Today I’m sharing a free syllable count activity for your preschooler. (This post contains affiliate links.)
How would you definite it?
Just yesterday I was having this conversation with my Seven. As she said, “Well, I know what syllables are. They’re so easy! But I don’t know how to say what the word syllable means. That’s kind of hard.”
She’s right, I think! Here’s one definition:
“a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or part of a word.”
And this is a skill for preschoolers?
Thankfully, kids don’t need to know that lofty definition or even the difference between vowels and consonants to understand syllables. They’re actually quite simple.
To introduce syllables to my Four, I used his name. I don’t share my kids’ names on this blog, but I’ll show you what I mean using some of their middle names.
“Every word has syllables. It’s a chunk in a word that you can count. Words can have 1, 2, 3, or even more syllables. How many syllables are in your name? Let’s clap them. Ste-phen. (clap/clap) How many did you count?
“That’s right! Let’s try Emilie. Em-i-lie. (clap/clap/clap) How many syllables?
“Let’s try again. Em-i-lie. (clap/clap/clap)”
“Great! How about Joel? Joel (clap).”
He enjoyed working through a stack of cards. As he clapped the syllables for each one, his baby sister looked on with interest. Clapping is a skill she mastered just this week! 🙂
A tip: If clapping and counting is hard, have your child put his hand under his chin. He can count how many times his chin lowers as he says a word. Or use a mirror. “How many times does your mouth open when you say that word?”
Finally… if your child can’t bear sitting at the table, show him the cards and have him JUMP the syllables! Then let him clip the syllable count before moving on to the next one.
So what’s the point of learning syllables anyway? When I was in school we learned it later (early elementary). I remember pages of counting syllables in words in my reading workbook. Boring, but easy. I never understood the point.
There are good reasons this skill has shifted down to pre-readers.
- When kids can chunk words into syllables, they can read longer words more quickly, accurately, and fluently.
- Beginning spellers do better when they can break words into pieces.
Here are even more free printables!
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