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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Given the wide variety of words that have the long o sound spelled in different ways, it’s essential for your students to get as much practice with the different spelling forms. These long vowel worksheets make up a ready reference booklet for them to master the tricky long o sound. One of the joys of teaching reading to first graders is watching their amazement as they find out all the different ways that the English language has spelling certain sounds.
Exploring the Long O sound
There are two main ways of spelling the long o sound in English: oa as in toad and oe as in toe. Students need to be able to differentiate between the two and recognize oa as the most common spelling pattern for when they start to sound out words in their own writing. These phonics worksheets help students explore words with oa sounds through a series of activities, from matching pictures to tracing the letters as part of longer words. This variety of activities gives students multiple attempts to practice and rehearse both reading and writing the long o sound.
Preparing These Phonics Worksheets
For this activity you will need:
Optional: laminator if you prefer to prep them as centers instead of worksheets
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There are a huge number of activities in these long o sound worksheets and you’ll spend forever at the printer if you print a set for each student. A better approach is to print the individual activities as you need them and keep a record of which ones you’ve used so far.
Using Phonics Worksheets In The Classroom
In these long vowel worksheets, you’ll find a wide range of activities for students to work on. As with any skill that needs rehearsal and repetition to become embedded, a little practice every day is preferable to completing multiple pages in one day. Here is a suggested teaching sequence:
1. Read the sound – start with the pages that have images of the relevant digraph and make sure that students recognize the word that goes with each picture. Follow this activity with the cut and match activities on the “I can read” pages. For an extra challenge, put one together incorrectly and ask students to fix your mistakes.
2. Trace the words – next up comes repeated practice of tracing the letter pairings. Start with the I Can Write and Color, Write and Stamp pages which will help with correct letter formation before moving on to the Book of Words activity which will allow students to create a book to read independently later. Encourage your students to illustrate the book to demonstrate their understanding of the vocabulary.
3. Write the words independently – once your students have completed these activities, they will be ready for the independent writing activities. Start with the word searches and word scrambles so that they get familiar with the sequence of letters, and finish with the Read and Write challenges. Students should be able to complete a dictation spelling test independently to demonstrate their mastery of the letter sounds as well as using them correctly in their own journal writing.