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Teaching Vowels

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Syllable Train Game

Order of Instruction:
  • Teach students to recognize syllables in words. You can do this by writing a two or three syllable word on the board and tapping out the syllables as you pronounce it to the class.
  • Then draw a vertical line through the word at the point where the syllables divide and number each syllable.
  • Next, elicit more two syllable words and repeat the process, this time asking the students to tell you where to draw the line. Then repeat with some three syllable words...


Since I usually start with a lesson on recognizing how many syllables are in a word. I follow it by a practice game in which I divide the class into teams of 3 to 4 members and have a competition. I write a number between 1 and 10 on a slip of paper and ask the teams to pick a number. Whichever team is closest to the correct one goes first, next closest goes second, and so on. I ask the first team to give me a one syllable word;

ex: cat

The next team has 30 seconds to give me a one syllable word that begins with "t"

ex: time

Then, the next team has 30 seconds to give a one syllable word that begins with "e", and so on and so on....

After a couple times around, I bump it up to 2 syllables, then 3, then 4,....

In the final round, teams can risk up to all their points on the final word. They must write down the points they want to risk and give it to me on a slip of paper. Then, I tell each team to give me a ____ syllable word that begins with ____. [You decide on the number and letter. I sometimes use 6 and i or e, but just have a few words in mind before you choose.]

* It's also up to you whether you want to let them use their phones to look up words in the dictionary during the game. I tend to allow it for the beginning levels, but not for others as students tend to just google "4 syllable words beginning with e".

Up Next... Teaching vowels


page last modified: January 24, 2019

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