Deeper Dive: two
Using Numerals to Teach Words
The number words ONE, TWO, FOUR, and EIGHT have unusual spelling-sound mappings. Instead of memorizing them, you can take advantage of the fact that your students already know the numbers 1-10.

They can recognize the numerals and they know the words for them. The numerals provide strong contexts for the words.

If they see the numeral 2 with the word TWO, it’s clear that the word is pronounced “too”. If the numeral is 4 and the word is FOUR, it’s clear that the pronunciation is "for".

You can do the same thing for other number words as well.
Word Story Text
There are 3 “too” words:
to t-o as in to the park
too t-o-o as in me too
two t-w-o as in two hats [plural]
These are different words, with different spellings and different meanings. They happen to be pronounced the same. They are homophones. Teachers often teach them together, using worksheets and other activities. Here are some other things to consider as well.

Be sure to check out the deep dive link for more.

Readers need to learn how to pronounce these words from their spellings, but that is not enough. Reading the word aloud produce a sound pattern that could be any of three different words.

Readers also need to know the spelling and meaning of each word and how the words are used in sentences.

FIrst let’s think about reading these words aloud.

TO T-O and DO are friends. You want to keep them away from GO SO and NO, which are false friends.

Treat TO and DO as one group; GO SO and NO as another.

TOO T-O-O has a lot of friends, such as BOO ZOO GOO and MOO. This is a consistent pattern that can be taught. all of the consonant O-O words rhyme; there aren’t any false friends

TWO T-W-O is an oddball. It doesn’t have either friends or false friends. It’s a loner. It can be taught using the number 2. the student can recognize the number 2 and knows that it is pronounced “too”. So, the numeral is a very strong context for learning the spelling TWO and its pronunciation. You could teach 2 along with other number words, 1 is pronounced “won” and spelled ONE, 2 is pronounced “too” spelled TWO, and so on for other numbers.

Most teachers use worksheets that give children practice filling in the words in sentence contexts. This requires knowing the spelling, sound, and meaning of each of “too” word.

Having children write the correctly spelled words is a good thing to do, especially if you couple it with practice in reading the words aloud.

Homophones like the “too” words are good reminder that the goal is for students to understand the connections between the spelling, sound, and meaning of every word. They have to be bound together like a package tied up with string. You need all three of them to be able read and write words correctly and with understanding.
to do something
to speak
to read and write

go to school
walk to the store

too much stuff
too loud, big, heavy

bring some money, too.
I like you, too.

two book
two of them

too boo goo moo shoo zoo


two to do, too!

to go, to the park

too many, too far.

two things
More Rhymes










two (too͞), adjective [OE. two, twa, properly fem. & neut., twei, twein, tweien, properly masc. (whence E. twain), AS. twā, fem. & neut., twēgen, masc., tū, neut.; akin to OFries. twēne, masc., twā, fem. & neut., OS. twēne, masc., twā, fem., twē, neut., D. twee, OHG. zwēne, zwō, zwei, G. zwei, Icel. tveir, tvær, tvau, Sw. två, Dan. to, Goth. twai, twōs, twa; Lith. du, Russ. dva, Ir. & Gael. da, W. dau, dwy, L. duo, Gr. δύο, Skr. dva. √300. Cf. Balance, Barouche, Between, Bi-, Combine, Deuce two in cards, Double, Doubt, Dozen, Dual, Duet, Dyad, Twain, Twelve, Twenty, Twice, Twilight, Twig, Twine, noun, Twist.] One and one; twice one.
“Two great lights.” Gen. i. 16.

“Two black clouds.” Milton.
One or two
a phrase often used indefinitely for a small number.
Two noun

1. The sum of one and one; the number next greater than one, and next less than three; two units or objects.

2. A symbol representing two units, as 2, II., or ii.

In two
asunder; into two parts; in halves; in twain; as, cut in two.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

morpheme phoneme statistics idioms