• What Are Word Families and Why Are They Important?

        (by Deanna Mascale)

    When we consider all the elements that go into becoming a skilled reader it seems a monumental task and yet some how young children learn the many different decoding skills necessary to them and most become proficient readers within the first few years of school.

    However not all young children learn to read with ease and even those who will eventually succeed face struggles on the road to success. One easy way that parents can help smooth the path to reading success for their children is through the use of word families.

    Word families, sometimes called phonograms or chunks, can really help emergent readers begin to understand our complicated, and often inconsistent, language by providing some predictable patterns within words. As you and I learned to read, we picked up these patterns effortlessly, and they still help us when we try to decode new words. When we direct our students' attention to these same patterns, they too will be able to untangle the seemingly unrelated sounds of English.

    When learning to read, patterns are important. Children recognize word patterns and this makes it easier when sounding out words.

    For example, let us consider the "all" word family. First, show "all" to the child and have them repeat the sound. Then show the word "ball" and demonstrate how you can "read" the word by first making the "b" sound and then the "all". Repeat it slowly and then more quickly. Now continue with some other members of the "all" family such as call, fall, hall, mall, stall, tall, wall.

    Can you see how much easier this method of using "chunks" of letters is compared to sounding out one letter at a time? We break words into chunks naturally as skilled readers and teaching children this skill can help them learn to read.

    What is even better is that once children learn the 37 most common word families in English they will be able to decode 500 words. That puts emergent readers well on their way to mastering the entire decoding process. The most common word families include: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.

    Word families are indeed an efficient way to get children reading. Once children learn these one-syllable phonograms then they will more easily be able to decode longer words, too.

    Exposing your child to word families, teaching the use of these language patterns, and reinforcing the knowledge with rhyming games and activities will help your child learn to read.

    Word Families

    ack

    attack
    back
    black
    crack
    hack
    Jack
    knack
    lack
    pack
    quack
    rack
    sack
    snack
    stack
    tack
    track
    whack
    Zack

    ad

    ad
    bad
    dad
    had
    lad
    mad
    pad
    sad

    ail

    ail
    fail
    hail
    jail
    mail
    nail
    pail
    rail
    sail
    snail
    tail
    wail

    ain

    brain
    gain
    grain
    main
    pain
    plain
    rain
    slain
    Spain
    strain
    train

    ake

    bake
    brake
    cake
    fake
    flake
    lake
    make
    rake
    sake
    stake
    take
    wake

    ale

    bale
    dale
    gale
    male
    pale
    sale
    stale
    tale

    all

    ball
    call
    fall
    hall
    mall
    stall
    tall
    wall

    am

    cam
    dam
    dram
    ham
    jam
    lam
    Pam
    ram
    Sam
    slam
    tam
    wham

    ame

    came
    fame
    game
    lame
    name
    same
    shame
    tame

    an

    an
    ban
    bran
    can
    clan
    Dan
    fan
    flan
    Fran
    Jan
    pan
    ran
    span
    Stan
    tan
    van

    ank

    bank
    blank
    crank
    dank
    drank
    Hank
    plank
    prank
    rank
    sank
    tank
    thank

    ap

    cap
    clap
    flap
    gap
    lap
    map
    nap
    rap
    sap
    tap
    trap
    wrap

    ash

    ash
    bash
    cash
    dash
    flash
    gash
    hash
    lash
    mash
    rash
    sash
    slash
    stash

    at

    at
    bat
    brat
    cat
    chat
    fat
    flat
    hat
    mat
    pat
    rat
    sat
    spat
    tat
    that
    vat

    ate

    abate
    ate
    crate
    date
    fate
    grate
    hate
    late
    mate
    plate
    sate
    state

    aw

    claw
    flaw
    draw
    flaw
    gnaw
    jaw
    law
    paw
    raw
    saw
    slaw
    straw
    thaw

    ay

    away
    bray
    bay
    clay
    day
    delay
    flay
    gay
    gray
    hay
    jay
    lay
    may
    nay
    pay
    play
    pray
    ray
    say
    spray
    stay
    sway
    tray
    way

