Orton Gillingham for All

CLOSED Syllables – Breaking down REVLOC

For the purpose of understanding the REVLOC system, we can look at each syllable type more closely.
First, let’s define what a syllable is. A syllable must contain a vowel. As in nan ny – two syllables. (In this case, the first syllable is closed and the second is open.)
A syllable can be a stand-alone vowel, but not a stand-alone consonant. As in, a lone (the a is a syllable and a schwa).
I’ve gone through what REVLOC is, but now I want to go through each letter in individual posts. Starting with C.
C stands for closed syllable.
A closed syllable is one that has consonants “closing in” a vowel. This “closing in” causes the vowel to be a short sound. Of course, there are exceptions, but nine times out of 10, you may follow this rule and know that when a vowel is closed in by consonants, the sound of that vowel is short.
One Syllable Words.

These words are labeled with the pattern, CVC – Consonant, Vowel, Consonant
Up (p closing in u still keeps vowel short)

Two Syllable, Closed Words.
In OG, these types of words are called Rabbit Words.
In order to determine our syllables, we would underline the vowels, look at the pattern of consonants and vowels, decided where to break up the word, and pronounce. This simple syllable pattern is also a good time to start practicing accenting, so we can determine where to put the emphasis on our speech.

Examples of Two Syllable Rabbit Words and how to divide.
Rabbit words contain a pattern VCCV or Vowel, Consonant, Consonant, Vowel. Rabbit (underline vowels). When you have two consonants together, especially in a word like this, you will divide between the two consonants.
So Rabbit would be VCCV, two closed syllables – Rab bit.
(A=vowel, B=consonant, B=consonant, I=vowel – all equaling VCCV pattern)

Based on the two closed syllables, someone can know that the word is rabbit. If it were ra bit, without two b’s, the a in the first vowel would be long and the word would be pronounced as such.
Here’s another example,
Napkin nap’ kin
(A=vowel, P=consonant, K=consonant, I=vowel – all equaling VCCV pattern)
Notice: at the point we underline the vowels, we start looking at the pattern. CVVC. Divide between the p and the k and you get two closed syllables. This means we now know to pronounce each syllable as a Closed Syllable and each vowel will be short.
Here are other examples. See if you can notice the CVVC pattern and why each word is divided where it is divided.
Expel      Ex pel
Admit    Ad mit
Confess  Con fess
Compel   Com pel
Kitten     Kit ten
Witness    Wit ness

Using nonsense words, such as Convat (con vat,) is a great way to make sure someone understands the concept rather than just breaking words where they know them to be broken.

Nonsense Examples VCCV:
Hanzad     han zad
Rogdit      rog dit
Proptem   prop tem
One note to keep in mind; when you have an R closing in a vowel, it will be R-controlled because, R “trumps” C in the REVLOC system. Example, Bird isn’t pronounced with a short i because the r is changing its sound.
Once getting the hang of why we are doing this, it is easier to move on to other syllable types and vowel-consonant patterns of where to divide words. Pretty soon, someone can divide up three syllable words and four syllable words and have a reason for pronouncing each vowel or consonant a certain way because there are rules to follow. English makes more sense knowing that rules can be followed for pronunciation and spelling!


Let’s Divide Those Words!

What makes OG (Orton Gillingham) so special is the way it teaches the English language in broken down parts then re-assembles them into a whole; meaning that by the time one is older (or for an adult, towards the end of the learning sequence), one can see English from a broad perspective.

A major component to help gain the overall perspective is REVLOC. In some circles they use CLOVER, but where I took the course, they call it REVLOC and soon I will reveal why.

First, let me break down the answer to what REVLOC actually is. Each letter stands for a syllable type. Each syllable in a word is broken down and categorized by rules, making it easier to pronounce a word when one follows the rules of that syllable. Of course, there are always exceptions and that is where sight words and memorization have their place.

So here is what each letter actually stands for.

R       R-controlled
E       Magic E
V      Vowel Team
L      Consonant + le
O     Open
C     Closed

They are not taught in this order, but are listed in this order because one “trumps” the other in how you would pronounce a word. R-controlled is always used as the rule over closed, as in the word War. You would not try to “close that in,” rather you would use the R-controlled pronunciation rule.

The order REVLOC is taught to students is:

Closed syllables                       cat, lip, stop, pump, shrimp
Magic E syllables                     bike, cake, Luke, Pete, poke
Open syllables                         go, he, she, hi, me
R-controlled syllables            car, fork, fern, bird, fur, merry, tarry, earth
Consonant +le syllables        bubble, maple, marble, steeple
Vowel Team syllables             boat, bee, eight, ceiling, monkey

A closed syllable is one where a vowel is closed in by two consonants. As in lip.

Magic E syllable is one where the e makes a vowel say its name (it makes the vowel long). As in, bike.

An open syllable is a vowel that is not closed in by consonants. As in, he. In a multisyllabic word an example would be o pen (O is open syllable, PEN is closed syllable).

R-controlled syllables have the bossy-r in control of the syllable. As in, fork.

Consonant + le syllables have at its end a Consonant + le pattern. As in bubble. The syllable division is bub ble (BUB = closed, BLE = Cons+le). The b must be doubled to keep the sound of the first u short. Otherwise it would be buble and the u would be long (BU is open B+LE is consonant+le).

Vowel Team syllables have just that, a vowel team. A word like bee would not be an open syllable, because it has the double ee. It is considered a vowel team and marked as such when dividing. As in, monkey (MON is closed, key is vowel team because the ey is a vowel team).

REVLOC makes it easier for people to pronounce words because there are rules associated with each syllable type. Once a person learns that seeing a closed syllable usually means the vowel will be short, it opens them up to something predictable about that syllable. Particularly when someone has not seen a word before, this can come in handy.

In the course I took, we spent a lot of time dividing up words into syllables and categorizing each syllable into REVLOC. Every time I did these exercises I found that even the words that appear as sight words have rules in many cases. Like he, she, make, etc.

Let me know if I am not being clear here. Some of these concepts can be challenging. In the future I will go through each syllable type with a single, in-depth posts.


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