Diphthongs – Reading, Writing, Spelling

Lesson Summary:

The lesson introduces the children to the use of the diphthong.  The discussion is designed to be used either as an individual or as a paired reading activity.    Activity A is a brainstorming activity which requires the children to identify as many words containing diphthongs as they can within a given period of time.  Activity B provides an exercise in reading, writing and spelling words containing diphthongs.


  • The children will recognize words containing the diphthongs: oi oy, ou, ow, au, aw.
  • The children will demonstrate their ability to read, write and spell words containing the diphthongs: oi oy, ou, ow, au, aw.

Subject Area:

Language Arts

Lesson Excerpt:

Vowels are ‘old hat’, we learnt about them years ago.  But here is a new take on vowels – the diphthong.  Do you remember what a syllable is? It is a single, uninterrupted sound which forms all or part of a word.  We can break a word down into its separate sounds, or syllables, for example, paper has two syllables: pa/per.  Well, a diphthong is two vowel sounds in one syllable.

The two vowel sounds are blended but usually (not always) both sounds can be heard as one slides into the other, so that your lips and tongue have to change position as you speak.  ‘Oi’ is an example of a diphthong.  Try saying ‘boil’. What is your tongue doing? What are your lips doing? Watch a friend saying the same word.

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