Dipthongs are vowel sounds blended together in a syllable. They are also known as gliding vowels because the tongue glides across the mouth as it makes the two sounds. Each dipthong sound begins with one vowel sound, then quickly blends with the other. For example: oy in ploy and ow in cow have two sounds. Dipthongs are common phonics elements found in many words in most languages. Sounds are generally considered dipthongs if the mouth moves while making the vowel sound. For example, if you say the word, ride, the long i sound is stable in the word. The mouth doesn't move as the vowel sound is formed. However, when you say, oi in toil, the mouth moves, and the vowel sound changes from the o to the i to make the oi sound.
One way to introduce dipthongs is to list some dipthong pairs on the board. Challenge your students to come up with words using the dipthongs, and list them under each pair. As you write the words, use a different colored marker to write the dipthong letters so they stand out in the word. After creating lists of words with dipthongs, students can practice saying the words, then use them in sentences. Older students can write sentences using different words with dipthongs.
Some students will notice that certain sounds can be spelled with different dipthong pairs. For example, oi and oy can make the same sound. Challenge students to find other words with different dipthongs that make the same sounds. (ie. loud and gown).
Students begin learning about dipthongs in the primary grades. Here are some common dipthongs:
toil, noise, voice
loud, house, ouch
bow, gown, allow
boy, enjoy, royal
Froggy Phonics by Edupress is a fun board game I have played with students. It is a great way to practice reading words with dipthongs. Froggy Phonics is available on Amazon.com.
The Clown in the Gown Drives the Car With the Star by Brian Cleary is a humorous story that teaches dipthongs and r-controlled vowels. Look for it in your library or in paperback at Amazon.com.