Working on vowel sounds with your child? These short o sound words and free printable lists will make it simple for you.
A few weeks ago, my 3 year old picked up a letter o flashcard and said: “/ooooo/.”
No he’s not an early reader. It was clear that he’d been watching me practice the short o sound with his kindergarten brother.
Fortunately, the short o sound is pretty easy for most children to say and hear. BUt that doesn’t mean it’s easy for non-teacher parents to know how to teach.
If you’re not sure about how to help your child with this letter sound, I have you covered. This blog post will help you understand the short o sound and you can grab a free list of short o sound words.
What is short o sound?
The short o sound is the sound you hear at the beginning of the word octopus. You can also hear it in the middle of the word pot.
Spoken language developed 50,000 years ago while written language is pretty new – only about 5,000 years old.
So it’s important for parents to understand that letters represent speech sounds. For sounding out letters, your child needs to associate the most common sound with that letter effortlessly.
Keep in mind you will see the letter o represent different sounds. However, when sounding out words phonetically, it is the first sound your child should try.
So you’re probably wondering what are the other sounds for the letter O.
What’s the short o sound and the long o sound?
The short o sound has the sound like in the word “pot.” The long o sound has the vowel sound you hear in the word “coat.”
Try saying those words aloud and listening for the difference
Short vowels are the most common alphabet letter sounds while long vowel sound is the letter name. They are represented like this:
- Short o: /o/
- Long o: /ō/ or sometimes /O/
Note when you see slashes, that means you say the sounds – not the names.
These word pairs help show the difference between short and long o:
- not and note
- bot and boat
- rob and robe
You can help your child hear the difference in short o and long o by reading them those word pairs out loud.
What are some examples of short o words?
Here are some examples of more short o words:
When teaching short vowel words, you need to also think about the consonants your child has already learned. If they haven’t learned about consonant blends or consonant digraphs, you don’t want to start with “frog” or “chop.”
Short O Word Families
When we read, our brains learn to recognize parts of words to streamline reading. These word parts are called rimes, or word families.
Some common short o word families are:
While learning to read, children need to sound out words phonetically. So you don’t want to rely on word families.
Short o words families are a great way to learn some common word chunks to read more automatically.
Short O Words List
You can grab this free short o words list in the box below. It is a gift for email subscribers
This list is helpful for teaching your child to read words. It is sorted into groups:
- CVC Words
- beginning blends
- ending blends
- Other spelling rules and words with two parts
As mentioned above, it is important to start with consonant rules your child already knows. Don’t move onto digraphs until your child is automatic with CVC words.
CVC Words with Short o
These words have both short o vowel and a CVC pattern:
Short o words with a beginning blend
These words have a beginning blend and a short o vowel sound:
Ending blend and short o vowel words list
These words have an ending blend plus the short o:
Short o vowel words with digraphs
This word list has digraphs and short vowel o:
Short o vowel and spelling rules
These are the most complex words with short o. They have spelling rules like -tch:
Grab a printable version of this word list in the box below:
Picture Chart for Words with a Short O
For a lot of children, these short o words are all new vocabulary. When teaching your child to sound out words phonetically, they also need to learn the meanings.
Use this free short o word picture chart to help your child understand the meanings. The short o words pictured are:
You can use this chart for an activity, too:
- Write one of the words from the chart on a whiteboard.
- Ask your child to sound out the word phonetically.
- Show your child the picture chart.
- Ask your child to match the word they read to the picture.
You can also just display this chart as a reference tool for your child.
Words that begin with Short O:
On the word list, I did not include words that begin with short o. These words tend to be hard for children to read. They have phonics patterns your child has not been taught yet.
But if you need some words so your child can hear the sound at the beginning of words, here are some words that start with short o:
Looking for more beginning sounds resources? Check out the Beginning Sounds Worksheets.
Trouble with Sounding Out?
Teaching your child to sound out words is hard for most parents. You weren’t taught this in school!
That’s why I created my program Sounds School. I introduce parents to the 44 sounds in English and the most common ways they are spelled.
You also learn:
- how to introduce a new sound
- strategies to review sounds
- a simple daily routine to read sounds, blend words, and spell sounds
It comes with a comprehensive 10-page plan that tells you exactly when to introduce each sound. Plus it comes with words you can use that your child will be able to read and spell!
Learn more about Sounds School here.
Need some Short Vowel Worksheets?
So maybe you have a solid understanding of how to teach short o sound. But you need some tangible resources for teaching it.
A word of caution: these worksheets are there to make your teaching easier. But they don’t do the teaching. Adults teach kids to read, not supplies or resources.
Check out these resources:
Middle Vowel Sounds Worksheets
They draw your child’s attention to the vowel sounds. With phonemic awareness, your child is listening for sounds before reading them.
Word Mapping CVC Words Worksheets
My favorite way to help students learn to read is word mapping. It goes from hearing speech sounds to writing words. This is exactly how written language was developed.
So help your child learn to read short vowels in words through this approach. You will fast-track their reading.
The worksheets are separated by vowel sound so you can really focus on short o. Plus there are answer keys included so you know exactly what each picture is.