How to teach vowel diphthongs

Written by jamie peacock
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How to teach vowel diphthongs
Learning phonics is an important step in language development. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Phonics are an important part of language development. Learning the sounds and combinations of vowels and consonants is a vital aspect to learning to read or developing English language skills. Diphthongs, or gliding vowels, are a combination of two vowel sounds that make one sound. The vowels are usually adjacent in the word. When saying a word with a diphthong, the tongue will move when you pronounce the sound of the coinciding vowels. Teaching diphthongs is one of the key parts of teaching phonics.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Lesson plan
  • List of diphthongs

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  1. 1

    Set up a lesson plan that is appropriate for the age range of students with whom you are working. The words should be simple for all students, but the activities involved will vary, depending on their age and language level. Based on your teaching style, you can create your own lesson plan by incorporating teaching strategies, or you can purchase a lesson plan from an educational resource, such as Scholastic.

  2. 2

    Make sure that the students you are teaching are well into learning about other aspects of phonics. They should already understand the 44 sounds that exist in the English language and know the difference between consonant and vowel sounds.

  3. 3

    Introduce diphthongs to your students by explaining what they are. The most simple ones to start with the /oi/ and /ow/ sound. The lesson plan you developed or acquired should have a list of different words with various vowel combinations that represent the diphthongs you are introducing.

  4. 4

    Ensure that your students have grasped the concept of what a diphthong is. Then, begin to drill the instructions. Ask your students to create lists of words with diphthongs or complete worksheets on the lesson. Review the work with your students to make sure that they truly grasp the concept.

Tips and warnings

  • Making a game out of teaching phonics can help make the lessons more fun.
  • Scholastic offers some printable worksheets for free.
  • Some students who do not speak English as a first language may struggle with the pronunciation of some diphthongs.

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