The Closed Syllable
A Great Literacy Tool

A closed syllable is a syllable that ends in a consonant. The consonant behaves like a gate and closes off a vowel.

Here are some simple examples. In them the consonant that locks off the vowel has been highlighted in each word. 

dad        fun           job           man            lip        le          big          hid

Try saying these words  aloud and you’ll notice that in each there is a short vowel.

The examples above were one syllable words.

How It Works in Bigger Words

These larger words follow the same pattern.

 rab/bit        tim/ber        sol/id       mod/el       kit/ten           

Some words contain "open syllables" and join a syllable that is closed.   If you would like to learn more about these click open syllable.

Below are examples of multi-syllable words with both types of syllables. Notice the syllables that are closed are highlighted.

hap/pen       pop/u/la/tion       ba/ker        o/ver

       re/view       e/lec/tion     mo/tive 

Remember that if they are closed they have a short vowel sound.


Think of a sandwich. The filling (the vowel) sits between the two pieces of bread (the consonants.)

It's Quite Easy

Try this yourself. It will give you a better understanding.

Below are some open syllables which end in open vowels.

See if you can close them by adding a consonant to each word at the end. Check for a word which has one extra letter in a dictionary if you are not sure.

be_          me_         go_         no_         so_      we_

Now see if you can make up some two syllable words like this.

Why is the Closed Syllable Important?

By learning about these different syllables your reading and spelling will improve because

  • You will be more conscious of the sounds letters make when you read. This will help you to pronounce new and unknown words.
  • You will become aware of open and closed syllables when you are spelling. As you say a word to spell it, you will  hear the two types of syllables in the word. This will make spelling easier and ensure greater accuracy.

Of course there are other aspects of learning to read and spell (see articles on this site) but this knowledge will help considerably.

Go From Closed Syllable to Teaching Phonics

Go From Closed Syllable to Phonics Literacy Homepage

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