-in-hand with reading and spelling.


Download the entire “7 Types of Syllables Guide” at,  Use this guide to assist your teaching and enrich student learning.  


Here is a snapshot of page one of this guide.

A Division Of: