What is the most common vowel sound? It’s not a long vowel sound. It’s not a short vowel sound, either. It’s not even its own letter! If your students are struggling with syllables, the secret vowel sound may be the root of their trouble.

Want to give your students a superpower? Teach them about the schwa, the secret vowel sound! Read on to learn more about the schwa, its role in Consonant + Le syllables, and ways to give your students this syllable splitting superpower!

Schwas, schwas everywhere

Unlike its cousins, the long and short vowel sounds, the schwa is unstressed. It sounds like the short u sound (ŭ), but is weaker and softer. The tongue, lips, and jaw are all relaxed when making the schwa sound. The schwa is so relaxed, in fact, that sometimes we speak it quickly enough to skip the sound entirely! Think of the word “chocolate.” The second o sound is a schwa, but the word often is said with two syllables (“choc + let”) instead of three. 

Schwa in Consonant + Le

If your students have experienced frustration in splitting syllables, schwa may be to blame. When you teach students the schwa sound, you give them a superpower to tackle tricky syllables. The perfect example is the Consonant + Le syllable type. Let’s take a look.

Consonant + Le Syllable examples

battle    giggle    maple    stubble    mantle    grapple    staple    title    cuticle    meddle    bugle      

Join us each week as we cover the scope and sequence for teaching syllables!

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