    eat

    beat
    eat
    feat
    heat
    meat
    neat
    peat
    seat
    wheat

    eel

    eel
    feel
    heel
    keel
    peel
    reel
    steel
    wheel

    eep

    beep
    creep
    deep
    jeep
    keep
    peep
    sheep
    sleep
    steep
    weep

    eet

    beet
    feet
    fleet
    greet
    meet
    sleet
    sweet

    ell

    bell
    cell
    dell
    dwell
    fell
    sell
    smell
    spell
    swell
    tell
    well

    en

    Ben
    den
    fen
    gentlemen
    hen
    men
    pen
    ten
    wren

    ent

    bent
    cent
    dent
    lent
    rent
    sent
    tent
    vent
    went

    est

    best
    jest
    nest
    pest
    quest
    rest
    test
    vest
    west

    ice

    ice
    dice
    nice
    mice
    rice
    slice

    ick

    kick
    lick
    nick
    pick
    quick
    Rick
    sick
    slick
    stick
    thick
    tick
    trick
    wick

    ide

    bride
    hide
    pride
    ride
    side
    slide
    tide
    wide

    ife

    fife
    knife
    life
    wife

    ight

    bright
    delight
    fight
    flight
    fright
    light
    might
    night
    right
    sight
    slight
    tight
    tonight

    ile

    file
    mile
    Nile
    pile
    rile
    smile
    stile
    tile
    vile
    while

    ill

    bill
    hill
    ill
    Jill
    pill
    sill
    still
    till
    will

    in

    bin
    din
    grin
    in
    kin
    pin
    shin
    spin
    thin
    tin
    win

    ine

    dine
    fine
    line
    mine
    nine
    pine
    swine
    tine
    vine

    ing

    bring
    cling
    fling
    king
    ping
    ring
    sing
    sling
    spring
    sting
    string
    swing
    thing
    wing
    zing

    ink

    blink
    brink
    ink
    link
    mink
    pink
    rink
    sink
    think
    wink

    ip

    grip
    hip
    lip
    nip
    ship
    sip
    slip
    tip
    trip
    whip

    it

    bit
    fit
    grit
    hit
    it
    kit
    lit
    pit
    quit
    sit
    spit
    twit
    wit

    oat

    boat
    coat
    float
    gloat
    goat
    oat
    throat

    ock

    block
    clock
    cock
    dock
    flock
    frock
    lock
    mock
    o'clock
    rock
    sock
    stock

    og

    bog
    cog
    clog
    dog
    fog
    frog
    hog
    jog
    log
    slog

    oil

    boil
    broil
    coil
    foil
    oil
    soil
    spoil
    toil

    oke

    awoke
    bloke
    broke
    joke
    poke
    spoke
    stroke
    woke

    oo

    boo
    goo
    moo
    shoo
    too
    zoo

    ood

    good
    hood
    stood
    wood

    oof

    goof
    proof
    roof
    spoof

    ook

    book
    brook
    cook
    crook
    hook
    look
    nook
    shook
    took

    oom

    bloom
    boom
    broom
    doom
    gloom
    loom
    room
    zoom

    ood

    brood
    food
    mood

    ool

    cool
    pool
    spool
    stool
    tool

    oon

    goon
    moon
    noon
    soon
    spoon

    oop

    droop
    hoop
    loop
    scoop
    snoop
    troop

    oot (long oo)

    boot
    hoot
    scoot
    shoot

    oot (short oo)

    foot
    soot

    op

    bop
    cop
    crop
    drop
    flop
    mop
    pop
    stop
    top

    ore

    bore
    core
    chore
    lore
    more
    ore
    pore
    sore
    store
    tore
    wore

    orn

    corn
    morn
    scorn
    thorn

    ot

    apricot
    blot
    cot
    dot
    got
    hot
    jot
    lot
    not
    plot
    pot
    rot
    shot
    spot
    tot
    trot

    ought

    bought
    brought
    fought
    ought
    sought
    thought

    ould

    could
    should
    would

    ouse

    douse
    house
    louse
    mouse
    spouse

    out

    about
    out
    lout
    pout
    shout
    spout
    stout
    tout

    ow (rhymes with cow)

