Hi there. First time user on these forums so I hope I have posted in the correct forum Emotion: smile
My 6 year old son is learning to read and is progressing steadily. However, he struggles to remember the spelling for words which use the diphthongs OW and OU. So for example, he'll think owl is spelt oul and bounce is spelt bownce.

I need to find a rule or a way of being able to help him remember how to differentiate between the two spellings. I came across one rule that stated:
"Ou or Ow: Use ou in the middle of a word and use ow at the end of words other than those that end in n or d."

But this does not allow for exceptions such as owl, growl, towel, loud, fowl, foul etc.
Any help would be really appreciated!
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At the risk of oversimplifying, I will suggest the following.
1) This rule seems to work; the fact that there are exceptions is no problem.
2) The boy is more at a stage of reading than of writing; recognizing both spellings as having the same sound is what is important.
3) He's only six; he has plenty of time to discern the diffrerences.

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jonathenuse ow at the end of words other than those that end in n or d
What? How about "Use ou except when final or followed by final n or l".
Final: now, allow, low, below, window, ...; Exceptions: thou, you, caribou
Final n: brown, down, own, shown, known, ...; Exceptions: noun, pronoun
Final l: owl, howl, fowl, bowl, ...; Exceptions: foul, soul, ghoul*
None of the above: crouch, shout, mouth, ground, loud, bounce, rouse, shoulder, four, could, soup, youth, though, through, rough, cousin, trouble, ...; Exceptions: browse, drowse, drowsy, crowd
*Note the wel's and wer's: towel, dowel, vowel, ..., tower, power, ..., and owe. (Use w, not u, between vowels.)
The same rule also applies quite well with au/aw: saw, fawn, shawl, laundry -- perhaps less well with eu/ew: few, sewn, mewl, neuron, because there are fewer common words with eu or ew.
I'm not sure a six-year-old is ready for all this.
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Thanks for that CJ. You're right, this is too heavy for my son - I was just hoping there'd be a simpler rule to help him differentiate between the two, but clearly there isn't!
However, that rule you have provided will certainly help me to explain different words to him and I can use this later when he is old enough to grasp such things.
Thanks for your help too, Philip.
For younger children it's probably best to concentrate on a few rhyming words at a time.
down, town, clown, frown can easily be worked into a children's story. It's probably best for the word to be encountered in reading quite a few times before writing is attempted.

The same is true of owl, howl, prowl, scowl.
And of cow, now, how, sow, bow. And of round, ground, found, mound, sound, loud, cloud, proud, out, stout, shout, about, bounce, ounce.
Go slow. Emotion: smile

My son is also 6 and in first grade learning to read. His spelling words for this week are cow, found, house,now,out,pouch, crowded. I am having a terrible
time trying to teach him ou and ow. So, I could really use some easier suggestions if there are any. thanks!
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Personally I believe at that age the only thing is to insist they are learned by heart. It is not really possible to teach a rule for so complex a pronunciation.
Keep the two letter combinations separate as suggested above, and drill the shape of the words into him by repetitive usage - little and often.
AnonymousI could really use some easier suggestions if there are any
If you restrict it to only those words, it shouldn't be a problem to see that it's ow when final, and otherwise it's ou. The only exception is crowded. It just has to be learned as an exception.
Make sure he can read these words easily before attempting to have him spell them out.
I think focusing on these spelling differences at this young an age can stunt a child's desire to write. As your son has more natural experiences (not forced lessons) with reading, word families and vowel tendancies-he will adopt specific spellings. I know its tough to watch your child mispell things, but try to focus more on writing ability not spelling. Spelling will come with age.
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