The syllabic method was developed by the pedagogues. Both focused on finding a technique that would allow children to learn to read much more quickly and effectively. To achieve this, they developed a method that uses syllables and their combinations to facilitate the learning process.
According to some studies, the syllabic method is a derivation of the phonetic method, because before presenting the syllables to children, they need to understand the sound of each letter separately so that they can then make the various combinations.
The syllabic method in classrooms
It is a method that allows children to correctly recognize and use phonemes representing each letter of the alphabet and create combinations with them according to the rules of the language being studied. To put it into practice in class, it is important to follow the following steps.
Vowels and consonants
All the exercises that will be carried out with the students during the application of the syllabic method will focus first on the vowels and then on working with the consonants. We will get to know them in an exemplified way in order to understand them:
- Vowel learning: the letters a-e-i-o-u are taught, highlighting their reading and writing. Students will start by reading these letters aloud and will identify the sound with the corresponding spelling.
- Learning consonants: these are not taught in isolation, but in conjunction with the vowels that students already know. For this reason, easy combinations are usually used, such as ma-me-mi-mo-mu. The important thing is that each student becomes familiar with the sound of the consonants joined to the vowels.
These are the first exercises that can be done in the classroom and form the basis of the syllabic system. Colours can be used, especially in combinations of consonants and vowels, to make learning much simpler. Once this first step has been consolidated, let’s move on to the next one.
Working with the syllables
Now that students are familiar with vowels and consonants, and also with some combinations of these letters, it is important to take a further step. As we can see, the syllabic method is progressive and increases in difficulty as the students assimilate the knowledge. To work with the syllables in a more advanced way, these are some fundamental exercises:
- Introduce a consonant in vowel-consonant combinations: we are talking about exercises in which pronunciation and spelling are worked on, for example, bra-bre-bri-bro-bru or pla-ple-pli-plo-plu.
- Working with syllables in reverse order: until now students have only seen combinations in which the consonant (or two consonants) appears first and then comes the vowel. But at this point, the difficulty can be increased by changing this order. Thus, it is possible to work with al-el-il-ol-ul or -ar-er-ir-or-ur.
Working with the syllables in this way will allow children to discover how the same consonant can change pronunciation depending on the combination they make with the vowels. For example, the pronunciation is not the same in “branch” and “stop”.
Ditongs, tritongs and mixed syllables
Having reached this point, having mastered the previous ones, it is convenient to start looking at other combinations which can occur between vowels and consonants, such as diphthongs, tritongs and mixed syllables. Let us see some exercises which can be done for this purpose:
- Diphthongs: these are the simplest, which is why children will be introduced to working with simple diphthongs, such as ai-or-ei, as well as other possible series of combinations.
- Tritongs: we will add one more vowel to the previous units, for example iao or iai.
- Mixed syllables: in this case, the syllables studied at the beginning (consonant + vowel) are combined with those inverted (vowel + consonant). All of this forms a single word.
Forming sentences and reading expressively
Once all the previous steps have been carried out, students will be ready to start building increasingly longer sentences, until they reach the point of forming sentences. However, in any case, the main purpose of the syllabic method is to make them able to read and understand a text easily and without problems.
The best thing about this method is that it works very well, as it allows children to start by getting familiar with the spellings and sounds and to end up being able to read a text, and not only that, but also to understand it. It also favours autonomous learning to write sentences, clauses and even short texts.
We may not have talked about one of the best-known methods, but it can easily be integrated into lessons whenever exercises are carried out whose difficulty increases, as we explained in the examples above. When done well, this method can lead to very positive results.