The Consonant-le Syllable Pattern


August 10, 2011 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Articles


Once the closed, open, and magic e syllables have been mastered, a reader is ready to tackle the remaining three patterns. These patterns occur much less frequently in our language, but two of them have some pesky details to master. I leave them for last, and work next on the consonant-le syllable pattern. This one is comparatively easy and also quickly learned. It is shown at the bottom right on the syllable poster.

The consonant-le pattern is typically the second syllable of a two syllable word. It is always the last syllable in the word (although suffixes can be added to it).  It has only three letters: a consonant, then -le. The first two letters make a sound like a consonant blend. The final e is always silent. Letter e has five different  jobs in our language. In this pattern e  serves as the vowel in the syllable, because every syllable has to have a vowel. But remember, it is always silent.

When dividing syllables, always count back three from the end of the word, and divide right before the consonant-le. When you divide a word this way, you will see different syllable patterns appear in the first syllable of the word. For instance, in the word “little,” the first syllable will be “lit.” It is a closed syllable and therefore the i is short. However, after you count back three for the word “table,” the first syllable is just “ta.” It is open. This means the a say its name, or long sound. When spelling a word that ends with a consonant-le, listen to the vowel in the first syllable. If it is short, be sure there are two consonants in the middle. They can be a doubled consonant, as in “bubble,” or two different consonants, as in “candle.” If the vowel says its name, be sure not to double any middle consonant in order to keep the first syllable open.

The first syllable can also be an r-controlled or vowel team syllable, but if these two syllables haven’t been taught, save this information for later. Sample words would be hurdle (r-controlled), and noodle (vowel team).

Unfortunately, every syllable pattern has an exception, and every now and then you stumble on a word that puzzles you that turns out to be a sight word that doesn’t follow the pattern. In this case, the exception is that when there is an s right before -tle, the t will be silent and you will only hear the /l/ (brackets mean sound). There aren’t very many of these oddities, here’s most of them: castle, whistle, thistle, hustle, bustle, wrestle, trestle, gristle, bristle, and jostle. In addition to learning the exception words, you might want to introduce some sight words. My suggestion would be double trouble, label and nickel.

That’s it for consonant-le. Print out some words in big print and have your student count back three and cut them apart. Work together to make a chart of different consonants, such as words ending with -dle, tle, zle, ple, gle, fle, cle, and kle.