Syllabic method: characteristics of this reading and writing technique

The syllabic method of reading and writing is one of the most popular methodologies for teaching reading and writing.

This method was developed by German educators Friedrich Gedike and Samiel Heinicke and consists of teaching reading by combining vowels and consonants to form syllables. Gradually a greater difficulty was incorporated, reaching as the last levels the formation of meaningful words and sentences. Let’s see what are its characteristics and how it is used.

    Features of the syllabic method

    The syllabic method is a synthetic method, that is to say forming part of small units and gradually addressing more complex units. Use syllables as basic individual units, Go beyond the individual sounds of the lyrics.

    When we speak, we are not saying the sounds of each letter in isolation. We do this by pronouncing syllabically, that is, by making combinations of two or more sounds. This is why this method starts from the syllable as the unit for learning to read and write, since it is the smallest pronounceable unit.

    While other systems of teaching reading focus in isolation either on spelling (how the letter is written) or only on the phoneme (its pronunciation), the syllabic method makes it possible to combine these two aspects, learn to pronounce syllables and gradually learn to use them to form words and sentences.

    How is it used to learn to read and write?

    The syllabic method allows students to learn to read by following a process in which complexity increases. First, children are introduced to letters and their sounds. Once they have learned how each of the letters sounds, they learn combinations of sounds.

    It starts with vowels and can incorporate pictures and words to make them easier to learn. Once this point is reached, they are taught syllables made up of combinations of a consonant followed by a vowel (for example, ma, me, mi, mo, and mu). Once they have learned these combinations, the difficulty increases by teaching syllables that are more difficult to pronounce, with two consonants (for example, bra, bre, bri, bre, and brutes). When students have already mastered these two types of syllables, they are taught which ones have an inverse structure, that is, a vowel followed by a consonant (for example, ar, er, anar or and ur).

    Finally, the most difficult syllables are taught, those in which there are diphthongs (eg Gua, güe …), triphthongs (meowing), four letters (eg Pres) and a syllable. Mixed lips.

    Teaching the syllabic method this can be done using books with different types of syllables, which are called syllabaries.

    Advantages of this teaching method

    The syllabic method has a number of advantages that have made it one of the most popular methods for teaching reading and writing:

    1. Ignore the spelling of each letter separately

    It gives importance to the pronunciation of the syllables.

    2. Syllables are sound units

    This allows the acquisition of literacy in an agile and fast way as they can be memorized more easily.

    3. It can be taught in a logical and organized way

    this this is done by presenting exercises with increasingly complex syllables and following a pre-established hierarchy.

    4. It is very useful in some languages

    The syllabic method it is very effective in learning to write and read languages ​​such as Spanish or Finnish, Since they are very phonetic (transparent languages) and are written as they sound.

    5. Empower boys and girls

    Being a simple learning method also makes it easy to teach, encouraging the students themselves to help others learn to read and write.

    6. It is not very expensive

    Few resources are needed to apply, Being a relatively inexpensive method of classroom application.


      Although it has been very effective in teaching reading and writing, the syllabic method has a number of drawbacks, which may make other methods more appropriate depending on the situation:

      1. It can generate impatience

      Starting with the pronunciation of the simplest vowels and syllables, and gradually adding complexity, students may not see the need to go through so many steps in learning to read and write.

      2. It is based on meaningless units

      The syllable, as a unit, has no general meaning in itself.

      3. It can be monotonous

      Some children do not like the syllabic method because it is about having to learn the syllables in a mechanical and repetitive way, Which can become a boring process.

      4. It can be confused with the objective to be achieved

      Being an automatic learner, the child may focus only on how to read and write syllables correctly, and may not understand the text as a whole and have difficulty understanding it.

      5. The possibility of syllabification

      Syllable Can Be Given, which is the phenomenon in which children read each of the syllables that make up the words separately instead of reading the word as a whole.

      6. In some languages ​​it costs more

      This is not the most suitable method for learning languages ​​that are read differently from the way they are written., Like English or French (opaque languages).

      Other methods

      While the syllabic method has been found to be useful for transparent languages ​​like Spanish, there are other methods that have been taught throughout the history of teaching to hone reading and writing skills.

      1. Literal method

      The pupil begins to learn the vowels then moves on to the consonants, one by one. Learn to call each letter by name (“pe”, “gen”, “cu” …). This is a problem, because it leaves out the way the letters of the word sound and the rules that govern their phonology.

      2. Phonic method

      The sound of each letter is taught. Each sound is usually accompanied by an image recognizable by the child, making it easier to assimilate (for example, the sound / s / with the image of a snake).

      This method can be done gradually and makes it easier for the child to get used to any new sound. However, since there are letters that sound the same, confusion may occur (for example, the “ce” with the “zeta” and the “ca”).

      3. Global method

      Unlike the syllabic method, in this method it starts from the word or the sentence and goes gradually towards its elements: syllables, letters and sounds. In other words, it is going in the opposite direction.

      First, children learn the words as a whole, usually accompanied by pictures that represent them, and gradually become aware of the phonemes and spelling that compose them.

      Author: Nahum Montagud

      Bibliographical references:

      • Marchesi, A., Coll, C. and Palacios, J. (2004). Psychological development and education: 3. Developmental disabilities and special educational needs. Madrid: Editorial alliance.
      • Calderón G., G .; Carrillo P., M. and Rodríguez M., M. (2006). Phonological awareness and the level of syllabic writing: a study with preschool children. Limit, 1 (13), 81-100.

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