Meet the letter O. This is the fifteenth letter and, more importantly, the fourth vowel of the English language alphabet. Thousands of years ago the letter “O” was a symbol drawn like an eye’s pupil by the Egyptians.
Today the letter “O”, shaped like a circle, has a variety of different sounds. Because there are many combinations, the following little story will help to introduce the sounds of the vowel O.
A Story: Off We Go with The Ostriches
“Open your big eyes, my little O’s,” whispered Mama Ostrich to her sleepy young ostriches. “This is the first day of our vacation! We need to load the truck and get on the road. “ The two little ostriches stretched their long necks and long legs. They tickled each other with the two toes on their feet.
“Wow, Vacation!” they shouted with glee. “Let’s go!” Running into the kitchen they grabbed a quick breakfast of plant leaves and seeds. Mama and Papa Ostrich smiled. They hoped the little O’s would be good travelers because it was an hour ride to the beach. Their feathers would blow in the wind as they sat in the back of Mr. Orangutan’s pick- up truck.
The Ostrich family lives with a herd of other ostriches in a place with tall grass and lots of sand. An ostrich is a big bird. None of the ostriches in the herd can fly because they are so large – almost 9 feet tall. But surprisingly they can run very fast. Papa and Mama can run as fast as 30 mph [just like a car].
Fun at the Beach
The little O’s love sand and beach sand is special. As they run fast along the water’s edge, they can make foot prints in the sand. They will build a castle and chase sand crabs. But their favorite game is running and hiding among the sand dunes.
While people love to swim in the ocean water, ostriches do not go into the water. In fact, ostriches get most of the water they need from the plants in their diet. Occasionally they will eat a little sand to help with food digestion.
This sunny hot day at the beach was the best they had ever had. Bravely, Mama had tasted a fried oyster while Papa raced the little o’s along the beach. By working together and pushing the sand into a huge mound with their beaks, they created a six- foot high sand castle. As the sun went down, the four tired ostriches climbed into Mr. Orangutan’s truck for the ride home. Contented.
The Sounds of “O”
In the preceding story some of the different sounds for ‘O’ have been highlighted. For example, the word open, has the long “o” sound. The short sound of “o” is heard in the word lots. Listen to the influence of the letter ‘r’ in the words hour and working. The double “oo” sound can be identified in the words good, foot, and food. The ordinary little English word do has a distinct “oo” sound. The sound of “o” in the word ostrich is the same sound as the “a” in the word car. Finally, the many variations of “O” are both interesting and challenging.
And so, take on the challenge of learning the sounds of “O”. Be a brave ostrich. Lift your head from the sand and run like the wind. Contented.
STRETCH YOUR BRAIN!
1. Trivia: Ostrich eggs can be up to 6″ in diameter and weigh close to 3 pounds. Both mother and father ostriches will sit on their eggs to keep them warm until they hatch.
2. Activity: Search around you for items that look like the letter “O” – the shape is everywhere. Name at least five items you can find right where you are. [Example: car tires]
3. Tongue Twister: “Oliver often orders one omelet. Olivia orders only one orange and Owen orders one oyster.” (Repeat 3X)