Orton Gillingham for All

They Come as a Team – Vowel Teams

on April 15, 2013

So we’ve now gone through all of the syllable types except one in the REVLOC system of syllable division. We have covered C, E, O, R, and L. The final type of syllable is Vowel Teams – the V.  These vowel teams are vowel sounds (it’s the sound, not just the letters) formed by two or more letters (notice it is letters, not vowels) within the same syllable.

For example:

Bee

Bread

Boy

Light

Eight

 

In dividing a word, a Vowel Team syllable will look like this:

Conceit                                      con (closed or C)  ceit (vowel team or V)

As a side note: is this a vowel team?  The word: Quit?  NO! It is not. It is a closed syllable. QU is considered a consonant and always appears together in English. Why is this important? For pronunciation. This makes the “i” in Quit stay short as it would in most closed syllables.

 

Below are the vowel teams, what sound they make and example words. So here goes:

ai says ā (long a) as in Train. It usually occurs at the beginning or middle of words.

Examples: ail, mail, main, hair, quail, chair, stair, frail, air, strain, Spain, faith, waif, snail, drain

 

ay says ā (long a) as in Tray. It comes at the end of words.

Examples: bay, say, spray, pay, stay, haystack, away, sway

 

oa says ō (long o) as in boat. It comes at the beginning and middle of words.

Examples: oat, coat, coach, throat, loan, goal, toast

 

oe says ō (long o) as in toe. There are very few words  and it is usually at the end of words.

Examples: toe, doe, foe, hoe, Joe, roe, woe, Moe

 

ee says ē (long e) as in bee.

Examples: deed, seem, speed, knee, fee, screech, fifteen, sleet, indeed, greed

 

oi says “oi” as in oil.

Examples: point, avoid, thyroid, devoid, rejoice, loiter, typhoid, poison, coil

 

oy says “oi” as in boy. It is usually at the end of a word, with a few exceptions.

Examples: joy, employ, soy, alloy destroy, deploy, viceroy.

Exceptions from the end of word sentence: The loyal, royal, oyster took a voyage. These “oy” words are in the middle of the words.

 

oo commonly says “oo” as in food.

Examples: too, zoo, moon, boost, shampoo, proof, zoom, hoop, tattoo

 

oo also says “oo” in a few words, as in foot.

Examples: book, brook, cook, hook, wood, shook, hood, good, nook, hook, wool, soot, stood, look, took, nook, crook

 

ow says “ou” as in cow.

Examples: flower, shower, dowel, clown, tower, chowder, sow, endowment, plow, drown, brown, gown

 

ow also says “ō” (long o) as in snow.

Examples: blow, flown, thrown, elbow, owner, willow, sloe, owe, flow, growth, rainbow

 

ie says “ē” (long e) as in thief. It is usually in the middle.

Examples: belief, priest, siege, brief, field, pier, yield, shriek, fierce, achieve

 

ie also says “ī” (long i) as in pie. Usually at the end of words and there are very few.

Examples: pie, die, lie, tie, fie, vie, belie, underlie

 

ou says “ou” as in house.

Examples: about, amount, loud, foul, voucher, shroud, stout, proud, tout, thou, count, noun, gout, our

 

ou also says “oo” as in soup. These are French words that have made it into the English language.

Examples: croup, group, route, wound, you, youth, youthful, coupon, cougar, lou, Louis

 

ou also says “ŭ” (short u) as in double. This is rare.

Examples: trouble, couple, country, touch, young

 

au says “ô” as in auto. It comes at the beginning or the middle of words.

Examples: fault, launch, vault, gaudy, fraud, Paul, saunter, taut, sausage, daunt, saucer, laundry, jaunt

 

aw also says “ô” as in saw. It usually comes at the end of words.

Examples: claw, saw, draw, straw, flow, thaw, jaw, squaw, law, paw, raw, slaw

RULE: if a L, N, or K follow the “o” sound, use AW at the end. Examples: hawk, lawn, dawn, yawn, and scrawl.   In other words, if you hear this sound “ô,” and it’s at the end, always use the AW, not AU, as AU will not appear at the end of a word, only beginning and middle.

 

ea says “ē” (long e) as in eagle.

Examples: beach, bead, leave, treat, speak, tea, wheat, teacher, squeak, teach, steal, real, leap, heat, ease

 

ea also says “ĕ” (short e) as in Bread.

Examples: dread, sweat, instead, heavy, jealous, thread, lead (the medal), threat, heaven, pleasant, already, wealth, death, deaf, heading

 

ea also says “ā” (long a) as in steak. This is rare.

