10 Days of How to Teach Your Child to Read

10 Days of How to Teach Your Child to Read

Teaching Reading with Word Families

One of the things I like to do for reading is to work with word families. Word family exercises built around a phonics rule can help a child practice both a phonics approach and recognizing phonemes and words by sight. Using word families reinforces the patterns in the reading. Patterns make it easy for the kids to make and remember connections.

Using Word Families for Phonics

Most of the phonemes can be divided into groups that follow the same guideline. For example, when you find a word that is consonant-vowel-consonant, the vowel usually makes a short sound. Teaching the rule and then practicing with sets of words families that follow that rule will reinforce it. I like to start with the short vowel sounds, and I don’t know why but I usually start with a short ‘a.’ So we’ll practice/learn -at words, and then -an words, -ad words and so on. As simpler words are mastered, longer and more challenging words are added.

Using Word Families for Sight Recognition

When we work with word families, I will emphasize the common building block a lot. After sounding out a piece like ‘at’ or ‘an,’ I will encourage the kids to remember it as a whole piece and when they see it, to say the whole piece instead of sounding out each letter. Now the sounding out of the words moves from “c-a-t” and “m-a-t” to “c-at” and “m-at.” Recognizing that building block enables them to focus on the new sound being added to the beginning and works on sight recognition. To help, when we first learn a set of word families, I will teach the common building block and we will underline that piece on all the words in the word family. The kids have the visual reminder to read that piece as a whole instead of individuals. This gives the kids the ability to sound and remember a good number of words fairly quickly because they all share the same rule and they all share the same building block (sound) at the end.

Using Word Families for Rhymes and Poetry

Word family lessons is a good opportunity to stop and play with rhymes and poetry. All the words in the family rhyme! If your child has had trouble with rhymes, using the word family to demonstrate can help. If your child HAS a good grasp on rhymes and loves to play with them, this may actually help with the sounding and reading of the new words in the family. For fun (and reinforcement!) play rhyme games with word families that have already been learned and practiced. Pick a word and let your child list all the rhyming words he can. Ask him to spell some rhyming words out loud. Ask him to write them all down on a picture (a tree with “tree” on the trunk and leaves for him to write rhyming words on.) Make a poem together using only words in one or two word families for they rhymes. Have fun with it.

Word families are an easy to way to help kids get a grasp on reading and rhyming. I enjoy how using word families teaches so many concepts at the same time. The kids also gain a lot of confidence while practicing with word families and that is probably my favorite part! There are a lot of resources on the internet for practicing word families, too.

Further reading: Phonics Printables at Kidzone, Word Family Worksheets at Have fun Teaching, Word Family Printables at A to Z Teacher Stuff.

Just joining in? Start at the beginning. (It’s a very good place to start.)

Word families can be used in all kinds of ways! What other fun things can you think of?

This series is a part of a blog hop called “The Hopscotch” through iHomeschool Network (previously known as “the ten days of” series.) HOP on over and hopscotch through all the other 10 Days series. While you’re there, check out the Pin it to Win It contest featuring a giveaway of products from Prufrock Press.

If you’d like to read more posts related to reading, then you may want to check out Marianne’s Homeschooling with Dyslexia, Mary’s 10 Days of Reading Aloud, or Becky’s Teaching Spelling Through Word Study!

Image Source: Young Reader by Francisco Farias Jr

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Written by


Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!