Red Cat Reading Teach phonics short o sound

Teach Phonics: The Short o Sound — for Parents

Red Cat Reading Team Phonics

The phonics short o sound is the vowel sound in “hop,” “top,” “mop,” “tot,” “pot,” and “lot.” Other o sounds are the long o, as in “mode” or “toad,” and the double o, as in “mood.” All these different sounds that one letter can make can be confusing for a new reader! The short o sound is the easiest to understand (and teach!) so start there.

It’s usually easiest for kids to get some practice hearing the short o sound at the beginning of words.

Short o words list:

  • octopus
  • olive
  • ox
  • otter
  • ostrich
  • on
  • odd
  • of
  • onto
  • orange

Try reading up on some of these animals, watching videos about them, or tasting olives and oranges. Listen to the words together and point out to your child the letter that makes the short o sound.

Short o CVC Words

Once you’ve practiced together a bit with the words that begin with short o, move on to some simple words with short o sounds in the middle. “Consonant-vowel-consonant” or “CVC” words are great for this. There are lots of short o CVC words, too! Have fun with phonics time! Make learning short o words a fun experience for you and your child.

Short o CVC words list:

  • hop
  • mop
  • pot
  • lot
  • not
  • rot
  • cop
  • top
  • bot
  • job

Short o Sound Phonics Lesson

Watch our Short o Sound video with your young ones, and check out the rest of the lesson here!


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Short o Phonics Activities

Teach phonics short o sound

Play Octopus Tag

This is a fun and active game to play with a group of kids. Try it with your crew! Choose a large defined area like a yard for the kids to run across. First, have one child be the octopus. All the other kids line up on one side; these are the “fish.” Together, all the “fish” shout, “Octopus, octopus, ah, ah, ah!” using the short o sound. All the “fish” run across the yard, trying to get to the other side without being tagged. The “octopus” tags as many people as he or she can. Anyone who is tagged becomes a “crab.” The “crabs” help the octopus to tag people, but must keep one foot planted at all times. The “fish” go back and forth until everyone has been tagged. The last person not tagged gets to be the octopus next round. This is a great activity for active kids who learn best while moving!

Teach phonics short o sound

Short o Word Drawing

If your child likes to draw, this is the activity for them! Give them free creative reign to draw (or color) some short o words. Take a blank sheet and write the word in large letters at the bottom of the page. Give your child crayons or markers and let them go to town! Here are some good words to draw:

  • dog
  • pot
  • mop
  • log
  • hop
  • frog

Read the Dr. Seuss Classic Hop on Pop

This book is a classic for a reason! It is a great book for teaching the short o sound (as well as the concept of rhyming). You could also read the book Fox in Socks together, another classic that highlights short o sounds. The silly rhymes and pictures in Dr. Seuss books are so engaging to kids that they don’t even realize they are learning. After reading the story for a few days in a row (maybe each night before bed?), you could try leaving “blanks” for your child to fill in. For instance, you could say “hop on….” and wait for your child to complete, “pop!”

Any books targeting the short o sound are great! Rhyming songs are another fun way to learn. Try both and see what works best for your child.

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