Welcome back to my little slice of the world. If you are new here, pull up a comfy couch, a nice blankie, and settle in.
Today I want to talk a little about word families. Word families are the cornerstone of reading instruction in primary classrooms and we spend a good deal of our time learning all about them.
Why word families?
Learning to read can be such a challenge to teach and an even bigger challenge for the littles to learn. One of the biggest challenges is getting little people to read fluently. Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with understanding. When we teach word families, we are teaching students how to see chunks in words which allows them to group sounds together instead of having to sound out individually phonemes. By doing this, students are able to read quickly and without any disruption. It is proven that strong readers are ones who can decode new words based on their knowledge of previous words. When a child can do this then they will be able to read fluently and with confidence.
WHOLE GROUP INSTRUCTION
I begin introducing word families after we learn the first 6 letters in our curriculum. We use Jolly Phonics so our first 6 letters are S, A, T, I, P, and N which allows us to teach -at, ap, and an. We learn one word family a week.
Here is a quick look at some things that I use to teach word families in my classroom. I typically introduce the new word family words at the beginning of each week. These cards are great because they pair the text with a visual. After we have learned the words, the cards can be placed in a center, pocket chart, or on the word wall for reference.
Small group activities
After learning about the words during instruction, I like to provide my littles with several different activities that allow them to manipulate and work with their newly learned words. These activities are used during independent work, in small group centers, as well as during intervention.
These building mats allow the students to practice fine motor skills as well as reinforce the word family words. For this Build It station, the littles fill the letters with cat mini erasers that I found in the Dollar Spot at Target. The cat erasers are perfect because cat is part of the -at word family.
In this center, the littles will practice reading and writing their word family words. The little people will use a spinner to spin a word. They will then use the correct colored marker to write the word.
My students love the Roll and Write center! Give them a die and they are happy campers. It’s the simple things, isn’t it?! For this center, the littles roll a die, find the number that matches on the printable, and write the word family word that is associated with the picture. This center provides a bit of a challenge and allows the littles to practice their spelling.
This center is definitely a hit! I love that it is so easy to set up and maintain. Provide a tub of snap cubes and the word family cards and you are ready to go. The littles can’t believe that actually get to “play” with blocks to build words.
These puzzles are such a simple idea. Students match the pieces to the correct space on the mat to reveal the mystery puzzle.
The word family reader can be used in a library center or during guided reading instruction. These readers also provide a great way for home to school connections. My parents are also asking me to send home books with my students and these little booklets are great. The response sheet is perfect to use to check for understanding and to hold the littles accountable.
These fluency strips are great to use during guided reading and intervention. Students can use these strips to practice reading their word family words over and over.
Sometimes, I like to send home practice sheets for my littles. These are great because they are simple and allow the students to practice without them having to spend a tremendous amount of time on homework.
You can find all these activities and centers in the Word Families in a Snap growing bundle. You can find more details here.
If you are interested in the Word Family Snap cube centers you can check out the growing bundle here.
Are you still with me?
If you have made it this far down the post you deserve a little treat.
Enjoy this word family flip book freebie.
Well, that is all I have for you today.
See ya, buttercup