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The CLOVER Syllable Types and the Logic of English

Knowing the syllable types is vital to reading and decoding multi-syllable words in English. Many great systematic phonics programs use CLOVER to classify syllable types. (Closed, Consonant L Silent E, Open, Vowel Teams, Silent E, R-Controlled) However, sometimes this powerful tool is oversimplified which generates unnecessary confusion and thousands of exceptions.

The following chart shows the Logic of English rules that pertain to each of the syllable types identified by the acronym CLOVER.

CLOVER Syllable Types and the Logic of English

CLOVER Syllable Types and the Logic of English

What becomes apparent is that students should consider the rules and phonograms within the context of syllable types. If they know that the vowel is usually short in a closed syllable, and that I and O may say their long sounds before two consonants in a closed syllable, they will have a strategy to read wild and golden and not memorize them as exceptions.

Knowing the rules is especially true for Open Syllables and Silent Final E's.

There are several types of open syllables. The most common of these is described by the rule A E O U usually say their long sounds at the end of the syllable. However, students must be aware of the differences with I and Y, as well as how broad vowel sounds fit in.

Students should be taught to be on the look out for silent final E's and evaluate the need for the E in a particular word. By looking for a V, U, C, G, L, or TH before the E, they will begin to narrow down the possible reason for the E within the word. Silent E's are a vital part of syllable types, however, they should not be oversimplified.

Logic of English curriculum teaches five syllable types:


As you can see, the LOE syllable types are closely related to CLOVER. We approach the concepts slightly differently, but teachers who prefer the acronym could easily adapt it to the Logic of English curriculum.