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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
The feeling of spring in the kindergarten classroom is a joy to behold. After the long winter months, the change towards warmer weather, longer days and more sunshine reinvigorates your students. It’s a great time to take on one of the biggest kindergarten spring literacy projects: counting syllables. These cute syllable words clip cards are a great way to bring your spring classroom theme to your literacy centers, and all the spring words will get you and your students talking about the changes that the new season brings.
Why Worry About How Many Syllables?
Given the relative complexity of the rules surrounding how many syllables a word has (at the basic level, this is a count of the number of long and short vowel sounds in each word), it seems strange to teach syllable words to kindergarten students. However, having them master this skill helps them to be better readers as it helps them break longer words apart into easier to read pieces. It also helps them become better writers as it’s easier to learn to spell longer words by listening for the sounds in each syllable first.
Preparing Spring Syllable Words
Spring Syllable Words Activities
Before students can attempt this kindergarten spring literacy task independently, you will want to spend some time as a whole class (or in small groups) talking about how to listen for vowel sounds in a word and the “rhythm” that these spring words make as they’re spoken. As students develop mastery in counting syllables, try some of these activities to deepen their understanding:
Sort by syllables – there are 30 of these adorable spring words with a different number of syllables, so you can create an effective literacy center by having students group the words by the number of syllables they have. This should lead to interesting discussions about the types of sounds that they hear, any spelling patterns they notice and the length of the word compared to how many syllables it has.
Make your own – it’s one thing to be able to count the number of syllables in a word from a card, and quite another to find words that fit a certain number of syllables. You can use your classroom as a hunting ground for finding words of certain syllable lengths, as well as creating a personalized syllable project using the first and last names of the students in your class (as well as the adults in the room too).
Practice spelling – the goal of counting syllables is to help students become better writers, so you can lead some small group or individual work on using syllables to master spelling. Start by having students copy words from the clip cards, linking the spelling patterns to the number of syllables. You can then further this by finding other common words with 1, 2 or 3 syllables to practice spelling with.