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The Secret Rule: Syllable Division of vccv Words to Make First Vowel Long

In the last post we learned how use the Napkin Rule to teach syllable division of vccv words to make the first vowel short. The Napkin Rule works great for most words, but we also have many words that follow the Secret Rule. The Secret Rule is a syllable division rule that is used to make vccv words have a first vowel that is long.

The Secret Rule: Syllable Division of vccv Words to Make First Vowel Long

Click here to get free phonics mini-lesson The Secret Rule: Syllable Division of vccv Words to Make First Vowel Long


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The Napkin Rule: Syllable Division of vccv Words to Make First Vowel Short

Students who have difficulty reading longer words need a decoding strategy to help them break words into smaller parts. Usually we break words into syllables to read. Today we will learn a strategy to help students read 2 syllable words.


This strategy is called theNapkin Rule. The Napkin Rule states that in a vowel, consonant, consonant, vowel pattern we most often divide between the consonants and accent the first syllable. The Napkin Rule makes the first vowel short.
Click here to download free phonics mini-lesson about the Napkin Syllable Division Rule.


vc  cv       năp’ kĭn


vc cv năp’ kĭn

The Rabbit Rule for Spelling

The infamous Rabbit Rule! At this point in teaching all the phonics reading and spelling rules, you will see kids enjoying learning because reading and spelling is now making sense. There are rules that govern our English reading and spelling and kids are now getting better at discovering, making connections, and applying these rules.

The Rabbit Spelling Rule tells us that in a 2 syllable base word, if you hear 1 medial consonant sound immediately after a short vowel sound, then double the medial consonant, as in rabbit.

Here is a video of me modeling the Rabbit Spelling Rule.

After teaching the students the Rabbit Rule, you can use this game to practice the Rabbit Rule.
The Rabbit Rule for Spelling Game
I have also drawn the rabbit onto bulletin board paper and laminated it, so that I could place it on the floor. Once on the floor, the students would hop like a rabbit onto the pieces. For example, if the word they were trying to spell was a two-syllable word they would hop with 2 feet, o…