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Open & Closed Syllable Houses: Free Printables

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This Open & Closed Syllable House activity is the perfect seasonal resource to help reinforce the important concepts of open and closed syllables with your students. Kids have fun opening and closing the door to hear how the vowel sound and word changes!

Graphic with image of the printed open & closed syllable house with instructions and explanation.

🚪Open & Closed Syllables

Open Syllables and Closed Syllables are the first two syllable types we teach to children, and it’s so important that we do so explicitly. Why? Because they comprise about 73% of English syllables (Stanback, 1972)!

So to kick things off, let’s review important concepts:

Closed Syllable Definition: A syllable with one vowel that ends in a consonant. The vowel is short.


  • in
  • cat
  • mop
  • song
  • fish
  • shrimp

Open Syllable Definition: A syllable that ends in a vowel. The vowel is long.


  • hi
  • be
  • cry
  • me
  • so
Graphic explaining the difference between open & closed syllables.
Get all our mini posters for all syllable types in our TPT shop.

❤️ Why We Love This Activity

We LOVE this printable activity for teaching open and closed syllables for many reasons!

  • The fun activity is educational. It forces kids to flex between open and closed syllables while seeing and hearing the difference each time they open/close the door on the gingerbread house.
  • It’s engaging and gets them excited about learning. They’ll love creating a gingerbread house with a door that actually opens and closes?
  • This is an independent activity. Kids are capable of completing the assignment on their own with very little help from the teacher.
  • Kids are held accountable for their work. The recording sheet includes a list of real words, which you can easily look over to determine if they’ve done their work.
  • It’s an inclusive, seasonal activity for all students, regardless of which holiday they may celebrate.
  • It’s truly multi-sensory. Kids will their eyes, ears, mouth, and hands to practice. And if you want to get their fifth sense involved, bring in some gingerbread cookies to place in the house and eat as a fun snack!
  • It’s so easy to connect with some great literature like The Gingerbread Man!
Two printed open & closed syllable house pages, one with cut out doors and windows.

🏠 How to Use This Resource

Materials needed: Each child will need the Gingerbread house and door paper (2 pieces in total), a pair of scissors, crayons/markers, and a pencil.

👉 Note to teachers: The only ‘prep’ needed is to pre-cut the slit on the gingerbread house door. It could be tricky for little fingers and you want to make sure the doors fit correctly.

Collage of the worksheet with the door open and closed, explaining how the syllable type and pronunciation changes.


Color: First, students should color in the gingerbread house, windows, and doors – attempting to light it up with fun and engaging colors!

Cut: Kids then carefully cut out the circular windows and rectangle doors. *Be sure to instruct children to ONLY cut along the dotted lines.*

Engage: Kids take turns placing the windows on the house and reading the open syllable words, listening to make sure they hear a long vowel sound. Then, they choose a door to place in the slit. They close the door and read the new word, listening for a short vowel sound.

Kids will record the ‘real words’ closed syllables they create on the recording sheet below the gingerbread house. Kids can read and re-read this word list for fluency.

We even added some blank ‘windows’ so kids can write their own open syllable word and use that to create even more words!

Extend: Place all windows and doors in a ziplock baggie and send it home over winter break for kids to practice at home!

🧑‍🏫 Teaching Tips

👉 If you haven’t yet explicitly taught open and closed syllables, it’s never too late to do so!

We recommend using our multi-sensory Open and Closed Door Puzzle. Kids literally open and close the classroom to engage in learning.

👉 Once your students gain a strong command of reading one-syllable open and closed syllable words, it’s time to move on.

Teaching kids to break apart multisyllabic words accurately is a powerful and effective tool. Kids LOVE the idea of reading bigger, longer words, and they can do so with success if you teach syllabication!

👉 Read all about the different syllable patterns, and grab free word lists! Our most popular include:

Related Resources

🖨️ Download & Print

We’d love to hear about your experience using these printables! Please leave a comment below or tag us on Instagram @literacylearn.

DOWNLOAD TERMS: All of our resources and printables are designed for personal use only in homes and classrooms. Each teacher must download his or her own copy. To share with others, please use the social share links provided or distribute the link to the blog post so others can download their own copies. Please do not save our files to a shared drive, reproduce our resources on the web, or make photocopies for anyone besides your own students. Your support in this allows us to keep making free resources for everyone! Please see our Creative Credits page for information about the licensed clipart we use. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our terms, please email us. Thank you!

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