teaching resource

Vowel Teams Sorting Activity (OA, OW and OE)

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Years: 1 - 2

Decode words with the OA, OW and OE vowel teams using 18 picture cards with sorting mats.

Which Vowel Team Is Making the ‘Long O’ Sound?

One of the trickiest concepts for early readers and writers is mastering the understanding that, in the English language, multiple letters (and combinations of letters) can be used to make the same sound.

Confusing, huh?

This sorting activity has been designed to help younger students explore some of the vowel teams that create the ‘long o’ sound. A vowel team can be defined as two or more letters that work together to create a vowel sound in a word.

The vowel teams students will explore in this sorting activity are:

  • oa (as in boat)
  • ow (as in bow)
  • oe (as in toe).

One Resource, Multiple Applications!

Use this resource as an English group activity or with your whole class to explore the various vowel teams that create the ‘long o’ sound.

There are single-player, multi-player and whole-class options for the game, as outlined below.

Single Player

Students choose a card, say the word, the place it on the matching vowel team mat.


Shuffle the cards and split the deck equally between players. Students take turns placing the cards on the matching vowel team mat.


Give each student a mini whiteboard and a whiteboard marker. Project all three of the vowel team category cards onto your whiteboard. Show the students a picture card, then have them write the category the word belongs to on their board. When everyone has written down their answer, say, “Show Me.” Students will flip their boards, allowing you to see who needs extra support.

Scaffolding + Extension Tips 

  • Challenge students who already understand the concept to produce additional words for each vowel team.
  • Support students who need help understanding the concepts by using visual reminders of vowel team conventions, such as a classroom poster or anchor chart.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print on thick card for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access.

Before You Download

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource.

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a Teach Starter collaborator. 


Write a review to help other teachers and parents like yourself. If you'd like to request a change to this resource, or report an error, select the corresponding tab above.

Login to comment