Clap it out syllables

Teaching Syllables With Clap Out Words – beyond the playroom

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clap out words

Teaching syllables to kids is really fun and simple with this great game!  
Clap Out Words quickly became one of our favorites in my classroom as well as at home!
First, show your child how to “clap out” a word by saying a word and clapping to each syllable.
Elephant would be 
Clapping once for each syllable.
Clap out words and names that have a lot of meaning and significance to your child. You can also clap out silly words that make you both laugh! Have your child take a turn picking out the words.
You can even use nonsense or made-up words!
  • Jump to each syllable
  • Throw a ball back and forth for each syllable
  • Play a note on a instrument for each syllable

language and literacy

benefits of teaching syllables

why teach syllables?

Teaching syllables is incredibly important as syllables are the phonological building blocks of words.  Teaching kids how to divide words into chunks is an important early reading skill and will greatly increase your child’s ability to decode words.  Learning how to divide a word into syllables will also improve a child’s ability to write and spell correctly. 

Benefits of teaching syllables

  • Fun with word play
  • Encourages experimenting with words and sounds
  • Teaches the concept of syllables
  • Isolates and reinforces beginning, middle and ending sounds in words
  • Promotes phonological awareness

  Materials needed

  • none                 

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E11: Clapping Names | Sight Words: Teach Your Child to Read

  1. Overview
  2. Materials
  3. Activity
  4. Confidence Builder
  1. Extension
  2. Variation
  3. Small Groups
  4. Questions and Answers

1. Overview

Clap your hands for each syllable in a word or name. This game reinforces the idea that words with different numbers of syllables can be analyzed and broken into parts.

This is the same activity as Drumming Names (E10), but with clapping instead of drumming. The clapping provides less kinesthetic feedback than drumming, so your child will have to listen for the syllables more than feeling them. This activity should be easy for children who have mastered feeling and drumming syllables.

E11: Clapping Names

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2. Materials

All you need for this activity is the same Word List you used for the previous activity, Drumming Names (E10).

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3. Activity

Before starting the game, review with your child what a syllable is:

Adult: You did a good job drumming the parts
            in all those words and names.
            Those parts are called syllables, remember?
            Say syllable.
Child: Syllable.

Video: How to play Clapping Names

Now show your child how to clap the syllables in a variety of familiar words and names. Print out our word list (the same list from Drumming Names (E10)) for examples of words of different lengths. Use names of people and characters that are very familiar to him: family, pets, friends, and favorite fictional characters. Make sure you use names of varying syllable lengths: e.g., Jeff, Fido, Granny, Elizabeth, Uncle Julio, etc.

Start with a series of one-syllable words and names. Then move to two-syllable compound words, followed by two-syllable non-compound words.

Adult: I am going to say a name, and I am going to clap
            one time for each part, each syllable, of the name.
            You tell me how many parts you hear.
            Listen. Mom-my. Mom-my.
[Say name clearly. Say it again, clearly, while clapping syllables.]
Adult: Say it with me…
Child and Adult: Mom-my.
Adult: Say it again, and clap for each part of the word.
Child: Mom [clap] – my [clap]
Adult: Good job. Mommy is a word that has two parts, two syllables.

Once your child grasps the concept, have her say each word with you and clap with you. Eventually she should be able to hear and clap the syllables on her own.

When the child has the hang of hearing the difference between one-syllable and two-syllable words, move on to three-syllable words and names, and then a few four-syllable words and names.

After introducing all the different word lengths, give the child a mix of some one- and two-syllable names. Once she has a solid grasp of one-and two-syllable names, throw some three- and eventually four-syllable words into the mix.

Stick with this activity until the child has mastered the skill of hearing the difference between one- and two-syllable words and names. This is a critical step toward a child’s ability to hear the individual sounds in words later on.

NOTE: For any error the child makes, have her repeat the use of her fingers under her chin and feel the number of syllables while she repeats the word. Then have her clap the word again.

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4. Confidence Builder

The adult should model holding two fingers parallel to and touching under the chin while saying the word. Then help the child hold her fingers under her own chin. It is important that the child feel her chin move when uttering each syllable.

