Multisensory Monday: Open – Closed Syllable Door

Today’s Multisensory Monday is an old idea that Orton-Gillingham instructors and tutors have been using for a long time to teach the difference between open (long-vowel) and closed (short-vowel) syllables.

First, if you have access to a door in your classroom or tutoring area, the easiest way to show this is with a real door! You can put word-parts on sticky notes and attach them to the door and frame like this:


Have your student read the words with closed door first and the vowel being short.

Keep in mind that the onset & vowel must be on the door-jamb and the final consonant(s) must be on the door itself.

Then, have your student open the door, and read the syllables with a long-vowel sound:


If you are travelling or want to make this into a center activity, here is a way to make the door “portable” using a file-folder:


Note that when you “open” the door, you have some nonsense syllables. As an extension activity, have your students come up with ideas for real words that start with or contain that syllable. For example, the syllable “si” happens in the word “si-lent.”


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