word family anchor chart teacherkarma.com
I got my start teaching in first grade, so I definitely understand the importance of teaching word families.

Teaching students how to actively use word family knowledge is a reading strategy that will help students to read unknown words.  

…one that every student needs to have in their reading tool chest. 

Through modeling, guided instruction, and independent practice, your students will be able to identify word families and apply that understanding to read unfamiliar words.

Below are 7 simple steps for teaching word families in the classroom:

1.  Start with one syllable words that can be broken down by the onset and rime.

Onset:  consonant or consonant cluster found at the beginning of a word

Rime: usually a vowel and a consonant that is found at the end of the word

Example:  clap:  cl (onset) /ap (rime)

2.  When you first teach word families, begin with one word family at a time.  If you teach kindergarten or first grade, you may want to introduce a new word family each week.  More advanced students will benefit from a mix of word families.

3.  Because you are teaching your students to see patterns in words and make analogies, you will want to draw this to their attention. Decide which word family you will begin with.  I usually begin with -at. Use a picture book that models words with -at. Before reading, explain to students that you will be looking for words with the word family -at.

4.  Use an anchor chart and write the word family at the top, I am going to use -at as an example.  As you are reading, stop and model for students that you notice a word is in the -at word family.  Write the word on the anchor chart.  Stop, discuss, and write down any other -at words while reading.

5.  After reading the picture book, use a white board and write the -at word from the book… “flat”. Explain to students that the word flat is in the -at word family.  Model for them how easy it is to change the first letter to make new words.  Place a good amount of emphasis on the sounds the letters make.


6.  Go back to the word family anchor chart.  Have students engage and give you examples of other words that fit into that word family. Have students write the words on the anchor chart.  

word families TeacherKARMA.com

7.  After you have introduced at least one word family from each vowel, you will want to start having students practice them together.  FREEBIE for YOU.

how to teach word families
My word family FREEBIE:  Shake-a-Word Mini Download includes the following:
  • Common Word Family Chart
  • Shake-a-Word printable 
  • Is it a Real WORD? printable / anchor chart

teaching word families TeacherKARMA.com

Students need to have fun and play with words!

If the word family freebie is a good fit for your classroom, click here or on the graphic above to access the full-product download.

Best wishes!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *