When teaching children two syllable words using the Orton Gillingham method, teachers need to begin with a focus on closed syllables first. When we first start teaching beginning readers in kindergarten we can teach the alphabet by giving kids letter tiles and helping them build CVC closed one-syllable words.
What is a closed-syllable word?
Closed syllables are those that end with a consonant and have only a single vowel sound in the middle, with a short vowel sound with an example such as “cat” or “nap” and then in a two syllable words like catnap or lapdog .
What is a syllable?
In the English language, every syllable must have a vowel. A syllable is a word chunk it can be a word or part of a word that has one vowel sound.
How to identify the number of syllables in a word
The most helpful way I have found for a child to identify syllables is by putting a flat hand under their chin and feeling how many times their chin drops. This is often more accurate than counting beats in a word or asking a child to clap the beats in a word. Using the clap method is fine in identifying syllable games if it works for a child. However, if they are having difficulty identifying the number of syllables by clapping then try the hand under the chin method.
When to begin teaching Multisyllable Words
Once students are fairly fluent in reading one-syllable words with short vowel sounds it may be time to introduce 2 syllable words. Kids are often very interested and motivated by longer words. So having children read and even write a two-syllable word early in instruction can be a fun and helpful way to develop reading skills.
Begin with two syllable Words that are closed
When teaching children two-syllable words please avoid open syllable words ie.(human, unit) and focus on the closed syllable category at first. Since young students already will have exposure to one-syllable words with short vowel sounds they just need to be shown how to chunk the units.
Divide Two Syllable words into two units
Traditionally in an Orton Gillingham program, we tell the students to locate the vowels and then divide between the 2 consonants. But you may choose to divide two syllable words differently if this works better for the student. The most important aspect of chunking a VCCV word is that the vowel is in a closed syllable in each chunk so the vowel sound will be pronounced with a short sound. Two syllable words examples and word lists are below.
Two syllable words with twin consonants
If a word has twin consonants the traditional way to divide those syllables is to locate the 2 consonants and divide between the 2 consonants as in the word rabbit rab-bit. You might divide between the 2 b’s but we only pronounce the /b/ sound once so we could divide it this way rabb-it. The key point is that you always know each syllable will end with a consonant and has a short vowel sound. Knowing this makes it easier to decode two-syllable words when teaching as each syllable can easily be broken up and identified and read.
Two syllable words with twin consonants Word list
hobby bobbin bitter tabby buddy hiccup ridden hidden offer muffin fluffy puffin butter maggot button classic dessert dinner funnel funny fuzzy gotten hammer happen huffy jelly pellet jolly kennel kitten kitty commit ladder letter litter lobby mallet millet mitten nanny summit comment nugget pepper puppet puppy rabbit ribbon ridden robber rotten rubber rudder rugged setting slipper snappy soccer sudden suffix supper taffy winner summer bottom cotton
Download a printable list below
Two syllable Words with different consonants
Teachers don’t have to start with twin consonants. It is fine to begin introducing two-syllable words with a syllable division between the two different consonants between the two vowels in the word.
Different Ways of Dividing 2 syllable words
However, once again some other divisions can be valid if the children have 2 closed syllables to read. For example, the word basket could be divided as bas-ket or bask-et either way would facilitate correct reading and correct pronunciation.
Divide 2 syllable words with morphology
I often divide words with kids based on morphology for example dis-rupt where dis means “lack of” or “opposite of” and “rupt” means break. But for the reading of words it doesn’t matter so much how we chunk the words as long as it facilitates accurate reading.
Two-syllable words with different consonants Word list
socket fabric handy master under insist contact itself basket public pocket ugly picnic subject magnet intend helmet after locket insult admit picnic absent napkin insect plastic candy impact spandex context insult content husband impact kidnap trumpet compact velvet disrupt tender segment under number splendid adjust ticket after locker tender confess intend object nutmeg invent discuss expect absent insect index
Download a printable list below
The best way to create better readers
It is the goal of every reading teacher to help children learn to become fluent readers. The most effective way to help kids become proficient readers with two syllables is to give them plenty of opportunities to practice reading and writing words.
Use Ready Made 2 syllable word games for practice
Games are an excellent way to provide that practice. You may use a board game or a game like “Bump” to motivate kids and give them reading practice. You can use the wordlists on this page to create games. If you don’t have time to develop games for your kids then Smart and Special Teaching has you covered.
Make your two-syllable word games multisensory
Finally, make sure that you incorporate writing with your reading games. Writing is the kinesthetic expression of reading and if you have the kids say the letter sounds as they write the words this continues to enforce the alphabetic principle which is one of the keys to increasing both reading and writing fluency.
Download A Free 2 syllable words game
I gave you access to 2 different word lists in this article. Also if you sign-up below you can have a great connect 4 game for free. If you want access to fun games and decodable stories for this VCCV syllable type then click on the links below to go to my store and pick up some inexpensive resources to use in your classroom or with your child at home. Please leave a comment if these free resources are helpful to your child. I’d love to hear from you! Happy Smart and Special Teaching.