Oi digraph examples, word lists, free worksheets and games for phonics teaching.
Popular phonics programmes such as Jolly Phonics and Letters and sounds use the symbol /oi/ for the phoneme most often represented by this digraph and the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol for this sound is ɔɪ.
Some educators and linguists describe the ɔɪ phoneme as a diphthong; however, this term is rarely used in schools in the UK.
The Sounds American video below explains how to pronounce this sound in a variety of words:
Another digraph, ‘oy’, can represent the same sound in words such as boy, toy, enjoy and royal.
The ‘aw’ digraph also represents the ɔɪ phoneme in the word ‘Lawyer’, but this is a rare exception and we aren’t aware of any other common words that use this letter-sound correspondence.
In a few words borrowed from French, the oi digraph can stand for alternative sounds. Examples include coiffure, croissant and toilette. The letter pair doesn’t act as a true digraph in these words because it stands for more than one sound.
In most of these words, the initial phoneme is the common sound associated with the letter w and the second sound can be either /ar/ (ɑ:) as in arm, /a/ (æ) as in at, or /o/ (ɒ) as in top. The exact pronunciation depends on the individual word and regional accents.
There are a number of other words where the oi letter combination doesn’t act as a digraph. For example, it can represent 2 separate sounds at the boundary between syllables in words such as ‘coincide’, ‘doing’ and ‘stoic’.
Most teachers wait until children can recognise individual letters and say the sounds they represent accurately and fluently before introducing digraphs.
The oi digraph is taught in phase 3 of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme which is broadly followed in many schools in England. This phase starts in the second half of the first term in reception when children are aged between 4 and 5 years old.
Introduce the digraph by showing children how to decode and blend some simple examples of words from the word list below and then get them to read some words for you.
In addition to practising reading the words, children should also practise spelling them.
If children have trouble doing this, show them how to make the words with alphabet cards. Say the sounds as you put the cards down then shuffle the cards and ask them to make up the word again.
When you are demonstrating spelling these words with alphabet cards, put the two digraph letters down at the same time as you say the sound just once.
Once children can read and spell common words with this digraph, you could point out that there are a few words where ‘oi’ doesn’t act as a digraph. Perhaps show them a handful of examples such as ‘doing’ and ‘going’ but stick to words they are likely to encounter in children’s books.
You can also use some online resources to provide variety when you are teaching digraphs. For example, Reading Bear has several presentations that include ‘oi words’ in the orange section.
The Little Learner’s video below is useful to show children how to sound out and blend some simple words containing this digraph…
And the video below should also appeal to young children as the popular Mr Thorne teaches Geraldine the giraffe about words with the oi digraph:
We’ve split the lists into different sound categories in alphabetical order to help you locate words you might want to use with your students.
Initially, it can help to use words that students are familiar with, but as they get more proficient, it’s good to introduce some new words to expand their vocabulary and refine their decoding skills.
Click on the following link or the image below to download a free printable pdf version of this word list.
One-syllable words with regular spelling patterns and no other digraphs:
Boil, broil, coil, coin, droid, foil, foist, groin, hoist, join, joint, joist, koi, loin, moist, oi, oik, oil, oink, point, roil, soil, spoil, toil, void .
One-syllable words with other digraphs or some irregular spelling patterns:
Boing, choice, hoick, quoits, noise, poise, voice.
Two or more syllable words – may contain other digraphs:
Adjoin, adroit, anoint, avoid, cuboid, devoid, disappoint, foible, hoisin, hyoid, loiter, noisy, ointment, poison, purloin, recoil, sirloin, tinfoil, toilet.
French words with alternative sounds for the oi letter combination:
Choir, coiffure, croissant, memoir, moi, noir, soirée, toilette, voilà.
Other words where oi doesn’t act as a digraph:
Coincide, doing, echoing, going, heroic, heroine, soloist, stoic.
Pseudo-words containing the oi Digraph:
Akoid, Boik, Doi, Doit, Foi, Foig, Goi, Goip, Moil, Poi, Poif, Sloid, Zoi, Zoit.
Pseudo-words are sometimes described as non-words or nonsense words and they’re used in some phonics programmes and in the UK Phonics Screening Check.
These words are designed to assess whether children are capable of decoding words that are unfamiliar to them.
Normally, a pseudo-word will be presented next to an image of a monster or an alien, and the child is told that the word represents the creature’s name. The examples below are from the 2017 phonics screening check.
You could use some of the pseudo-words in our list as practice words for a screening check or as part of a less formal assessment of a child’s decoding ability.
Some of the words in the list might have a real meaning in some regions, groups, or sub-cultures, but they will be unfamiliar to most children so can be used alongside genuine pseudo-words.
We’ve created the following worksheets that you to download for free. Click on the headings or the images below to access these resources.
Children need to decide which pictures represent words that contain the oi digraph. They can also try to spell the words. We’ve also created a PowerPoint version of this resource if you want to display it to a class.
Each of the sentences on the worksheet has a word missing that contains the ‘oi’ digraph. Children need to fill in the missing word to complete each sentence. We’ve also created a PowerPoint version of this resource if you want to display it to a class.
Circle or write in the digraph that gives the correct spelling for each picture.
We’ve also created a PowerPoint version of this resource if you want to display it to a class.
The spellzone website has some free games using words containing the oi digraph. They also have a variety of other games that require you to sign up and pay a subscription, but they do offer a free trial.
Click on the following link for the spellzone games:
The SplashLearn website also has some activities for practising blending and spelling oi words. You have to sign up to access all the activities but it’s free to try it.