Word families are groups of words that have a similar pattern making them appear to be related or part of a "family." For those covered in the ABCJesusLovesMe Complete 5 Year Curriculum the words have the same ending and thus rhyme. Grouping these rhyming words allows children to quickly read words in the pattern.

Getting Started on Word Families

Begin with one-syllable, CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words containing the short "a" sound.  The word family -at is favorite to teach first.  Familiar words in this family are cat, hat, mat, bat, sat, etc.  

Once children can put together the vowel and final consonant sounds, they are ready to change the first letter of the word to make new words.

Continue through short "a" families.  Then move to short "e", "i", "o", and end in short "u".

In 1st grade, students will be learning long vowel word families.  


Teaching Word Families

Using the How to Teach method, discover how to introduce, practice, and identify learning in this process.  

Introducing Word Families

1.  Introduce a single-syllable Word Family
Tell the child the word family (e.g. -at).  Have the child repeat the "chunk."  

2.  Create a Word Family Chart
Brainstorm real words that end with that sound (e.g. sat, cat, hat).  Write these words on a poster with the title "-at Word Family."  Write the "chunk" in the same color each time.  Change the initial consonant color when writing.  Discuss what the word means.   If the child provides a nonsense word (e.g. dat, lat, wat), have fun with the silly word.

If needed, give the child a clue like, "I'm thinking a word that begins with /b/ and end in "at."  Or, "I'm thinking of something that starts with /b/ and you use it to hit a ball."

Practicing Word Families

Begin by reviewing the Word Family. Discuss words that belong in the Word Family.  Remember that children learn through repetition.

Because the Complete 5 Year Curriculum focuses on prereading, the focus of Word Families is spent on hearing and creating, not spelling, reading, and writing.


Identify Word Families Learning

You can identify that learning has occurred when the child can easily add both real and nonsense words to a Word Family.


Problems with Learning Word Families

This activity can only be complete when a child's development is ready.  Rhyming, changing the initial sound of a word, and blending sounds can not be forced.  If the child is unable to easily complete this learning, stop and return to talking about rhyming words.  With time, the development will kick in to allow the child to be successful.  But as always, if you have concerns, please talk to a professional.


Word Family Books

The Cat in the Hat

Green Eggs and Ham

Hop on Pop

Fox in Socks

Sheep in a Jeep

There's a Wocket in My Pocket!