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Step 9: Irregular Vowel Teams: Diphthongs and Digraphs

Irregular vowel teams poster: diphthong and digraphs
oo, oi, oy, au, augh, aw, ui, ue, ew, ou, ow
Irregular Vowel Teams: Diphthongs/Digraphs

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Irregular Vowel Team Definitions:
VV stands for Vowel, Vowel, which is the Vowel Team syllable.
Diphthong: A gliding (or changing) sound formed by two or more letters in a syllable. Can be vowels like oi in boil, or a combination of vowels and consonants like augh in daughter.
Digraph: One sound made represented with 2 or more letters. Can be a consonant digraph like sh in she. In the case of an Irregular Vowel Team examples are the ui in fruit, and can be a combination of vowels and consonants like the igh in light.

Teaching Videos and Written Stories

We recommend you watch videos in order, and practice each sound after each video.

oo Pumpkin story
oi, oy Boil that Boy in Oil story
oo, oo The Bus Broke Down
ou, ow OW That Hurts story
oo, ui, ue, uw The Moose in the Dew story
au, augh, aw Awwww Babies story

Written Stories

PowerPoints and Google Slides PowerPoints for teaching short vowel words CVC Google Slides Icon

For the formatting of PowerPoints to be correct, click FILE, then DOWNLOAD, and download in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Teach Along the Way with Irregular Vowel Teams Teach along the way with short vowels


Teach and add the irregular vowel teams (oo, oo, oi, oy, au, augh, aw, ui, ue, ew, ou, ow) from the Big Sounds Pack to daily practice as they are learned.

Tips Tips

TIP: Teach and practice each sound group together. For example teach the au, augh and aw together as all ways to spell the /aw/ sound.   (The 2 sounds for oo can be taught together.)  Teach the sounds in the order we present them in, or teach each sound as it comes up in your students reading.  If your student asks about the oo in book, teach and practice the two sounds for oo right then when it is relevant to the student.

Map Sounds to Letters

Map the sounds in the word to the letter(s) representing the sounds, even if it is not a letter combination that has been taught yet. Only an unusual sound/letter combination needs to be remembered “by heart.” Mapping the sounds to the letters is how we remember what words look like. See example below:

Map Sounds To Letters examples

Be sure to reinforce what you know and are learning about words, for example:
Schwa Sound: Any vowel might say /ŭ/. Point out that this happens in many common words like: the, of, was, some, from…

Key and Directions for Materials Key

Blue Heart: Beginning, grades K-1K-1 Beginning
Green Star: Growing, Grades 1-21-2 Growing
Pink Plus: intervention, challengeIntervention/Challenge

Bundle: Multiple types of materials (games, activities, stories…) bundled together.
Pack: Multiple pieces of the same type of material, for example a pack of books.

Directions for everything else:

More on the Directions Page

Sample Bundle

Sample Bundle contains samples of the stories, games, lists, flashcards, fluency pyramids, activities, spelling and more you will find in the practice section below.

Practice Reading Practice Practice Reading

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