Accented Syllables

As I prepare my students for advanced decoding, one of the lessons that I had to teach was accented syllables. Teaching accented syllables is a hard skill for me because I don’t always here where the syllable is accented. I explained to my students that an “accented syllable is pronounced as if it were a one-syllable word with a clear vowel sound according to its syllabic type” (Johnson & Bayrd, 2010).In addition to using the lesson from our advanced decoding word learning program, I also used the following video to help me illustrate accented syllables to my students. Click here.

“Why teach syllables”, is a question that is posed frequently during our professional learning community planning. Moreover, what exactly is a syllable? According to Fox and Hull (2010), a syllable is the smallest unit of pronunciation within a word. Words can have one unit of single or combined sounds or more. Teaching syllables helps students with pronunciation, decoding and spelling.  Moreover, many—although not all—syllables carry meaning, and teaching syllable types helps students with both comprehension and spelling—especially with respect to doubling consonants and pronouncing vowel sounds within multisyllabic words.

In addition to teaching accented and unaccented syllables, comes lessons on the illusive schwa sound. When teaching schwa, we have to explain to students that “when two syllables are combined to make a two-syllable word, the vowel in the second syllable is often not what they might expect” (Johnson & Bayrd, 2010, p. 12). Hence, the vowel sound in the second syllable will have a short /u/ sound or a short /i/ sound. Nonetheless, the scope of this post is limited, therefore the lesson that I taught on the schwa sound will be in a future episode. In this podcast episode, you will hear me teach students about accented syllables and I help them understand why this concept is important.


Brainspring Educator Academy (2015, March 05). Orton-Gillingham Weekly. Identifying Accented Syllables. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from 

Fox, B. J. & Hull, M. A. (2010). Phonics and structural analysis for the teacher of reading: Programmed for self-instruction. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Johnson, K., & Bayrd, P. (2010). Lesson 14. Megawords 2. Cambridge: Educators Publishing Service.

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