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5. Extension

Have your child clap out the syllables in longer names with four or five syllables. Examples: Aunt Elizabeth, Dora the Explorer, Tyrannosaurus. Stick with names that are very familiar to your child. (We adults know that each of these names are multiple words, but to children they are just one name, so you can use them to teach your child to count the syllables.)

Alternately, vary the instructions with each word. First, she says the word while clapping; then she whispers the word while clapping; then she mouths the word silently while still clapping on each syllable.

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6. Variation

Let the child sit or stand and stomp out the number of syllables she hears with her feet. Or make it more of a game by having your child switch between clapping, tapping, and even knocking on each syllable.

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7. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Children will hear a word and repeat it while clapping out and then correctly identifying the number of syllables.

GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.4e

Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKRF2.b

Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.B

Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes:

Review by drumming each child’s name. Explain to the group, “Today we are going to clap names and words. Do you remember what the word parts are called? Syllables. Let’s tap syl-la-ble. Now let’s clap the word syllable. How many claps?”

Practice with first and last names as well as words from the printed word list. Let children take turns calling out different group members’ names and then have the whole group clap out the syllables in the name that is called.

Reinforcement: Sing “Where Is [Child’s Name]” to the tune of “Where is Thumbkin?” The child responds by clapping and saying his name.

Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.

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Dividing words into syllables for preschoolers

Views 1. 3k. Posted by Updated


Dividing into syllables for preschoolers is not an easy task. Moreover, learning occurs simultaneously with learning to read. And the parents themselves are doing this - after all, such a task is not worth it in kindergarten. nine0003

Why is it difficult to teach preschoolers to divide words into syllables?

It is difficult for parents because they themselves do not remember how they were taught. Most people have mastered this skill so firmly (thanks to elementary school!) that the learning process itself has already been forgotten.

If you open popular publications on children's websites, you will simply be amazed! Who are you going to teach? PhD students? There are definitions - "A syllable is a part of a word consisting of one vowel and one or more consonants. " There are varieties - open, closed. And all this is proposed to be explained to the child so that he begins to divide words into syllables ...

You know, all these definitions will only confuse the child . They will be later at school.

And you can learn to divide into syllables without even knowing how to read. At all.

How to explain the division of words into syllables to a preschooler?

To make it easier for the child to understand at the first stage, we start with a simple exercise. We show the child a doll or a picture and say:

- This is Masha. She has gone far away and does not hear us. Let's call her out loud.

And when the child begins to “call” Masha, he involuntarily pronounces in syllables: “Ma-sha!” nine0003

And then we make a “discovery”: oh, you said the word in parts! And let's say it like that again, only we will clap our hands for each part.

And we pronounce already with clapping: “Ma-sha”.

- Count how many claps!

And we conclude that the word can be pronounced in parts. Each such part is a syllable. So, we have learned to pronounce the word by syllables.

That's all, then only testing. First we take two-syllable words, then we add three-syllable and even four-syllable ones. nine0003

At the initial stage - only with open syllables (the child does not need to talk about this at all) - ma-shi-na, ko-ro-wa, so-ba-ka, Bu-ra-ti-no.

Then you can show words with one syllable, but closed - house, sleep, cheese. If the child is trying to separate the final consonant - ask him to "call" this word.

And then we work out the division into syllables with numerous trainings.

How to train the division of words into syllables with a preschooler?

It is best to train not even during special classes, but just walking around. Here we go past the fence.

- What is it? Fence. Let's clap.

— And who ran past? Cat. Let's call her: cat!

In such exercises, between times, a skill is formed by chance and without resistance.

You can get into the habit of reciting poetry by tapping each syllable. So, by the way, a sense of rhythm is also developed.

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step-by-step instructions with expert advice

Parents of toddlers often ask themselves: “How can I teach my child to read in syllables at home?” After all, school is just around the corner, and many children come already prepared - they can read and count

Anastasia Naumova

Author KP

Natalia Manukhina

Candidate of Psychological Sciences,
family psychologist

Irina Danilina

Methodist of the educational
online platform

Many parents strive to teach their child to read as early as possible. But is it worth it to rush into learning? To answer this question, we need to closely monitor how the intelligence of children develops at an early age.

