Word families are groups of words that have a common spelling pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. Words like cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound. Children progress as better readers when they can identify chunks in words like word families (e.g. Words ending with -at, -in) In teaching word families, children learn how to blend sounds (like c-at, b-in). It helps them to decode words faster, improving their word recognition skills as well as spelling skills. Reading books with lots of rhymes like Dr Seuss also helps develop their phonological awareness.
For emergent readers, after they have mastered the phonics sounds, they can proceed to learn word families or words that rhyme. Some word families you can start with are -at, -in, -ig, -an, -ing, -ot. Helping my active learner master the word families is a major milestone in her language acquisition process. To make the learning fun and enjoyable, this simple Lego game requires little preparation and money! It is also a good idea to recycle some of the Duplo Lego bricks that your 4/5 year-old has outgrown!
Simply write out some word family words on sticker labels and group them according to colour.
Then lay them out on a tray, and invite your learner to listen to each word you read.
Model the blending for your child. Example: “/C//A//T/”
Find words that rhyme. Stack them up accordingly.
This simple activity requires listening skills, and builds phonemic awareness/ strengthen their grasp of the sound structures in words families.
Seeing the patterns in the spelling will further prepare them for spelling skills in future.
Given my preschooler who is always brewing up imaginative ideas. she imagined the Lego characters to be having a competition, and she positioned each character who came in first, second and third in a race! Guess who is the winner? :)
For more word families activities, check out the following ideas we had!
Using Scrabble Chips to teach word families!
Word families Game using paper rolls and balls!
Wooden Blocks Word families- Onset and Rimes
10 activities on teaching word families