Jewels of Orton Gillingham

I’ve talked about how to say letters and spell letters, and SOS method of spelling in Orton Gillingham. How do you start getting these lessons to the student? The answer starts with Drill Cards. All OG lessons start with drill cards.

In Orton Gillingham the “Jewel Box” is an important tool. According to the class I took, the “Jewel Box” (or Jewel Case) got its name from children, and the name stuck.

The Jewel Box is a box, mine is a box that would be considered a photo box (see photo above — that’s my actual Jewel Box), that holds card decks for lesson drills. These cards should be used in each lesson to teach speed and automaticity of the letters and concepts.

In my Jewel Box are these decks:

  • Reading Consonants
  • Reading Vowels
  • Reading Vowels with R
  • Diacritical Markings
  • Roots
  • Short Vowel Strips
  • Suffixes
  • Syllable Division
  • Language Vocabulary
  • Prefixes
  • Sight Words
  • Blends
  • C&G Rule
  • Spelling Consonants
  • Spelling Vowels
  • Spelling Vowels with R

Using Drill Cards in a Lesson

Always start a lesson drilling what a student has already learned, then introduce new concepts. When a concept is new, you show the card and the student says the sound and the key word (if there is a key word) with the sound. They should also write the letter(s) in something like sand or on a sheet of paper (rough surfaces work best for a tactile experience).

How do you know if a student has conquered the sound or concept – they can say it as fast as you can flip the card.

To Buy or Create?

Should you buy these cards or create your own? You can purchase these cards from many sources, but with a little time invested, they are easy to make at home. For many of my cards, I printed the front and wrote on the back with a pen, but when I had the time, I printed front and back.

Here’s how to create them yourself

I created a free template to make creating cards at home easier. This post assumes you know the cards you need. This post is more about what a Jewel Box might look like and how to print the drill cards at home than what is on the cards.

Here are photos of a couple of my cards.  

This is a video to help with adjusting the paper holder to fit the cards and which way to put in the card to print.

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