The letter O has been a part of your students' vocabulary since their preverbal days, when that vocabulary featured plenty of "oh" and "ooh." This master list of O words for kids has been designed to help them with that first step from O being a reflexive sound to part of a meaningful word. From there, they can continue the journey of lifelong literacy.
Words That Start With O For Kids
Preschool Words That Start With O
For your youngest learners, the most important thing is connecting sound with visual, written language. Preschoolers might not yet be ready to spell or read sentences, but they can benefit from learning to recognize simple words that connect to concrete objects or ideas they're exposed to on a regular basis.
Printable Worksheet: Trace-the-O Activity
As they learn to recognize letters in words, it's important for kids to be able to visualize what each letter looks like. This trace-the-letter activity is a great tool for preschoolers who are focused on learning how to recognize and write the letter O.
Kindergarten Words That Begin With O
Many O words are simple to pronounce and spell, but surprisingly tricky to define. Laying down a concrete definition of "one" or "our" can be challenging. But with that challenge comes the opportunity to learn. Engage your students with the simplest definitions of words when they're kindergarten age and you'll prepare them for deeper, more demanding letter O activities later in their lives.
- oak: a tree that grows large and makes acorns
- oar: a wooden stick flattened on one end and used as a paddle
- oatmeal: porridge made from oats
- obey: to listen to, to do what you are told
- object: a thing
- odd: of a number, not divisible by 2; Of a person, strange or unusual
- older: having existed longer than another
- once: happening one time
- open: to position something so it is not closed
- ooze: slime or soft mud
- oven: a heated box for cooking in
- over: above, on top of
- owe: to need to give something to someone
- own: to have or possess
Early Elementary: O Words for Kids
Early elementary school is where reading really starts for many students. Start with basic words that will help first and second graders develop solid reading skills and prepare to advance and get ready for more complex language. Reinforcing conversational vocabulary in written form is vital to linguistic learning.
- ocean: the largest bodies of water on Earth
- offend: to cause someone to feel hurt, resentful or angry
- offer: putting something forward, attempting to give or sell something to someone
- often: happening frequently
- oil: a slippery liquid that can burn
- oink: the sound a pig makes
- olive: a small fruit that can be eaten or pressed for oil
- onion: a tangy root vegetable used in cooking
- only: the sole example of
- orbit: a circular path around an object
- order: to tell someone to do something
- otter: a small furry animal that loves to swim
- ounce: one-sixteenth of a pound
- outside: not indoors
- oval: a rounded shape longer than it is wide
- owner: one who has a thing, the person to whom an object belongs
Art Worksheet: Exploring an O Word
Combining vocabulary with art can be very powerful, especially with younger students. For 1st and 2nd graders, making the link between written symbols and spoken/heard sounds is often best done by drawing and coloring. The printable coloring page below features things that live in one of the O words (ocean). Kids can color the images and write a few sentences about the ocean. This activity allows learners to move beyond simple memorization with an engaging O word activity.
Upper Elementary: Things That Start With O
These upper elementary O words include vivid terms that create lush images and utility words students will use in their school lessons and everyday conversations. For third, fourth and fifth graders, these wider connections make the words more engaging for curious learners.
- oasis: a body of water in a desert, often with plant life surrounding it
- oblong: an elongated square shape that is longer on one side than the other
- obstacle: something in the way
- octagon: an eight-sided shape
- officer: a person of high rank in the military or who does police work
- ominous: worrying, a bad sign
- opal: a colorful gemstone that sparkles when moved
- option: one of many choices in a situation
- oracle: someone people believe can tell the future
- ore: raw stone material that can be processed to get metal
- organ: a part of the body, usually inside
- origin: where something comes from, its source
- ornament: something that decorates an object
- overhead: above, on top of
- oxygen: eighth element, the breathable part of air
- oyster: a saltwater shelled animal that can be eaten
Pair Words With Real-World Images
Showing students examples of a lush oasis in the midst of a desert, or a short video of the colors sparkling in an opal, will help engage them in learning these words. Seek out magazines, such as old National Geographic issues, that have pictures of the subjects and pass them out so students can look for their vocabulary words on the pages. It's all about encouraging your students to connect these exercises with the beauty of the real world.
Students also need to understand how these words relate to their everyday experiences. Don't be afraid to talk about the greater context of these words alongside their spelling and definition. Your students can handle it. Making the connection between "officer" and police, or "ornament" and a Christmas tree, will set images in your students' heads to help make their lessons stick.
Building a Strong O Vocabulary
The letter O, vocalized loudly, is the sound of realization, the sudden understanding that escaped you until just that moment. These O words for kids lists are presented in that spirit. Use these lists of things that start with O to help students experience that moment of discovery. WordFinder offers an overflowing number of O words as well! Check out their list of words that start with the letter O for more options to add to your vocabulary list. You can even sort for words that include or end with the letter O, and for your desired word length as well.
Then, continue helping your students build a strong vocabulary by moving on to the next letter in the alphabet. Have fun exploring words that start with P for kids as you work with your students to master age-appropriate language arts skills.