    bow
    cow
    chow
    how
    now
    plow
    sow
    vow
    wow

    ow (rhymes with low)

    bow
    blow
    crow
    flow
    glow
    grow
    low
    mow
    row
    show
    slow
    snow
    sow
    stow
    throw
    tow

    own

    brown
    crown
    down
    drown
    frown
    gown
    nightgown
    town

    uck

    buck
    duck
    luck
    muck
    puck
    pluck
    stuck
    tuck
    yuck

    ug

    bug
    dug
    hug
    jug
    lug
    mug
    pug
    rug
    tug

    ump

    bump
    dump
    hump
    jump
    lump
    pump
    rump
    stump
    trump

    unk

    bunk
    flunk
    junk
    lunk
    plunk
    punk
    slunk
    sunk
    trunk

    Word families used in Nursery Rhymes:

    Bees: ay, may, hay.

    The Boy in the Barn: ay, hay, away.

    Curly Locks: ine, mine, swine.

    Five Speckled Frogs: og, frog, log; ool, cool, pool.

    Georgie Porgie: ay, play, away.

    Hey Diddle Diddle: iddle, diddle, fiddle; oon, spoon, moon.

    Hickety, Pickety, My Black Hen: en, hen, gentlemen; ay, day, lay.

    Hickory Dickory Dock: ock, dock, clock; ive, five, hive; ine, nine, fine.

    Humpty Dumpty: all, wall, fall.

    Hush A Bye Baby: all, all, fall.

    I'm a Little Teapot: out, out, spout, stout.

    Jack and Jill: ill, Jill, hill; own, down, crown.

    Jack Be Nimble: ick, quick, stick.

    Knick Knack Paddy Whack: ee, three, knee; ive, five, hive; ine, nine, shine; en, ten, hen, eleven, heaven.

    Little Bo Peep: eep, peep, sheep.

    Little Boy Blue: orn, horn, corn; eep, sheep, asleep.

    Little Jack Horner: horner, corner.

    Little Mouse: ouse, mouse, house; eal, steal, meal; out, about; un, fun, run; eep, creep, peep.

    Little Sally Walker: est, west, best.

    Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: ary, Mary, contrary; ow, row, grow; ells, shells, bells.

    Mockingbird: ing, ring, sing; brass, glass.

    Monday's Child: ace, grace, face; ing, giving, living; ay, day, gay.

    The Northwind Doth Blow: ow, blow, snow; ing, wing, thing.

    Old Mother Hubbard: ead, bread, dead; at, cat, hat; ig, wig, jig; oat, coat, goat.

    One, Two, Buckle my Shoe: en, ten, hen; twelve, delve.

    One, Two, Three, Four, Five: ive, alive, five.

    Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-eater: ell, shelll, well.

    Rain, Rain: ay, away, day.

    Rub-a-Dub-Dub: ub, dub, tub; ee, be, three.

    See-Saw Marjorie Daw: aw, Daw, saw, straw.

    Sing a Song of Sixpence: ing, king, sing; oney, money, honey.

    Star Light, Star Bright : ight, light, bright, night.

    Ten Little Monkeys: ed, bed, head.

    There was a Crooked Man: ile, mile, stile; ouse, mouse, house.

    There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly: at, cat, that; og, hog, dog; ow, cow, how.

    Three Blind Mice: ife, wife, knife.

    Three Little Kittens: en, kitten, mitten; ear, dear, fear.

    To Market: ig, pig, jig; og, hog, jog.

    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: eat, eat, beat.

    Tommy Tittlemouse: ouse, Tittlemouse, house.

    Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee: attle, battle, rattle.

    Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,: orn, corn, thorn; ock, lock, flock; est, west, nest.

    Wee Willie Winkie: own, town, nightgown; ock, lock, o'clock.

    What Are Little Girls Made Of? What Are Little Boys Made Of?: ice, spice, nice; ails, snails, tails.

    Yankee Doodle: andy, dandy, handy; ing, Gooding, pudding.

     
     
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