How do you Word Family?

Hey All!

Today I thought I'd chat a little bit about word families.  I really enjoy teaching word families and I am a firm believer that teaching these patterns within words can help emergent readers tremendously!  Now I know some people refer to them as word chunks, but I've always used the term family because I think it helps connect the ideas for little learners and I just like how it easily ties into activities such as word family houses.  Either way the concept is the same:  to teach students how to recognize patterns within words.

So how do I do this?  First off here's the progression of how I teach word families:
1. Introduce one word family at a time.
2. Compare word families with the same vowel sound.
3. Compare rimes with different short vowels.
This is the suggested progression of teaching found in Francine Johnston's The Timing and Teaching of Word Families.  This is a great resource if you're looking for some reading.

Ok, so when teaching about a word family for the first time I start of by simply introducing the word family.  To do this I create a house chart with the word family listed at the top on the roof.  On the body of the house I list the rime 5 to 6 more times.  The rime is listed several times because this is where we will build the words by onset and rime. I find it easiest to tape it up to a white board and then place the letters that we will use to build words along the side. I learned this idea from my supervisor teacher back when I was student teaching. 

After introducing the word family it's time to make words that are in this family.  To do this I pull names and invite students up to the board to pick a letter.  After a student picks a letter we first name the letter and say the letter sound.  Then the student places the letter on the chart next to the word family.  At this point we blend the onset and rime 2 times, sometimes more.  We stop and discuss word meaning and act out the word.  Then the student removes the magnetic letter and writes in the letter with a marker.  While the student is doing this we all say the letter formation chant and air write the letter.  This process continues until we have made all 5 or 6 words.

After making all the word family words we are ready to read and sing.  To start we read through all the words in list fashion. We do this by blending the onset and rime and then saying the word.
Example: "c-at... cat"  "m-at..mat" Next we sing our word family song.

Graphics from Whimsy Workshop teaching @

We sing the song 2-3 times, each time reading through the list of word family words. To help keep students engaged I swap out the word "read" with things like stomp, sing, clap, cheer etc.

This activity takes us about 10 minutes to complete and is always great fun!  Follow up activities/mini-lessons consist of sorting words that either are or are not in this word family, adding words to our list, feeding the word family monster, word family books and more!

Here is a little word family book that I created that'd be perfect for word work centers, homework, or as a follow up lesson.  It is no prep!  Just pick, print, and go!  For this activity students have to look at the picture and say the word family word aloud, write the full word, and then color.  I also left one spot blank for them to draw their own picture because I like to see what they know on their own.  I always hang our word family house chart so they have a reference in class as well.

If you like these little books click the photo to check them out in my TpT store :)

So how do you word family?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Home About Shop Freebies Contact Me Image Map Pinterest Facebook TPT Bloglovin' Instagram