Until the age of 5, the right hemisphere of the brain is more developed in a child. It is responsible for emotions, fantasies and creative activity. It is difficult for a child at this age to remember and recognize letters, numbers and other symbols. Therefore, psychologists and teachers do not recommend teaching children the alphabet up to 5 years. However, this does not mean that any books should be put aside until this age. Quite the opposite: it is better for parents to read fairy tales and stories that they like as often as possible. If you show your child from an early age that reading is an exciting process, the study of letters in the future will be much more enthusiastic. nine0082

After 5 years, the intelligence of children changes: they become more diligent, attentive and focused. This is because the left hemisphere, which is responsible for analysis, logic and memorization, is making a big leap in development. That is why experts advise teaching children to read not earlier than 5-6 years.

How do you know if a child is ready to learn?

A child begins to explore the world from birth, and the development of his abilities occurs linearly - this cannot be changed or accelerated. nine0003

By the age of 3-4, a child cannot yet understand the difference between such concepts as sound, letter, syllable and word. At this age, children can put letters into a syllable and even remember how it is spelled. But it is difficult to read and even more so to understand what they read. Therefore, there is no point in rushing things, trying to "skip" some stage of development. Closer to 6-7 (sometimes 5) years, children usually have a desire to read.

Early childhood educators identify several indicators of a child's readiness to learn to read that parents can use as a guide. nine0082

Sign 1

The child actively talks and understands the meaning of what he is talking about. The speech is coherent, long and consists of complete sentences. Too early learning to read can lead to a delay in speech development. This is explained by the fact that at a time when the brain should be actively working on the formation of speech, it is "switched" to memorizing sounds, letters and syllables.

Sign 2

The child has already developed phonemic hearing - in other words, he distinguishes sounds. That is, the baby can easily understand by ear what is different "house" and "tom", "bow" and "hatch" .

Sign 3

The baby pronounces all sounds without errors, does not burr or lisp. If pronunciation problems are not corrected, the child will incorrectly associate letters with sounds.

If you have problems with pronunciation, you should work with a speech therapist before starting the course. However, keep in mind that children under 5 years of age do not need the help of a speech therapist. You need to correct the pronunciation of sounds later if the baby’s speech does not correct itself. nine0082

Feature 4

The child has developed logic, he is well oriented in space and understands where is “up” and where is “down”, where is “right” and where is “left”.

Sometimes children confuse which letter to start reading with, or even try to read the words “mirror”, that is, from the end. To learn to read, it is important that the baby is able to follow the text from left to right and from top to bottom.

Sign 5

The child is assiduous and knows how to concentrate. He can concentrate for a while, doing one thing, such as sculpting or painting. nine0003

Feature 6

The son or daughter has an interest in books. Without this, of course, nowhere. You can not force a child to read by force. This can permanently discourage the desire to engage in reading. In order for a child to love reading, it is important that parents set an appropriate example, for example, by reading books that interest the child. This can be done from an early age, even before learning to read. You will see, over time, he himself will be interested to know what is written on these colorful pages. nine0003

Sometimes reading problems are caused by hearing loss in children. In such a situation, you should seek help from a teacher of the deaf.

If the child has the listed signs or at least some of them, you can start learning. But before that, with the baby you need to do a little preparation.

Read also

"Dog and Cat": teaching the baby simple counting

Counting is inextricably linked with our whole life and is its important element. But how to teach a child to count from 1 to 10 and to understand numbers in general so that learning becomes a joy, not a punishment? nine0082

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How to prepare your child for reading

In order for a child to learn to read faster, he must develop a sense of rhythm and phonemic hearing. To develop the first quality, use music and dance. Turn on rhythmic music and in a playful way (having fun, fooling around and having fun) show your child what kind of rhythm the music has. Dance, performing movements to the music, and gradually the baby will begin to repeat after you, learning to feel the rhythm. nine0003

Develop the recognition and subsequent reproduction of sounds, that is, phonemic hearing, with the help of the following exercises.

