Sight Words,  Spelling

Breaking the Rules: Wild Old Words

I’ve written in the past about closed syllables and how if a syllable is “closed in” by consonants, then it will be a “closed syllable” and the vowel will be short. However, there are groups of words called Wild-Old Words that are “fossil” words left from Anglo Saxon times that do not follow the rules. These words are common but irregular.

A student can learn that some common words ending in ld, st, nd, and lt have a single vowel with a long vowel sound.


  • comb
  • roll, troll, stroll
  • mold, told, sold, scold, old, bold, cold, fold, gold
  • bolt, colt, dolt, jolt, Holt, molt, volt
  • bind, find, mind, wind, blind, grind, hind, kind, rind
  • both, don’t, won’t, host, most, post, ghost
  • pint, mild, wild, child, blinds
  • minded, kindly, kindness, unkind, behind, blindfold, remind

Sentences for dictation and reading:

  • This wild child is a troll.
  • Jane will rope the colt to a post.
  • It is cold in summer also?
  • I combed the old, kind dog with a small comb.
  • I wish I had a pint of gold.
  • Hold the wild colt.

Want more? Check out the Workbook Store. This information plus worksheets are in the workbook store.

Source: Unlocking the Power of Print, Dorthothy Blosser Whitehead


  • Cathy

    When I look for things to use to teach this I noticed that/oll/ it’s not included in most lists or worksheets etc…

    Can you explain why?

    • admin

      Hi Cathy, I have seen these /oll/ words show up in lessons on FLOSS — words like knoll and stroll — however, you have to make sure they are taught as sight words because of the long o sound. In the class I took, these words are on a list called Wild Old Words — a specific list of words that are common but irregular and are taught as patterns (-mb, -oll, -old, -olt, -ind, -nt, -oth, -n’t, -ost, -ild). I like the idea of teaching them as patterns.

      I can’t explain why they are on some lists and not others, but that’s why I am partial to OG and the way I was taught OG!

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