In keeping with the past two posts on spelling consonant sounds and spelling vowel sounds, I am going to cover oi/oy, ou/ow, au/aw generalizations; when to use each to make their sounds. I mentioned these generalizations in my last post in a “Miscellaneous” category. Here I am going more in depth on when to use each letter combination.
It can look confusing at first glance to read what I am writing below. If you are not familiar, take your time looking at the rules. Then do the worksheets (or hand give them to a student). On all of these combinations, the dictation is as important as the worksheet. Knowing which combination to use to make the sound is great, but you also want to know how to spell the whole word.
Use oi at the beginning or in the middle of a word for the “oi” sound.
Use oy at the end of a word for the “oi” sound.
OI – beginning or middle of a word
Practice for reading: adenoids, anoint, boisterous, celluloid, coinage, devoid, embroider, exploit, thyroid, loiter, oilcloth, turmoil, embroil
Practice for spelling: avoid, boil, choice, coil, hoist, join, joint, moist, moisture, noise, noisy, oil, ointment, point, poison, rejoice, soil, spoil, toil, void, broil, coin, groin, loin, toilet, goiter, voice, foist, poise, foil
OY – at the end of a word
Practice for reading: alloy, cloy, corduroy, coy, deploy, Savoy, Troy, viceroy
Practice for spelling: annoy, boy, decoy, employ, enjoy, joy, soy, toy
Common Exceptions in a sentence for remembering: the Loyal Royal Oyster took a Voyage
Other, less common, examples: arroyo (a big ditch in the desert), boycott, Boyd, clairvoyant, flamboyant, gargoyle, Lloyd
Here are worksheets for practicing the “oi” sound. Be sure to not only do the fill in the blanks. Dictation is important for learning to spell the whole word.
Use ou at the beginning or in the middle of a word for the “ou” sound.
Use ow at the end of a word for the “ou” sound.
If a single l, n, el, or er follows the “ou” sound at the end of a word, use ow.
See examples below in spelling practice.
OU – at the beginning or the middle of the word
Reading practice: blouse, crouch, pounce, shroud, slouch, sprout, stout, trousers
Spelling practice: around, bounce, count, flour, found, ground, house, loud, mouse, mouth, ounce, out, scout, shout, sound, sour
Exception: foul (bad)
OW – at the end of a word for the sound
Reading & Spelling practice: allow, brow, cow, how, now, plow
N: brown, clown, down, drown, frown, gown, town
L: fowl (bird), howl, growl, prowl, scowl
EL: towel, trowel, vowel
ER: flower (plant), tower
Exceptions: coward, crowd, chowder, powder
Here is a sentence to help remember the exceptions to this spelling rule:
The coward put foul powder in the crowd’s chowder.
Here is a worksheet on OU/OW Generalization. Be sure to also do the dictation sheet so that the entire word is learned rather than just what to insert.
Use au at the beginning or in the middle of a word for the “ô” sound.
Use aw at the end of a word for the “ô” sound.
If a single l, n, or k follows the “ô” sound at the end of the word, use aw.
AU – at the beginning or the middle of a word for the sound
Reading practice: audition, cauliflower, caustic, centaur, daub, daunt, fauna, fraudulent, laudatory, laureate, laurel, mausoleum, nautical, pauper, saunter, tarpaulin, taut
Spell practice: auction, August, applaud, author, auto, because, cause, faucet, fault, gaudy, gaunt, haunch, haunted, jaunt, launch, laundry, pause, sauce, saucer, sausage, vault
Exceptions: haul, Paul
AW – at the end of the word for the sound
Reading practice: coleslaw, craw, macaw, pawpaw, prawn, seesaw, taw
Spelling practice: claw, draw, flaw, draw, jaw, law, outlaw, paw, raw, saw, squaw, straw, thaw
L: awl, bawl (cry), brawl, crawl, scrawl, shawl
K: hawk, squawk
N: dawn, drawn, fawn, lawn, pawn, spawn, yawn
Exceptions: lawyer, awe, awesome, awful, awkward, awning
Here is a worksheet and a dictation page on the usage of AU/AW. Be sure to do the dictation as well as the worksheet.