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The Consonant+le Syllable Type

In this article series, we have been looking at the six syllable types. Knowing the syllable types helps children with reading and spelling. We have now reached the sixth and last syllable type: the consonant –le syllable type, abbreviated C+le.

This is an interesting syllable to tackle. It consists of a consonant plus the letters l and e. It is found at the end of words. Some examples of C+le syllables are -ble, -dle, -ple, and -fle.

Here are some words that contain the C+le syllable:

able
bubble
middle
uncle
staple
rifle
puzzle


See how each of these words end in a consonant, followed by le? Explain to your students that the silent e is present because there is a rule in English spelling that every syllable must have a vowel. The job of the silent e at the end of this syllable type is to provide a vowel; it is not pronounced.

When learning to read words that contain C+le syllables, it is very helpful to divide the words into syllables. Here is the rule for dividing this sort of word: Start at the end of the word and count back three. Then divide the word. For instance, let’s take the word able.

From the end of the word, count back three letters. Divide the word between the a and the b.

a ble

Do you see what you are left with? The first syllable is a, and the second syllable is ble. This gives us a clue to the pronunciation of the word. The first syllable is long (since it is an open syllable). So we pronounce the word “able.”

Take a look at the next word, bubble. Divide the word into syllables by counting back three letters from the end. After dividing, we have:

bub ble

The first syllable is a closed syllable. Again, this gives us a strong clue as to its pronunciation. The first vowel will be short. We have the word “bubble.”



If you have letter tiles, it is easy to demonstrate this concept. It is something that is easier to show than to describe. Recognizing and understanding the C+le syllable type helps students on their journey to learning to spell and read.

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