As you have been aware, we have been working on syllable types during Word Work time. Students have been diving into word parts to help them become aware of the English language, therefore making them better readers and writers. In January we focused on closed and open syllables. As a result students are already becoming better word detectives and I have seen the result in their reading.
This month we are diving into one of the more unfamiliar syllable types - SCHWA.
Schwa is the lazy syllable that lives in the attic of our syllable house. It’s the syllable that is unaccented...which means it makes the ‘uhhhh’ sound.
For example….the word YODA (our little, green friend from Star Wars).
First, we look for the vowels and then we look to see what comes AFTER the vowels. So, if we split YODA into two syllables it would look like this.
Both of these syllables would be open, since there is NO consonant after the vowel preventing the vowel from saying its name.
However, we don’t say YO-DAY. That just SOUNDS silly. Instead we say YO-DUH - with the ‘a’ saying Uhhhh. This ‘uhhh’ sound is the SCHWA.
While the SCHWA sound is the most unfamiliar, it is found in MORE words than we think. For example - LEMON. We don’t say lem-ON. We say lem-uhn. Again, the UH comes out in the place of the vowel. To practice this syllable it requires a lot of practice and awareness of the various ways to say a word and listening to what sounds right vs. what sounds wrong.
We have even found the SCHWA sound in our own names! Alena, Madelyn, Melissa, Noah...the list goes on! How many SCHWA sounds can you find in your family?