Long o is a first grade phonics sound. Kids learn the first long o sound when they learn o_e as in hope. Typically, educators teach the o_e sound with other silent e sounds: a_e as in make, e_ as in Pete, i_e as in hive, o_e as in hope and u_e as in duke. After kids master the silent e phonics sounds, they delve into other long vowel patterns, including other long o units. What is long o?
What is long o?
The other long o sounds include:
oa as in soap
ow as in grown
Some educators also teach oe as in Joe. However, it’s better to teach common spelling units before you teach very uncommon ones like /oe/. Therefore, the Reading Elephant printable phonics books series only focuses on the oa/ow units.
Check out the Reading Elephant shop for printable long o books.
How to introduce long o sounds
Write a sentence on the board. Have your student try to figure out the new sound.
The boat can float in the water.
Underline the /oa/ unit. Read the sentence to emphasize the /oa/ sound: The b-oa-t can f-l-oa-t on the water. What do you think /oa/ says. Likely, your student will say /oa/.
Confirm that /oa/ makes the /oa/ sound as in b-oa-t. This is called explicit phonics. You are telling the student the long o sound explicitly.
Next, write oa on a sound card. Then, add oa to your phonics chart. Have your student look at the oa unit and repeat the sound 3x.
Repeat with the next long o sound: ow. For /ow/ you can use a sentence like:
The wind will blow the snow on the bushes.
Go through all the steps: read the sentence with an emphasis on /ow/, have the student try to figure out the new sound, introduce the sound explicitly, write ow on a sound card and on the phonics chart, have your student lock eyes with the ow unit and repeat the sound 3x.
Long o Words
(Teach this sound with the other silent e units.)
hope, cope, hole, tone, chose, drove, drone, spoke, smoke, broke, robe, awoke, choke, close, froze, globe, poke, home, dose, dome, nose, alone, rope, wove, woke, zone, stole, scope, stove, stone, phone, grove, vote, rose, rode, robe, cone, mode
soap, float, boat, poach, gloat, soak, cloak, poach, roast, roam, oak, goal, load, bloat, loaf, loan, oat, road, bloat, toad, toast, throat, coach, cloak
glow, blown, tow, row, bow, low, crow, grown, flow, snow, below, flow, know, stow, arrow, yellow, grown, window, pillow, hollow, follow, mow, show, slow, known, sown, flown, shown
oe words (This sound unit is not common enough to teach. Kids are better off learning more common units first.)
Joe, doe, foe
Long o Worksheet with interleaving
I created the following long o worksheet with interleaving. Interleaving, a term from Cognitive Science, means mixing up practice. In this way, you weave old concepts with new. With interleaving, students cannot guess what comes next. Interleaving more closely resembles the real world wherein you do not get repetitive constant exposure to the same concept: instead, you get exposure to long o /oa/, then short o /_o/, then long o /ow/, then a unit not related to o and so forth.
When practice is mixed, you learn phonics concepts better.
Here is a long o worksheet with interleaving (previously learned kindergarten phonics are in the worksheet as well as oa/ow).
Reading Elephant printable phonics books
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