Examples: steak, break

NOTE: A sentence to help remember the sounds of EA is The eagle ate bread and steak.

 

ey says “ē” (long e) as in monkey. It is at the end of words.

Examples: barley, jockey, valley, money, dickey, New Jersey, chimney, key, volley, journey, pulley, turkey

 

ey also says “ā” (long a). It is rare.

Examples: they, convey, disobey, obey, hey, prey, survey, whey

 

igh says “ī” (long i) as in light. In the base word (if in a compound word), it is either at the end or followed by the letter t.

Examples: blight, high, sight, frighten, flashlight, lighthouse, highway, highness, moonlight, sigh, fright, insight

 

eigh says “ā” (long a) as in eight. In the base word (if in a compound word) it is either at the end or followed by the letter t.

Examples: weight, sleigh, neighbor, neigh, eight, eighty, weigh, freight, eighteen, neighborhood, eighty-eight.

 

ue makes the two long sounds of u: “oo” and “yoo.” As in, A true rescue. UE will come at the end of the word.

ue says “oo” as in true.

Examples: due, rue, avenue, sue, subdue, blue, glue, misconstrue, pursue

 

ue also says “yoo” as in rescue.

Examples: hue, statue, cue, argue, virtue, tissue, issue, continue

 

ew says both “oo” and “yoo”. As in, He grew a few inches. EW will come at the end of words.

ew says “oo” as in grew.

Examples: blew, chew, pew, mildew, jewel, new, grew, threw

 

ew says “yoo” as in few.

Examples: pew, few, pewter, nephew

 

ui says “oo” as in fruit. There are very few common words with this vowel team.

Examples: suitor, juice, nuisance, bruise, pursuit, cruise, recruit, suit, sluice

 

eu says both “oo” and “yoo” as in eucalyptus and Zeus. These are Greek in origin and not common.

eu says “oo” as in Zeus.

Examples: neuter, neutral, neuron, neural, neuritis, sleuth, deuce

 

eu also says “yoo” as in feud

Examples: feudal, Europe, eucalyptus, euphemism, Eugene, euphoria

 

ei says “ē” (long e) and comes after the letter c.

Examples: ceiling, conceive, conceit, deceive, receive, deceit, receipt, perceive

 

ei also says “ā” (long a) as in veil.

Examples: vein, rein, skein reindeer, heir, surveillance

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14 responses to “They Come as a Team – Vowel Teams

  1. laura says:

    how come the word “creativity” has a vowel team but it does not apply to this word? cre-a-tiv-i-ty

    • momssoulcafe says:

      Hi Laura, GREAT question. This is a concept that might be taught in 3rd grade, and would not be taught at the same time as the vowel teams I covered in the previous post. I think you just gave me the next post idea though. The reason is because there is another type of syllable division that is vowel teams, but looks like this V/V — meaning the vowels are split apart. In the class I took they were called Poem or Lion words. These are words with vowel teams that don’t make just one sound. If you “test” those vowels and they don’t make one sound, divide between the vowel and pronounce. As in Cre a tiv ity

      Usually, when the team is reversed it is a Lion or Poem word, as in io instead of oi (ion versus boil is one example). And the first vowel will usually be long.

      Examples of these words are: Lion words — neon, viola, dial, trial, cameo, aorta, iodine, trivial
      Poem words — oasis, duet, fluid, fuel, ruin, boa, meander, heroic, nucleus

      In Lion words, the teams are always split. In Poem words, you have to test — it may be a v/v word or it may be a vv word — the team is not acting as a team in that particular word, but in another word the same team may be a vowel team. Example: boat (vowel team), boa (v/v).

      When teaching this concept, you would teach Lion words first.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

      • Kathleen says:

        OUTSTANDING reply and explanation to this question! Thank you so much for this. I see I’m 4 years late reading it, but wow does it help me.

      • Kelsie says:

        What is the difference between a poem and a lion word? Also, this is related to another post, but why is the order REVLOC the way it is instead of REVLCO since if a word is a rabbit word (VCCV) we do not break the syllable after the first vowel. It seems to me that the open closed syllable would trump the open syllable then. My students are really catching on to the way I am teaching syllable patterns using your strategies, but they are new to me! Thank you!

