As with many English vowels, there are multiple ways to represent /ō/ when spelling words. There is no specific spelling rule to help determine which spelling to use; however, there are some helpful spelling patterns to consider when spelling words with /ō/.
Most Common Spellings of /Ō/
Single-letter o at the end of a syllable because o usually says /ō/ at the end of a syllable.
Single-letter o in a closed syllable ending with a silent E because the vowel says its long sound because of the E.
Single-letter o can also say its long sounds before two consonants.
Other Spellings of /Ō/
OA two-letter /ō/ that may not be used at the end of English words.
OW that may be used at the end of English words and most commonly found at the end of the word.
OU that may not be used at the end of English words. This phonogram has multiple sounds but /ō/ is not common and is found in the middle of the word.
OUGH which comes at the end of the word is the least common spelling for /ō/. It is only found in four words!
Even though there are multiple ways to spell /ō/ it is important to consider the most common spellings and where the sound is occurring in the word in order to help determine which spelling to use. As always, students are not expected to know which spelling of /ō/ to use and they should be cued during spelling analysis.