How to Teach the OU Spelling Rule

The OU vowel team says /ow/ like in trout and /oo/ like in soup. We use the key phrase trout soup in our reading and spelling instruction to help students learn this rule!

Hey there!

This month is all about tips & tricks for teaching vowel teams. Next in the series is the “ou” vowel team.

The OU Vowel Team

OU has two sounds. To help our students remember these sounds, we use the key phrase “Trout Soup” because it can say /ow/ like in trout and /oo/ like in soup. The visual of fish soup is one the students don’t forget very easily!

Where your students might get stuck with “ou”

While students might remember the sounds of “ou,” things can get tricky because other vowel teams also have these sounds. The /ow/ sound in “trout” is the same as the /ow/ sound in “plow.” The /oo/ sound in “soup” is the same as the /oo/ sound in “moon.” When students have to spell, they might go back and forth between different vowel teams. For example, if a student is trying to spell “chowder” they might remember that “ou” says /ow/ and spell it “chouder.” This is where practice and visual memory (and spell check!) will come in to play.

We highly recommend using a visual anchor to help your students remember the sounds. We particularly like “trout soup” because, as we said before, it’s not an easy thing to forget! Could you imagine what trout soup would be like?

We also like having our key phrase help your students with the sounds & understanding which is most common. We put the “trout” sound first, because it is more common than the “soup” sound.

Looking for OU Vowel Team Resources? Grab ours in our Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

If you are working with struggling students, check out our FREE online workshop: 7 Steps to Reading Instruction that Works! >> Click Here << to learn more!