      • momssoulcafe says:

        Hi Kelsie, there isn’t much difference between Poem and Lion words. Both are V/V — Both say “usually when the vowel teams are reversed as in “io” instead of “oi” — and “ia” instead of “ai,” you will divide between the vowels. The first vowel will usually be long. That goes for both.
        Poem words have an extra explanation though which says, There are words with vowel teams that don’t make one sound. If you “test” those and the don’t make one sound, divide between the vowel and pronounce. In other words, you might see these as teams in other words, but these are not acting as teams.
        On the REVLOC — I can’t say why Open trumps Closed, but that is what I was taught. I’m sure there is a good reason! I may check into that to know an answer and if I find out I will post it here.
        Hope this helps. I am a little removed from the material these days. I still believe this is the best teaching method out there! There is a book, Unlocking the Power of Print by Dorothy Blosser Whitehead that is a gem and has tons of info and lessons.

  2. jensaidyes says:

    Hi there! I am new to OG and I am about to cover vowel teams for the first time. Would you recommend teaching all of the long a sounds at once, or breaking them in to two groups? My students already have open a and a-e, so I am trying to decide is I should teach the remaining six spellings of long a, or should I only teach ai, and ay for now, and attack the others later, or all now?

    I really appreciate any guidance you could offer.

    • momssoulcafe says:

      I would break it down — ai and ay first. What grade is it?
      I think it is always good to do bite sized before moving on to more complicated like eigh, but it also depends on the level of the students. I have a sheet called “spelling vowels” that goes all the way through the spellings of long a. For an older kid who is familiar, this may be a good method for showing the diversity of spelling letters, but for a smaller child who has just learned that all of the letters have a Magic E that makes them say their name and that all letters can make three sounds (short, long and schwa), I would not introduce such a broad concept at once because there are 8 spellings. You can start with the first two and once those are understood, move to the others.

      Hope this helps. Please ask me more if you have questions about my answer so we can be sure you get the best advice!
      Warmest,
      Jennifer

  3. Jewel says:

    Hello, I just discovered your blog and it seems like just what I need. I am am a homeschooler of 4 who has received basic OG training (hoping to do the advanced course next summer!). We are working on sounds of ea (long a, short e, r controlled) and I am putting together a syllable division worksheet to use at the end of the week. Many of the multisyllable words with ea are actually compound or have a prefix/suffix so they are easy to divide. But how about words like meadow and weather? When I speak them it seems that I would divide immediately after the ea but is there a particular rule for this? Thanks so much!

    • momssoulcafe says:

      WOW! On homeschooling four. You will love the long OG course, if you liked the short version.

      For your question, ea is a vowel team and should be treated as a vowel team. The sounds it makes are long e (eagle), short e (bread) and long a (steak). A sentence for teaching it is: The eagle eats break and steak.

      On the division, I wouldn’t be as concerned with where it is divided as long as your kids can pronounce it. For sure, on weather, the th stays together. If it were me, I would divide it as wea ther (vowel team syllable) and (r-controlled syllable). I could be wrong, but in this case, it doesn’t matter, because no matter what, the team stays together, the digraph stays together, and either way, it’s an r-controlled syllable for the second syllable.

      Meadow is the same. ow is also a vowel team and we teach that ow can say, ow as in now, or ow as in know. Mea dow would be (vowel team) (vowel team) either way, even if I put the “d” with the ow.

      The main point to any division is to be able to pronounce the word. Another way to decide where it will be divided is the accent mark. You want to divide to the appropriate accent. In the case of mea dow the accent would be on the mea’ — On weather, I say wea ther (the “ea” in this case has a short e sound).

      I hope this makes sense. I’m not sure how old your children are, but it may make a difference in how you teach it. If you are just into syllable division and you are talking about ea as being a “vowel team” syllable, then words like these may need to wait until later when you are talking about the different sounds that “ea” can make. If you have covered the sounds but you have not begun accenting, then you may wait on telling them about why it is divided where it is and just concentrate on calling the word like calling a dog (wea… ther…) to see how the break can be heard.

      Let me know if you need clarification on any of this, or if you have other questions.
      I hope to get back to writing more on this blog SOON! I have been a little out of commission working in real estate. But I love, love Orton and I am so glad you are teaching your children using this method.

      Warmly,
      Jennifer

  4. Alec says:

    helped a lot!!!

  5. Ann Onomous says:

    Where is the v.v division section? You are talking about vowel teams here, but not division.

    • momssoulcafe says:

      Hi Ann, normally you would keep vowel teams together, but there is a group called “Lion” words.

      VV (Lion and poem words): Divide between unstable digraphs and diphthongs or between vowels that do not form digraphs or diphthongs. (ru in) (li on) (e on)

      A diphthong is a word that had a vowel team which starts out as one sound but ends up as another, so that both vowels are pronounced. For example: coin, lion, ruin. Digraphs are two letters that come together to form another sound all together, like th or ch, tch.

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