Teaching the oi and oy vowel teams is one of my favorite lessons in class! My students always find these sounds hilarious and engage with this part of our literacy learning. The /oi/ sound is one of the first ‘sliding’ sounds or diphthongs I teach – so help your learners explore this fantastic, fun phonics lesson.
Spelling Rules and Generalizations for oi and oy
The spelling of this vowel teams <oi> and <oy> are determined by their placement in a syllable. When it’s found at the beginning or middle, <oi> should be used, and for an end-of-syllable occurrence we opt for <oy>- think ‘boy’ versus ‘boil’. Remember the rule that English words generally don’t end in the letter<i> By understanding these rules of spelling will help students make good spelling choices.
Understanding base words and suffixes with oi and oy
When teaching this diphthong students need to understand base words and suffixes. Since base words generally end with the vowel team oy but they can be followed by a suffix like in the word <joyful.> The word joy is the base word and the consonant suffix -ful is added to the the base. Oy appears in the middle of the word but it is actually at the end of the base word. You may also find <oy> in a compound word examples of this would be examples like <toybox> and <boyhood.
Exceptions to the oi and oy Rule
Unfortunately even though <oy> generally appears word finally there are a few exceptions where <oy> occurs in the middle or beginning of the word.
Why the exception exists
Most of these words come directly from French origin they are oyster, loyal, royal, flamboyant, and buoyant. I recommend going to https://www.etymonline.com/ to search for these exception words so that you can have a lesson explaining how exceptions are not random in English spelling but generally have a reason. In this case, it is word origin and history.
Prerequisite Skills for OI & OY Lessons
To cement this concept in students’ minds, they need to understand the mechanics of vowel team syllables as well as be able to identify and break down words with 4 or 5 sounds. For starters, teachers must focus on teaching ‘oi’ and ‘oy’ in words lists, sentences and then in decodable passages. Only once students are comfortable using those phonograms should teachers introduce spelling generalizations featuring oi/oy. Incorporating too many dictation words before these concepts have been covered would only serve to confuse the learner.
Use Questions to Guide Spelling Choices
Help your students make wise decisions as they spell words by providing them with some thought-provoking questions for decision-making.
- Does this word have any affixes? (prefixes and suffixes)
- Is it a compound word?
- If so what is the base word?
- Where does the /oi/ sound occur? (beginning, middle, or end)
Multi sensory Tips for teaching oi and oy
Oral Word Sorts
Engage your kids as you teach phonics lessons with a fun and educational word sort game! Split them into teams equipped with whiteboards or papers, each divided into two columns marked oi/oy. Then have the students take turns reading their word list of 6-10 words aloud to their partner who must identify whether it belongs in (oi) or (oy). As they play this exciting competition, make sure you provide an anchor chart as a reference for further guidance.
Engage students with an Orthographic Mapping Template or worksheet! By asking them to “dot” the word and say its sounds before students write the words down, you can help encourage more thoughtful phonics-based spelling. This technique gives kids time to work through their impulses and will save time by avoiding mistakes with sound-symbol relationships.
Consistency is Key
Kids can practice building a strong spelling foundation by “dotting” (segmenting each word and saying the sound first. Give your students a free phoinics-based word list with oi an oy.Spelling accurately will allow them to form correct phoneme-grapheme mapping skills boosting their confidence as they progress in phonics skills. Incorrect or inconsistent spelling won’t be beneficial for long-term learning success.
Let Students be the “teachers”
Teaching spelling with oi or oy lends itself to an engaging classroom experience; by having your students take turns explaining why certain words, such as ‘boy’, ‘enjoy’ and ’employ,’ are spelled in the final position. This encourages critical thinking while reinforcing important encoding and decoding skills.
With this exercise, your students will explore the phonics that give shape to words like ‘spoil’, ‘moist’ and ‘joyful’. It’s a great opportunity for them to hone their understanding of generalizations in spelling.
It may even uncover misunderstandings that require further explanation! Encouraging children to vocalize why they spelled something allows them not only build up metacognitive skills but also gain an insight into how mastering these spellings can be beneficial.
Do lots of Spiral Review
Help your student sail away from the need for spelling rules! Encourage practice and repetition so that those tricky words are committed to memory. By giving them a spiral review during lessons, you can provide students with an invaluable opportunity to truly gain mastery of reading and writing — turning knowledge into reflexive skill easily recalled in any situation.
Play Lots of Games
To make sure that your students enjoy the learning process, don’t forget to play fun games like 4 in a Row or Spell to 50 worksheet game with free wordlists. This is a great way to incorporate the oi and oy spellings while also having a good time. Using a game is not only fun but encourages kids to think critically when it comes to words and their spellings – making it easier for them to remember a new sound in the long run.
Practice Oi and Oy with Decodable Reading Passages
Decodable passages can be very useful in teaching oi and oy spellings. By reading aloud a passage containing these spellings, you can help to reinforce the sounds of each letter combination by having students read those oi and oy examples. One is available for download in the Freebie Library.
Use a Cloze Passage
Then students can reread the story in a cloze passage worksheet with a word bank with oi and oy words. After that, the teacher can test students’ comprehension skills with a comprehension worksheet based on the decodable passage.
By covering all aspects of phonics from segmenting to comprehension, teachers will be able to give their students a comprehensive foundation in reading and spelling. With these tools, your students can learn to embrace all of their phonics-based spelling successes!
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