Chunks, syllables, and sounds…what’s the difference?

There are soooo many things that I will share about teaching your child to read, but I have to start with the basic pre-reading info to give you a well-rounded understanding of how reading skills are acquired.

So for now, I am going to introduce a new aspect of reading development which also has to do with hearing chunks (word parts) within words….

The more you play with words the more children will get the idea that a word is made up of sounds, the more they will be listening for those sounds.  This gives children experience putting sounds together to make a word.  So, eventually you will be able to say the sounds /c//a//t/ and they will finally hear the word “cat”.  But there are several things we have to establish first, and one of them is parts of a word.

A beginner reader needs to know that some words have chunks in them where they could hear a word (or words) inside of a word.  For example, “cupcake” has the word “cup” and “cake” in it and “bedroom” has “bed” and “room” in it.  As adults, we just label these words compound words, but to children this can open their eyes to what a word can be made up of.

A syllable on the other hand is a way for a child to count how many groups of sounds are in their name or other words.  One way you might teach your child they have syllables (or parts) in their name is by clapping while simultaneously saying the sound “jess (clap)- i (clap) – ca (clap)” and let your child hold up a finger every time you clap and then ask “How many parts are there?”

Then of course there are sounds…every spoken consonant, vowel, or blend like “sh”, “ch”, etc.

I will post more on all of this soon, but for now, here is an activity to help your child start hearing words within words:

compound pictures

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4 Comments on Chunks, syllables, and sounds…what’s the difference?

  1. Casey
    February 17, 2011 at 10:57 am (7 years ago)

    Hey Jessica,
    James and I did the “compound pictures” worksheet yesterday. Crazy enough, the show “Word World” on PBS Kids was all about taking apart compound words. Each time they did it, they said this cute little song…
    “Shoebox, shoebox stuck together tight
    Pull it apart with all your might
    Pull, pull apart, what do you see?
    Shoe and box! Two words, yippee!”
    James and I connected it to our worksheet that we did yesterday. Now we can sing the song when we do the worksheet 🙂

    • jcook3
      February 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm (7 years ago)

      LOVE IT!!!!
      sooo great how Word World tied into your lesson for him…he is going to be SO smart!
      Have you heard Dr. Jean’s version to the hokie pokie?
      “You take the word ‘shoe’ and the word ‘box’, put them together and you get ‘shoebox’
      You do the compound boogie and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about”
      Both songs would be good to sing to compound words because the Word World one makes you segment the compound word into parts and the Dr. Jean one makes you combine word parts to make a new word.
      According to the continuum they will probably be able to combine the compound words before segmenting them.
      So glad you shared that!


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Chunks, syllables, and sounds…what’s the difference?

  1. Clap it Out |
    December 2, 2010 at 9:04 pm (7 years ago)

    […] the last reading post “Chunks, syllables, and sounds…,” I talked a little about working with your kiddo on breaking down words into parts. […]


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