Blog posts Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 4
Apr 28, 2023

Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 4

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We hope you have been enjoying this fun and unique approach to teaching a tricky topic. Over the past few weeks, we have covered many different sound spellings, integrating multisensory components that allow all learners to gain confidence in their abilities. We will conclude this series today with six more sound spellings!

Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 4 Lesson Download 

How to Teach IGH Words


Sound Spelling IGH

IGH is a sound spelling that shows up frequently and so the pattern of those letters is important for children to recognize immediately when they are reading. They should be viewed as a chunk of a word that is stuck together rather than individual letters to sound out.

Tell the children that there were two tall brothers (i and h) that were always getting into arguments about pretty much everything. Finally, one day their mother (g) stood between them and raised her finger up to the sky, and said, “Please do not fight anymore.”

Let the children draw the three letters in this spelling pattern on paper and embellish them for themselves.

Next, make a list of IGH words on your whiteboard and underline the IGH or write it in a contrasting color of marker. Let the children know how easy IGH words are to read. Any time they see those three letters together, they will simply say the long I sound.

  f-igh-t                 l-igh-t
 s-igh-t                fr-igh-t
 n-igh-t               br-igh-t


How to Teach OUL Words

Sound Spelling OUL

OUL is a sound spelling that is a challenge for many children. You can’t really sound it out the traditional way, and so this is the perfect time for a story.

Tall Ted nearly always had a messy room. He threw his clothes on the floor when he took them off after playing basketball every afternoon. BOY, DID THEY SMELL! He also liked to eat cookies in his room after basketball practice because he was so hungry from all the exercise. So, while he did his homework, he munched on cookies. And of course, the crumbs went all over the floor.

Tall Ted’s parents would come to his door and say, “Hi, Tall Ted.” Then they would look around the room and say, “Oh, you (OU) SHOULD clean your room.”

Tall Ted would smile and nod at them, and his parents always thought he WOULD clean his room. But Tall Ted went right on eating cookies and dropping crumbs. He didn’t mind the crumbs on the floor, and he was so used to his dirty clothes that he didn’t smell them anymore.

Finally, one day when his parents came to his door, they said, “Oh, you SHOULD clean your room.” This time instead of walking away, they added, “When your room is clean, we will go camping.”

Tall Ted started to nod and smile and went back to eating cookies. But this time he thought to himself, “I really do want to go camping. I COULD clean my room! In fact, I will clean my room right now!”

So Tall Ted put all his dirty clothes into the hamper (the letter O) and then he swept and mopped his room (the U is the bucket of water) and he and his family enjoyed a wonderful camping trip!

Let the children draw the three letters in this spelling pattern on paper and embellish them for themselves. They could also draw the messy room and a picture of the clean room.

Next, have the students write should, could, and would on their whiteboards, highlighting the OUL.

sh-oul-d      c-oul-d      w-oul-d


How to Teach the Sound of EA as in HEAD 

Sound Spelling EA

Show the children the image on the front and have them notice the sound spelling in the word EAT. They know that EA makes the long sound of E, right?

Well, some words have that same spelling, but the A hears the word EAT so often it makes her really want to munch on something. She is so busy eating, she does not help her friend, E, at all!

In fact, in all the words in this picture, A is not helping. So, the E is saying the short version of his name. (Make the short E sound.)

Write these words on your whiteboard and color in the space inside the A to show she is busy and not speaking at all:

Sound Spelling EA

Have the children watch for other words with this same sound and sound spelling in their reading throughout the week. 


How to Teach the Sound of EA as in HEAD 

Sound Spelling EAR

Normally we see ER and say, “ER,” and we see EAR and say, “EAR,” like the things on the sides of our heads that we hear with. But some words like to be different, and again, this is mostly because a letter that is normally very helpful is either sleeping or eating. In the case of the words in our lesson today, the A in the words is snoring away!

Write these words on your whiteboard: 

earn     early     earth     learn     heard 

Enlist the children’s help in picking these words apart. Starting with EARN, notice the end of the word first. N says, “nnnn.” If you take that sound off the word, you are left with what sounds like “ER.” Obviously, the R says, “rrrr,” so that leaves the two first letters to say? What? This is another case in which Bossy R is taking over, not letting the vowels say much at all!

What we see, then, in all five of these words, you can clump EAR together to sound like “ER” (sound of R) and then add the other letter sounds on the front or back of each word: 


Finish by making up a silly sentence that uses these words. Something like: “I heard I need to get up early to learn about the earth.”


How to Teach the UH Sound 

Sound Spelling UH

 Normally when we see a word like these words, we just use long O spelling with the Pinchy E on the end, making sure the O says its long sound: 

more               woke
store               broke
close               home
store               hope

But there are other words that don’t act like these words do. Look at the word LOVE. It doesn’t follow the pattern of Pinchy E making the O say its name! How about DONE? Or SHOVE? Or COME, SOME, DOVE, ABOVE, GLOVE?

Have the children study the visual on the front of this card. What is the O character doing? It looks to me like he’s thinking hard, and he is saying, “Uhhhhh.”

Now check out the E at the end of the word. What is HE doing? Certainly not acting like Pinchy E! It looks like he is sleeping!

It is in cases such as these that it pays to have SnapWords® so that the children can learn to correctly name and understand each word, but then when we add the silly story to the phonics portion of the lesson, the learning sticks.

You can search for words that support this lesson from within your SnapWords® stash and post them on a bulletin board. Half of them will use the true Pinchy E while the other half will sound like “UH.”  You can use this Pinchy E or "Uh" Word Sort for a fun hands-on activity.



This concludes our series on sound spellings; we trust that you and your students have had fun while learning a few stories about how sneaky our letter friends can be!

You can download larger images of the words above for teaching.

You can also download these plain words for the students to embellish and write about.

Other blogs in this series: Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 1
                                          Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 2
                                          Teaching Sound Spelling Patterns Part 3

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