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ShapeWorking with Letters and Sounds (Phonics) 

Why This is Important

Phonics is working with letters, patterns of letters, and sounds. This is the foundation for accurately being able to read words. In fifth grade, there is an emphasis on advanced phonics, which focuses on word parts and syllables (units of sound containing a vowel: a, e, i, o, u). 

Goals for Strong Readers

  • Sound out new words based on familiar and learned letter patterns.  
  • Know and use the six syllable types to read unfamiliar words. 

Quick Activity

Write down a multisyllable word on a piece of paper (Example: elephant). Have your child write a new word below it, beginning with the final syllable of your word (Example: phantom). Keep going until you get stuck. You can use this multisyllable word list to help you make a list of words your child can use for this activity. 

More Activities and Games

Write each syllable type listed in the chart below across the top of a piece of paper. Have your child review the syllable types and example words in the chart. Have your child hunt for words with each syllable type in newspapers, magazines, and books. Have your child write down and read the words found for each syllable type. Use this multisyllable word list as a reference for this activity.


Types of Syllables Description or Definition Examples
Closed syllable a vowel followed by one or more consonants; vowel sound is short; vowel is closed in by a consonant magnet, rabbit, basket, pocket
Consonant L–e a consonant followed by an “l—e”; must connect to another syllable table, giggle, people, muffle, circle
Open syllable ends in a single vowel; vowel makes long sound; there is no consonant to close it in baby, even, fever, open
Vowel team a group of vowels working together to make a single sound woodwork, steamboat, teammate, paintbrush
Magic E vowel—consonant—e pattern; vowel sound is long, e is silent wakeboard, roommate, lakeshore, remote, notepad
R – controlled r follows a vowel and changes the sound burger, thunder, partridge corkscrew


Using the list below to write the most common English syllables on small pieces of paper. Have your child put the pieces of paper together to create real words. Have your child read each word created and use it in a sentence. 

Most Common English Syllables: ing, er, ter, al, ed, es, tion, re, oth, ry, ex, en, di, bout, com, ple, con, per, un, der, ty, num, peo, ble, af, ers,  mer,  wa, ment mem, pro, ri, sen, ture, few, dif, pa, tions, ther, fore, est, ei, si,  ent, ven, ev, ac, ca, fol, ful, na, col, par, dis, ern, ny, cit, po, cal, mu, moth,  coun, mon, pe, lar, por, fi, bers, sec, ap, stud, gan, bod, tence, ward, nit,  nev, ure, mem, ters, cov, de, ver, tle, ber, ar, ma, fa, la, tain, ning, pic, im, ad, tween, ger, hap, e, i, y, o 

Use this multisyllable word list as a reference to write 5-10  multisyllable words on pieces of paper. Put the pieces of paper in a pile face down. Take turns pulling a card, reading the word, and counting the number of syllables. Have your child write the word, breaking it up by its syllable parts, and write the number of syllables beside it (Example: magnet, mag + net = 2). 

Continue until the deck is gone. Count the total number of syllables on your paper. Whoever has the most syllables wins.