Dipthongs ou and ow


Introduction to the Concept

There are two spellings for the sound /ou/ as in out. The ou spelling usually occurs at the beginning or in the middle of words as in count and outcast and ow usually occurs at the end of the words as in how and now or at the end of words followed by the letters n and l as in down and growl.

For decoding students may need to try two sounds for the ow, the long o sound as in window and the /ou/ sound as in cow. For spelling, students will hear the sound ou and will need to select either the ou spelling or the ow spelling.

Prerequisite skills

Short and long vowel sounds


Word Lists

Order for instruction:

Work first with some one syllable, familiar words. Work at associating the sound with the out spelling:

Ou words

One syllable

out, hound, cloud, house, mouth, found, loud, pound, proud, round, sound, south, blouse, bound, bout, clout, couch, count, couch, foul, font, stout, noun, snout

Multi syllable

background, bounty, campground, cloudy, compound,  counter, countess, county , devour, devout, dismount, dormouse, eastbound, encounter, enshroud, espouse, fallout, farmhouse, flounder, founder, foundry, outwit, output, playground,


page 83 of the SLT text


Working with one syllable ow words

how, now, brown, cow clown, down, gown, owl, town, crown, brow, crowd, bow, browse, fowl, frown, growl, owl, prowl, howl, scowl, town , tow, vow



countdown, cowboy, endow, endowment, flower, glower,  powder, power, powwow, prowess,  reknown, shower, towel, tower,  trowel,  vowel


SLT has RAN lists of partial words and nonsense words


Phonological Activity

Heggerty PA strategy: Take your word list of single syllable words.  Roller coaster the ou words to reinforce that they are in the middle of the word and punch out the ow words to reinforce that it is at the end of the word (syllable)

Oi/oy color cards: Use ou and ow cards on two colors of paper.  Have students hold up the appropriate card when the teacher says an ou/ow word. See full instructions under vowel teams ai/ay.

Manipulating words: Have students orally manipulate ou/ow words.  For example:

Guided Practice

Independent Practice

Florida Center for Reading Research

Scout the Sound

oi and owScout the Sound (oi/ow)

Dipthong – oDipthong - o 

Concept in Text

West Virginia Phonics


Small Mouse
The small mouse ran out of his house when he heard the old grouch shout. The hound did pounce off the couch when he saw the mouse in his soup. The grouch did shout for the hound to catch the mouse. The hound did not put the mouse in his mouth. So the grouch took the hound to the pound. He did not catch the mouse in the house.

The mouse sat on his couch being a grouch. He ran out of the house to shout. He could see a cloud of blue smoke.
When the mouse went out to the smoke, out came a round trout and hit him on the snout. The mouse did shout, “Ouch!” The mouse sat back to pout. He did shout, “Get out!” and “Poof!” the trout went up in a cloud of smoke. The mouse took Route One back to his house. Now he is a grouch on his couch once again.

A Proud Boy Scout
A proud boy scout in a red coupe could not count well. He was to fill a group of round cups with flour. The scout had a mound of white flour which weighed one pound. He had a mound of brown flour that weighed three pounds. The scout could not fill all the round cups with white flour so he filled the rest of the cups with brown flour. The scout has to count how many cups he filled. When he got to ten, he goofed up! The scout is not proud now.

Reading A-Z

Lesson 32 “The Clown Who Lost Her Smile”