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O (want) Sound with “a” Spelling Multisyllable Word List

By Rodney Everson • Updated Jun 9th, 2023

OnTrack Reading Phonics Program

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The /o/ sound has two spellings, o (hot) and a (father). This list is of multisyllable words with the a spelling. The list is organized by the chunk that the spelling occurs. It can be a valuable resource for locating words to illustrate a certain pattern or to find words to practice reading that pattern.

This list is long because the letter "a" in words like aloud, giant, garage, furnace, and distance, which are technically schwas (an "uh" sound), are treated as being the /o/ sound instead.

Of the 7,000 words in the database constructed from a popular children’s dictionary, 507 of them are multisyllable words containing the "a" spelling of the /o/ sound.

Note on the word divisions: Each word is divided into chunks determined by the unique and highly effective OnTrack Reading Multisyllable Method. The chunks are not syllables.

The OnTrack Reading curriculum doesn’t teach the schwa sound because the schwa sound can be spelled "a," "e," "i," or "o". Instead, it assigns one of the nineteen vowel sounds to that vowel position. In a word like away, which we tend to pronounce “uh-way”, students are taught to treat the word as “ah-way”, using the /o/ sound in hot. That reduces the memory load for spelling to two choices for the sound, the letter “o” or the letter “a”. From there, they soon realize that the /o/ sound at the beginning of a word is almost always spelled with an “a”.

That said, the curriculum also teaches forming a “perfect pronunciation” of a word where it makes sense. The ending "ant" in words like infant can be thought of as rhyming with the word plant. The ending "age" in words like luggage can be thought of as rhyming with the word wage. Similarly, the vowels in many other endings can be mentally assigned /a/ or /ae/ sounds for spelling purposes. When pronouncing them, however, the /o/ sound is the best choice to replace the schwa.

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Comprehensive Word Lists

Features over 100 word lists built from 7,000 words input from a children's dictionary. Lists are organized by vowel and consonant sounds and cover most common spellings. Useful in the classroom for building curriculum aids such as short stories that emphasize specific sounds and spellings. Multisyllable words are also included, chunked according to the method taught in the OnTrack Reading Advanced Code Phonics Workbook.
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