SOS in Orton-Gillingham terms stands for Simultaneous Oral Spelling. I explain to kids, it’s a fancy way of saying that you’re spelling the word out loud as you write it.
There are typically no more than 10 SOS words in a lesson. The first 5 are usually embedded with the concept that you’ve taught that day, and the other 5 have review concepts. The words don’t have to be connected to each other, but they must be encodable. In other words, there can be no sight words in this list.
In SOS, the teacher states the word and the student repeats it. The teacher can give the student the word in a sentence if needed, especially if it’s a homophone. In this case, the word will be “pail”.
1. The student then sound-taps the word on his fingers: /p/ /a_e/ /l/. Notice this is three phonemes (sounds), even though we know the word is spelled with four letters.
2. He repeats the sequence, this time spelling the letters that correspond to each sound. That means he will still only tap his fingers three times. “P, AI, L.”
3. He then repeats that sequence one more time, writing the letters with one hand, and tapping on his fingers with the other.
4. Note that error corrections should happen during Step #2. I have had students who have a hard time realizing errors if they cannot see them. In this case, it is fine to have the student write the word and then decode it. Usually most students catch their errors here, because if they are decoding a misspelled word correctly, they will see they’ve made a mistake.