1st grade 1st Grade Language arts FREE Printables

Open and closed syllables Reading Activity

Help your first grader learn about open and closed syllables with this fun, hands-on free printable reading activity. This first grade activity helps students improve reading and spelling skills as they learn to identify open closed syllables. Simply download pdf file with Open and closed syllable sort and have fun reading and learning with your grade 1 student.

Help your first grader learn about open and closed syllables with this fun, hands-on free printable reading activity. This first grade activity helps students improve reading and spelling skills as they learn to identify open closed syllables. Simply download pdf file with Open and closed syllable sort and have fun reading and learning with your grade 1 student.

Open and closed syllables

While teaching my twins to read, and researching ways to help my struggling reader, I keep learning new terms like Open and closed syllables. Basically, when a vowel has a consonant after it, the vowel is short.  If there isn’t a consonant after the vowel, it is long.

Open and closed syllables worksheets

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Open and closed syllable sort

Open closed syllables

But the concept of open and closed syllables seems a little complicated to tell a little child who is struggling with reading. So we have a fun little story that we tell.

  • Closed: Look this vowel is closed in (has a consonant after it). It is sad because it can’t go outside so it says the short sound.
  • Open: Look, this vowel doesn’t have a consonant after it. The door is open and he can go outside. The vowel is happy, so it says its name!

And this activity gets children reading words with two syllables using this rule.

Open and closed syllables activity

Open and closed syllable sort

This activity is very simple to prep and such a fun way for teaching open and closed syllables.  First, print off the pages and cut out the words. Next, get out scissors and a marker. (We used do-a-dot markers.) And that’s it. You are ready to go.

This activity focuses on one way of dividing syllables up. There are others, but our struggling readers need to focus on one strategy at a time.

First, we begin the open syllable and closed syllable by highlighting or dotting the vowels.

Open and closed syllables word list

Open and closed syllables activity

The rule is that we divide the syllable up between the two consonants. So, our next step is to cut the word up between the consonants.

At this point, we put our words onto the math using the top two squares. My little girl could see that the each of the words were closed, and sounded them out.

The first syllable was an easy one for her….ten. A nice short vowel, due to the consonant after the e.

The second syllable she had to sound out, and came up with the “word” nis. Once again, she remembered that the vowel was short, since it is followed by an s.

Finally, we brought each syllable down to the bottom box, and said each syllable together.

“Ten”

“Nis” ….

Tennis.

Reading longer words can be quite a challenge. But when you teach them with syllables (and when to use a short vowel vs a long vowel) it is doable.

open and closed syllables worksheets

Open and closed syllables word list

The words in this activity include: rabbit, cobweb, bandit, goblin, manet, sunset, unless, admit, muffin, hotdog, incident, album, dentist, invent, napkin, velvet, tennis, misfit, tidbit, index, pilgrim, fabric, contest, pencil, absent, kitten, insect, happen, velvet, and sudden.

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open closed syllables

Open and closed syllables worksheets pdf

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About the author

Rachel

Rachel is a homeschool mom to four little ones, ages 2 to 6. She is a former public elementary teacher, and has recently began blogging at her page You’ve Got This.

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