When two letters work together to make one vowel sound that is new, they may be called Diphthongs. These vowel combinations are not long or short (mostly), but make completely different vowel sounds. The letters OI and OY make the same sound. OU and OW do too sometimes, although they can make other sounds. These vowel combinations make sounds with mouth positions that change, the definition of a diphthong. The letters AU and AW make the same sound as a short o. The letters OO can make two different sounds: a short oo like in “foot” or a sound like a long u in “boot.”

Digraphs are two letters that make one sound, and diphthongs may be called vowel digraphs. Vowel teams that often make a long vowel sound are also vowel digraphs, so it is helpful to learn these separately. When Diphthongs are learned first, many of the remaining vowel combinations are long, although this is not always true and there are many variations to learn.

Exceptions: OW can also make a Long O sound in some words (like know and blow). Oh, Those OUGH Words explores some of the variations of OU. It can say OR like in pour, or OO like in soup, and different sounds when followed by the letters ld or gh.

WATCH videos and PLAY online games at the Diphthong tutorial at Wakelet

Please note that many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Firefox browser.

WATCH more videos at Kids vs Phonics:  OO (1:21), OO Long (1:44),  OI (1:33), OY 1:40), OI & OY (3:13), OU (1:36), OW (1:54).

LISTEN and play: Diphthong words at Quizlet

 PLAY Printables: OI/OY Piggy Diphthong game from Oh My Little Classity Class, Gurgling Gargoyle game from Adrian Bruce

More Resources:

Author: dailyplanit

I am fascinated by the process of learning to read English and the idea of gamification to make learning fun. Phonics and literacy have become my passion project. I also write about personal development, goal setting, and time management. I enjoy finding great information, combining it in new ways, and packaging it creatively.