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Tuesday Tried It: Weekly Word Family Ideas

I tend to talk about word families a lot on here and today I’m back with some more ideas to share with you that I added to my weekly literacy centers. Word families are an important piece to include in any primary classroom where students are developing their skills as readers. So much can be taught/practiced through the use of word families: rhyming, switching out of beginning sounds, looking for word chunks, etc.  Here are some ideas I’ve been trying out for weekly fun with word families!

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Everyone loves getting mail, right?! Well, whenever this little mailbox comes out, one of my little friends gets to check our mailbox and pull out our “mail.” I solely use this for word families, but really it can be used to add a little excitement to whatever you are introducing! Once the student pulls out the mail, she reads the word on the card and tells us what word family we are going to be using for the day.  We then make a list together on the board of words that fit in that word family and then label each word with smiley faces/silly faces to identify real vs nonsense words. My little friends get a major kick out of being able to make the silly faces on the board! 
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These letter cubes are awesome! As an extension to our mailbox introduction, I put down the two letters in our word family (-ig, for example) and then my little friends each get a turn to roll one of the other letter cubes to make a new word in our word family. They then determine if it is a real or nonsense word and again make a list on the board by separating the words into two categories. 
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My letter bean bags are another favorite in our room. I again place the letters from our word family focus next to each other while I spread the other letters out nearby. I then call out a word and have a friend find the letter that needs to be added to the beginning of our word family letters. They then read the word back to me…and then we continue this till we’ve made a whole lot of new words. 
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One other activity we do with a focus on making words/word families is on the iPad using the free app: ABC Phonics Rocks!.  There is a paid version as well, but we’ve just been using the free one which has  a few words the students can make. The app shows a picture of something and then the student has to pull up the letters to make the word. It does not allow the student to pull up an incorrect letter, so that is a nice self-checking feature built right into the app. Once all three letters are put in place the letters dance and sing– which of course, my little friends find hilarious! It definitely motivates them to spell the words correctly. There is a beginner and advanced setting where clues can be turned on or off for the student (such as, the specific word family being focused on each page). The app also includes a little letter review as well. It is a great app to use for a quick practice of making words/word families.

If you are looking for more of my word family ideas, please check out this old blog post here. Thanks to Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for hosting Tuesday Tried It!


Have a great day!


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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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