Systematic Phonics/Dividing syllables

Systematic Phonics

If we can divide a word into syllables, it essentially divides it into easy, bite-size chunks that very easy to pronounce. In this way anyone can pronounce even very large and difficult words.

There are a few simple steps to divide a word into syllables.

  1. Mark the talking vowels
  2. Linkvowels with looping lines un rneath
  3. Mark the consonants
  4. Identify consonant patterns
  5. Divide word into syllables

Consonant patternsEdit

Take a word and grab any two talking vowels (the two vowels should not have any other talking vowels in-between them). These are the bookends, the beginning and the end of the part of the word that we are going to look at.

There are just five possible combinations of vowels and consonants that can occur:

  1. VV
  2. VCV
  3. VCCV
  4. VCCCV


This vowel pattern is always broken between the two vowels. That is, one syllable ends at the end of the first vowel, and another syllable begins with the beginning of the second vowel.


This is the trickiest one of the five, the only one that will trip you up if you are not careful.

First, tentatively divide the syllables between the first vowel and the consonant. Then pronounce the result. If it sounds right, this is the correct division. If it does not sound right, try dividing the syllables between the consonant and the second vowel.

How do you know how to pronounce the syllables ? If the syllable ends with a consonant, it is a short vowel. If it ends in a vowel, it is a long vowel.

Think about it this way: imagine that an ending consonant has hands, and can use them to shut things like a Jack-in-the-box. If the box is shut by that ending consonant, the Jack-in-the-box is stuffed down in the box and real short, just like the vowel will be short. If there is no consonant to shut the box, the Jack-in-the-box springs out and is real long, just like the vowel will be real long.


Always break syllables between the two consonants. Almost always, even if the two consonants are the same one repeated, like a double "s". The only exception would be if the two consonants are a single diagraph such as "th" and "sh".


Look for a blend in the group of three consonants. Circle the blend. Then divide the syllables between the blend and the remaining consonant.


The four consonants in the middle can be made up of either two double blends or one triple blend with another consonant. Identify and circle the blend(s) involved, and divide between them.