Exercise 1

Tell your child that each word is made up of individual letters. Start learning simple words (mom, dad, cat, dog). Use them to demonstrate with what sound a certain word begins and ends. At this stage, it is important to clearly pronounce consonants, as if highlighting them with your voice, and vowels - to pull. Thus, the child, without realizing it, learns to intuitively distinguish between them. nine0003

When the child understands the explanations, ask him to name the first and last sound of the words you have spoken. Gradually move from simple to more complex words, waiting for the moment when their analysis will be given without difficulty.

Exercise 2

Name the sound and ask the child to name a word beginning with that sound.

Exercise 3

After the child has done well with the previous exercise, play "Words" with him. Name the word and ask them to name the next one, starting with the letter that ended the word you named. nine0003

Exercise 4

And finally, the most difficult exercise. Agree with the child that he will look for any sound in the words he hears. Say any words, and ask the baby to clap his hands every time he hears the desired sound.

If the child can easily cope with the tasks - you can start learning.

Experts advise teaching children to read not earlier than 5-6 years. Photo:

Step-by-step instructions for teaching a child to read

So, you understand that the baby is developed enough to learn to read. He understands that words are made up of sounds and is able to isolate individual sounds from words. At the same time, the child reaches for the shelf with books, he likes to listen to stories and, perhaps, he even dreams of reading for himself what is written in his favorite books. So, it's time to study. How to do it right?

Start small

Learn letters and sound knowledge, for example by walking. Draw a letter on the ground with a stick, then a syllable. You can collect letters from pebbles. It will be interesting for the child to recognize familiar letters, and then syllables on signs. Show that words made up of syllables and letters are all around us. nine0003

Later, you can study not only on the street, but also at home. Set up a dedicated study area. Let there be comfortable furniture - a chair and a table for writing and reading. Set the right lighting. Place a bookshelf nearby.

Teach your child to be neat and organized

Just 10 minutes a day is all it takes to get started. After that, ask him to return things (book, notebook, pen or pencil) to the place where they lay. Just don't force him to do it. And even more so, do not raise your voice at him and do not swear if something is not done the way you would like it to be. The process should take place in a relaxed or even playful way. nine0003

Read for yourself

The child looks at his parents and tries to be like them. Therefore, it is important to love what you want to teach children. Read with pleasure and develop a love of literature in the family. You can create a tradition - for example, the whole family to read in the evenings.

– There is only one way to involve a child in any activity: to engage in it with him and with him. Accordingly, if older relatives read a lot, then the child begins to be interested in what adults are doing, says Natalya Manukhina, PhD in Psychology and Family Psychologist . - Just what exactly are they reading? If paper books, then the baby can also begin to take them, touch, look, look, look at letters, put them into words, that is, read. If adults read only e-books, from the screen of gadgets or computers, then the child will not show interest in this for a long time. He will be more interested in moving pictures: cartoons and electronic games.

It is important not only to read stories and fairy tales, but also to discuss what has been read with the child. If the child is very small, ask him simple questions: who is this fairy tale about? who is in the picture? When the baby grows up, you can ask something more complicated: why did the hero of the story do this? what would you do in his place? nine0082

Read also

From the first lines to the whole word: how to teach a child to write

And now the first letter, the first word appears on a sheet of paper. Uneven and uncertain, but so long-awaited. How to help your child develop writing skills at home and whether this should be done before school - we talked about this with teachers0002 Start learning with words with repetitive syllables (ma-ma, pa-pa, ba-ba, dy-dya). Only after the baby has mastered them, move on to more complex structures for the child, in which there are different syllables (kosh-ka, de-re-vo, ve-ter).

Buy educational materials

Children learn through games, so there should be letter blocks, magnetic alphabet and other educational items in the house. For older children, buy some good textbooks. For example, primers by V. Goretsky, N. Pavlov, D. Fonin. nine0003

Draw vowels on cards and place them around the house. Swap cards periodically. Gradually, the child will remember them all. Then do the same with the consonants.

– Playing is generally the leading activity for preschool children, says Natalya Manukhina . – Therefore, if educational material is presented in the form of games, knowledge is acquired as skills develop. The child acts more and more deftly, and he likes it, and knowledge also fits with skill. nine0003

Develop associative thinking

"A" - watermelon, "B" - squirrel, "C" - bicycle.

