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ScholarSkills Spelling Skills for Reading Skills 

How to use multisensory strategies to help kids spell all the sounds they need to learn to read

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Why should students learn to spell and say table syllable sounds?



We define simple or "table" syllables as those units of sound consisting of a single-letter consonant sound and a single-letter vowel sound. The single-letter consonant sound may come immediately before or after the vowel sound. These table syllables may be preceded by an initial consonant sound, which a single or multi-letter phonogram may represent. We will call this the onset consonant sound. Thus, the complete syllable sound comprises the onset consonant and the table syllable. Combining an onset consonant and a table syllable is only possible when the table syllable consists of a vowel-consonant (VC) spelling pattern such as "ab." Adding an onset consonant such as "c" will create a CVC syllable pattern as in "cab."


Syllables represent the internal sound and spelling structure of all words. Because a syllable is defined as a unit of sound that is organized around a vowel, and every word must have a vowel sound (and, therefore, at least one syllable), knowing how to say and spell syllables becomes the key to pronouncing and spelling every word. Listening for these linguistic units helps children to spell words more accurately and efficiently, and it helps them to read and process words faster than simply looking at individual phonemes.


Syllables are coarticulated phonemes. We don't speak in individual phonemes though they represent the individualized particles of all spoken words. Individual phonemes are coarticulated or spoken as syllabic units, which may be one entire word, such as "cat," or a two-syllable word, such as baby. We speak in syllables, which are speech bubbles or speech packets for phonemes. Consequently, when students learn all the possible variations in simple syllable units, they possess the key to spelling, pronouncing, and reading words because all words are organized in syllables, and all syllables are organized in either vowel combinations, vowel-consonant combinations, or consonant-vowel combinations.



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