Orton Gillingham for All

A Mountain View: Labeling and Syllable Division

on December 2, 2013

We have covered all of the components of REVLOC and the different syllable division rules. Today, I would like to condense that down to an overview, so, hopefully, a bigger picture can be formed.

First, REVLOC, stands for types of syllables. These syllables are then classified by the corresponding letter from the REVLOC system. Once classified (or maybe labeled is a better term), the word can be broken down and pronounced based on the rules associated with each syllable type.

The word “REVLOC” is what it is because that is the order in which each syllable type should be considered in pronunciation. For example, the word “war” might look like it is a closed syllable, however, the “ar” in this word make it an R-controlled syllable. R comes before the C in the word REVLOC, so that is how we know that the R-controlled is the rule to follow rather than Closed.

R – R-controlled

E – Magic E

V – Vowel Teams

L – Consonant + LE

O – Open

C – Closed


Once the labeling of syllables based on the REVLOC system is learned, moving forward into different types of words based on this system of labeling the syllables makes the words easier to pronounce.

What you get is a system of labeling syllables and then applying those labels to types of word-patterns. These word-patterns are based on vowel-consonant patterns within the words.

To overview these patterns:

Compound words: Divide between the words.                  Cow       boy                        Sun        set

Prefix/Suffix words: Divide between the prefix and/or the suffix and root. (un  im  press  ive  ly).

Consonant + LE (puzzle words): Count back three letters              Cir           Cle

Words with ck divide after the c                                Spec      kle

VCCCV (ostrich words): Do not divide consonants that go together, like blends and digraphs.

An          them

VCCV (rabbit, hornet, candy words): Divide between the two consonants.          Mag net

VCV (tiger, camel, hotel, motel words): 60% of the time, divide after the first vowel to get a long vowel sound. (pi  lot).

40% of the time, divide after the consonant to get a short vowel sound. (cab  in).

Special cases (hotel and motel), divide to get a schwa vowel in an unaccented first syllable (Japan). (pe  can). These are based on where the accent goes (which is determined by where the emphasis is when pronouncing a word).

VV (Lion and poem words): Divide between unstable digraphs and diphthongs or between vowels that do not form digraphs or diphthongs. (ru  in)  (li  on)  (e  on)

A diphthong is a word that had a vowel team which starts out as one sound but ends up as another, so that both vowels are pronounced. For example: coin, lion, ruin. Digraphs are two letters that come together to form another sound all together, like th or ch, tch.


CW = Compound Words
The first three of the diamond are for older kids/adults
Teach VCCV first and VV last (it is advanced)

16 responses to “A Mountain View: Labeling and Syllable Division

  1. Vickie Elpers says:

    What do you say about the letter i in the following examples: div i sion in ci sion de li cious
    am bi tion ig ni tion ???

    • momssoulcafe says:

      Hi Vickie, great question! -ci, -si, -ti, -xi are Latin suffixes.

      You look at the letter preceding the suffix to determine if it is a long or short vowel.
      A’s, O’s and U’s are always LONG
      E’s are sometimes long and sometimes short
      I’s are always SHORT

      Examples of words for each letter:
      A: com pli ca tion (that I in the syllable before the ca is a schwa), spa cious, gla cial, na tion — A is always LONG
      O: so cial, fer o cious, ex plo sion, com mo tion — O is always Long
      U: con sti tu sion (I in syllable before tu is a schwa), con fu sion, eff u sion — U is always Long
      E: com ple xion (e can go either way, long or short! must test it because there is no rule), com ple tion, pre cious, spe cious
      I: ig ni tion, am bi tious, in ni tial, arti fi cial (I in syllable before fi is a schwa), di vi sion — I is always SHORT

      A trick to remembering these is: you can “Fill In” letters that are “strong” (or LONG).
      Picture an “a” where the space is filled, O filled in, U can be filled in. “e” can only fill a little bit (in that top part) so it is sometimes long sometimes short, but the “i” holds nothing, so it is always short.

      I think this will be my next post as well. I will illustrate the remembering trick with a photo there.

      Hope this helps!

  2. This was a great summary of REVLOC and syllable division! I will print it for summary!

  3. Hi! Wasn’t sure where to put this comment about diphthong syllables! We are working through a book, and they wanted “baw” to be labeled as an open/closed/vce/diphthong syllable–is “baw” a diphthong or closed?

    • momssoulcafe says:

      It’s Diphthong. I have oi, oy, ou, ow, au, aw, all as being diphthongs. I like your new picture!

      • Thanks for the help! FYI, I saw Orton Gillingham mentioned the other day in a homeschooling magazine autism article! I was glad I knew what it was! Thanks for noticing the new picture. Played around on WordPress last night trying to modify things. (Key word “trying”)

      • momssoulcafe says:

        You are welcome. Glad to see OG turning up so much! I love the new blog, and CONGRATS on the new baby? I read on your blog where you said you are pregnant. Also, sucks about the tax fraud. I know how it feels to wonder if you are putting too much “out there” for your own good, but I also love blogging and helping others and it’s pretty much my way to do what I know, so I guess I take the risk. But it is hard to know sometimes if it is the smartest thing to do.

      • THAT is exactly what I thought all month about blogging! I am like-minded on blogging philosophy! Thanks for the “congrats.” We’re excited.

  4. I have seen in some places that the Consonant Le Syllable Type is called Final Stable Syllable and includes consonant le as well as other non-phonetic syllables at the end of words like: tion, tial, tian, cian.
    How do you classify these syllables?

    Thanks so much!

  5. Beatrice says:

    I was curious about the ck ending. I was always taught that you don’t break up the ck … it would be speck-le.

    • momssoulcafe says:

      Hi Beatrice, sorry for the delay in answering. In Cons + le, you DO break up the ck. This may be the only case, but for the purpose of making the -kle sound it is necessary.

  6. Marggene says:

    In the word lion, you said io was a diphthong. It’s not, there are several words in our language that have two vowels next to each other and they are not vowel teams or diphthongs. Lion is a two syllable word, the i is long and the o is a schwa. Dial is another. If i is the first vowel in a word It says /i/. If I is not the first vowel it says /e/ Look at
    in di an, ra di o. USUALLY when I is followed by another vowel in a multi syllable word, the I says /e/.

    • momssoulcafe says:

      For simplicity sake and based on the definition of a diphthong, I believe it is fair to use those words and call them diphthongs. They are two vowels and both are pronounced rather than creating a new sound as a digraph does. But thank you for pointing it out — I’ve learned something new.

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