Spelling - Syllables, consonants, vowels


  • To increase student awareness of the sound sequences in one syllable words.
  • To highlight that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters.
  • To practise dividing words into syllables.

Lesson plan

In this lesson, students will work through three activities. The first two involve categorising words according to syllable structure and number of syllables, while the third activity is a class competition requiring students to draw on their vocabulary knowledge.

Activity 1: Vowel and consonant sequences

On the slide, students will see a list of words with one syllable. Each word has been categorised according to its sequence of vowel sounds (marked as 'V') and consonant sounds (marked as 'C'). The slide shows these five patterns:

  • CV: go, though
  • VC: up, inn
  • CVC: ban, mine
  • CCV: slow, true
  • CVCC: mint, mined

These are just some of the possible patterns in English. Scroll down the slide to show more words. Students need to work out which of these five patterns each word belongs to. Remember this activity concerns the sounds of words, so remind students to identify the sounds and not the letters! It will help to sound the words out aloud or in their head.


  • CV: do, lie, they
  • VC: off, us
  • CVC: cone, tough, pin, shows
  • CCV: play, through, fly
  • CVCC: least, timed

After the students have matched each of the words to one of the five pattern groups, ask them what they notice about the numbers of letters in the words compared to the number of sounds.

Activity 2: How many syllables?

In this activity, ask students to sort the words on the slide into groups: those with one syllable, those with two syllables and those with three syllables. They should drag the tile onto the group label (1, 2 or 3) at the bottom of the screen to add it to that group.

Remember, this is about how a word sounds. It might be helpful to say the words out loud and tap out the beats.


  • One syllable: edge, train, night, frog, beach, nose, choose, bin
  • Two syllables: giant, explode, explain, friendly, beside, ignore, silly
  • Three syllables: dinosaur, excellent, umbrella, arises, animal, parachute, potato, invited

Activity 3: Lots of syllables!

For this activity the class should divide into small teams (e.g. three to five students in each group). The teams will compete to think up the greatest number of long words in a limited time (e.g. five minutes).

Each word must have four syllables or more. The more syllables in a word, the more points it will score!

Tip: A useful way of making words longer is to add one or more endings (suffixes), e.g. revolutionise, forgetfulness.

Step-by-step instructions are given on the slide.

As an extension activity, ask students:

  • Do you know the meanings of all the long words in your list? Check any that you don’t know, or are not sure about, in a dictionary.
  • Pick out five words from the list. For each one write a sentence which uses it, to show its meaning in context.


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