Children remember information more easily visually, through colorful images and clear objects, rather than through tedious memorization of symbols. But try to make sure that the baby does not become attached to only one image and does not associate the letter only with it. Use different words to study. For example, if in one session "A" is a watermelon, in another, let it be an album or a stork. nine0082

Repeat what you have learned before

No wonder they say that repetition is the mother of learning. Begin each session by reviewing the material you learned last time. Additionally, you can refresh information anywhere and anytime: on a walk in the park, in line at the store or in the car, on the way home.


Memory and fantasy are something that can and should be developed in a child even before learning to read.

- As I notice in my practice as a family psychologist, in families where adults themselves read and compose, children read both better and more. You can compose everywhere: on a walk, in transport, at home and on vacation. Any topics: about people, cars, clouds, insects, birds, letters, game heroes, but about anything! It is natural for a child to fantasize, reminds Natalya Manukhina . - If his stories are also written down (first by adults, then by himself), then writing it yourself and comparing it with what others write becomes a natural fascinating pastime. The child becomes not only a reader, but also an author, which can be very useful to him in his future studies.

Treat with understanding and care

As an adult, the process of learning to read may seem easy to you, but remember that for a child it is a whole science. Do not be nervous if something does not work out for the crumbs, and do not force him to do it by force. Everything will come with time. Have patience, be able to wait, and show understanding at every stage of learning. Praise the baby even for small successes - and, you will see, soon he will like to learn. nine0003

As an adult, the process of learning to read may seem easy, but remember that for a child it is a whole science. Photo:

Popular questions and answers

Answers Irina Danilina, methodologist of the educational online platform

How to teach a child to read in words?

For a child to quickly learn to read by syllables, it is not necessary to learn the letters in alphabetical order. Invite your child to first learn a few vowels and then read them together (for example, “ay”). Then add consonants to them. So from the first lessons the child learns to read combinations of letters, and then syllables. nine0003

Start learning the alphabet with sounds, do not use letter names. Like this: this is the sound "m" (not "em"), this is the sound "o", together they sound like "mo". So the child will learn to read in syllables much faster.

How to teach a child to read quickly?

The most important thing is the understanding of the text. If there is understanding, then the speed will grow by itself. For a child to learn to read quickly, make sure that he knows all the sounds and does not confuse them. A big jump in speed will occur when the child does not make mistakes in the sound of letters. nine0003

Do not rush the child if he makes mistakes. Go back and repeat the sounds again. Then only systematic reading for 10-15 minutes a day and skill development. And when the child masters a good reading technique from 40-50 words per minute, you can use various speed reading techniques. With their help, you can develop a reading speed of up to 1000 words per minute.

Why does the child not want to read?

You need to understand that if a child is not interested in reading, he will not want to. Here are the main reasons why children do not want to read:

  1. Wrong book, wrong genre or topic of the text.
  2. The child does not understand the read text, reads automatically, does not think about the meaning.
  3. No motivation or interest.
  4. The child makes a lot of mistakes in the sound of syllables, because of this he does not understand the words he has read.
  5. Reading is perceived as a punishment.

What to do about it?

Read also

Motivating a child to study at school

“Komsomolskaya Pravda” tells why children are so looking forward to the Day of Knowledge, but after a week they suddenly start to get sick and tells how to make the child motivated to learn

Read more independently books of different genres. Try to find ones that interest him so that he looks forward to continuing. Choose books according to your child's needs. If you are interested in learning new facts about the world, choose educational books. If you are interested in learning how the life of heroes from a fictional universe develops, choose fantasy books. And so on. nine0003

Rule 2

When you find the right books, stop reading at the most interesting place. The child will show interest, want to know what happened next.

Rule 3

After the child has read a book or even a short text, always ask what the story was about, what new things he learned from it, how the information received can be applied in life, what conclusions to draw. This is how you develop thoughtful reading in your child.

Rule 4

Don't force your child to read. To instill a love of reading is possible only through interest. nine0003

Rule 5

Read for yourself, set an example for the child. Share interesting facts and stories from books you have read.

Rule 6

Play games with your child. Find words for the hidden letter at speed, look for hidden words in the text.

Learn more


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