Hearing Syllables For Little Kids!

Hello Friends!
This post is going to be SUPER short.  It is a long weekend for me and despite the snow we got yesterday (once again...... sigh....... ), I am going to try to get some things done in my house that there NEVER seems to be time for!

I wanted to share with you, though, this syllable activity I did with my kinders this week. I have ALWAYS struggled with helping my students hear syllables in words. Because we do so much with phonemes and stretching words to spell them, transitioning to syllables is HARD! Here is how it often went.....

Me: How many syllables do we hear in LION?
Kids: L....I.......N.........  Three!

Sigh..... I tried so many techniques...... sticking your tongue out when you say the word, clapping the parts..... I have over exaggerated the parts that they said to me and asked them if that is what it sounds like when we talk i.e.  "Mom, look at the L-I-N over there?" They would laugh when I would say the words incorrectly, but  when it came time to hearing the syllables independently during their word work, they continued to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the sounds.

So....... drum roll, please........ I finally found an activity that worked with my kinders! Yay!
First of all, we use Deanna Jump's reading strategy posters which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE by the way! One of the ones that we use all the time is STRETCHY SNAKE. We use Stretchy for reading and he is also amazing for spelling. So I began my lesson with Stretchy... Here is how it went...

Boys and Girls, who can tell me the name of this picture? Yes, it's a picture of a SNAKE. Let's stretch the word to hear the sounds. S-N-A-K.... How many sounds did we hear? That's right, we heard 4! So if we were writing the word snake, we would write 4 letters. 

Today we are going to learn a new way to hear sounds in words and that is called SYLLABLES. Syllables are how many PARTS we hear in words; not letters. I want to introduce you to RACING RABBIT! Racing Rabbit likes to say words FAST! He doesn't care how many letter sounds he hears in words! He likes to RACE through the word! So if RACING RABBIT was saying the word SNAKE, he would say it like this: SNAKE. How many times did we clap? That's right! We clapped one time! 

Let's try another word..... The word is SNOW. First let's say it like STRETCHY SNAKE..... S...N...O.... (I REALLY exaggerated the slowness of the word.) Stretchy Snake says that we hear 3 sounds.

Now let's try saying SNOW the RACING RABBIT way..... (Say the word fast!) SNOW! Wow! That was really fast! How many parts did we hear in snow doing it the RACING RABBIT way? That's right! We heard only one part!

Now let's try umbrella.... First, let's do it the STRETCHY SNAKE way..... U..M....B...R....E....L...U...
How many sounds did we hear? We heard SEVEN sounds - Wow! Now, let's say umbrella, the RACING RABBIT way.... UM....BRELL...A. How many parts did we hear? That's right! We heard 3 parts! 

I cannot tell you how AMAZED I was at how well my students did and how much fun they had! We did several words together; first saying them like STRETCHY SNAKE and then saying them like RACING RABBIT. I was over the moon happy when at the end of the week, they did a little Syllable Sorting sheet and EVERY SINGLE ONE of my students did it correctly!! Yay!

If you would like a copy of my RACING RABBIT poster, click HERE to get the google doc. If you want a copy of Deanna Jump's reading strategy posters, you can find her packet HERE.

Happy Weekend, My Friends!

Until Next Time!



  1. Love it! What a great way to introduce syllables! I always just had them hold their hand under their chin and count how many times their chin moved. This is much more fun!

    1. I have tried that, too, Tracy! For some reason, Racing Rabbit just seemed to click with my group this year. Hopefully it will continue to work for them..... the test will be when we have stopped practicing syllables for awhile and the we go back to them! Fingers crossed that they will still be able to do it!


  2. I know what you mean-they always get syllables mixed up with segmenting words. I like to do syllables early on. They do really good with it until you start them on stretching words. I use Stretchy the Snake and I recently found Cara Carroll's syllable song. I've been doing that with my Title I groups and they seem to be getting better between the two.

    1. I love Carol Carroll and totally have not heard or seen her syllable song! I am going to have to do some research! This is why I love blogging - so many great ideas that I would not have heard about if I did not have a blog!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment!