From the archive...
A customer sent us the following question:
Can you please tell me all of the phonograms and spelling rules that apply to saying and spelling the word "broad"?
The word "broad" is a true exception, the only base word we know of where OA makes the short /ŏ/ sound. This phonogram is very consistent in saying /ō/ otherwise.
So the phonograms you need are b, r, oa (you'll be marking it X because it's not saying its normal sound), d. You don't need any rules.
Since it contains an exception, you would dictate it like this:
Our next word is broad. "The duck has a broad, flat bill." How many syllables?
This word has an unusual spelling, so watch me carefully. Sound it out...
/b - r - ŏ -- (you interject with the cue:) Use two-letter /ō/ that may NOT be used at the end of English words -- d/.
[Have students sound it out and write it, then sound it out to help you write it, as usual. If needed, give a second reminder: 'What will you use to write the /ŏ/?' ...'Two-letter /ō/...']
Then, when marking it, make sure to discuss:
What sound does this phonogram usually say?
This word is an exception. It is the only known base word in English where two-letter /ō/ says /ŏ/. We will write an X over it to remind ourselves that it is an exception.
It can be really helpful when you are working with one of the 2% of words that don't follow the rules to let students know how rare an exception it is and whether they need to look for this happening elsewhere.