Kindergartners need to recognize word families, and I have the activity to get them started. Simply put, word families are a group of words with the same ending. You don’t need a reading certificate to practice word families with your five and six-year-olds.
I am here to help you understand Kindergarten word families so that you will see just how simple, familiar letter patterns can be! Be warned. – You will never see words the same. 😉
RELATED: Want an entire list of Kindergarten activities? Me too! That is why I created this list of 30+ Hands-On Kindergarten Activities.
Supplies that You Need to Teach Kindergarten Word Families
- Lacing Alphabet – This is a set of capital letters perfect for any word activity! Your kindergartner can use them individually or thread them through the lace. Tip: using the lace is great for practicing fine motor skills!
- Lowercase Lacing Letters – It’s essential to teach our kids about upper and lower letters. These lowercase alphabet letters are a perfect addition to this word family activity!
- Marker – I like using a marker pen to write word families onto pieces of paper.
- Paper – Mark out the word family on pieces of paper to start the activity.
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RELATED: Supplies don’t have to be complicated! Search our supply list here and see what we keep on hand.
How to Set Up Kindergarten Word Family Activity!
Step 1. Choose a word family for your kindergartner
Start off by picking a word family to focus on. A good idea is to try one your child needs a little practice on! I talked with my Kindergartner about the -at family. We talked about different words that rhyme with the word cat. I’ve listed some word families below:
Step 2. Place alphabet letters from A-Z in front of your child
Word families require a great alphabet set! I use lacing letters and have them linked in our ABC Manipulatives post. They’re also in the supply section below. I used these in my teaching days, and we carried on the tradition at home. They are small, so be cautious around younger children.
Step 3. Add the word family to a card
I wrote the word family -at on pieces of card to kick of the activity. If the word was one we use, my little boy placed the letter in the bowl. If the word did not make sense after sounding it out, he put it in the nonsense bowl.
Why is it Important to Teach Word Families?
Word families are a great way to begin seeing and hearing letter patterns in words. The more we practice word families, the stronger reader our Kindergartner will become. After children learn the letter sounds, they start to put the sounds together to make words.
Word families help kindergartners:
- Blend three-letter sounds (phonemes) to make a word – This is an important practice when learning to read kindergarten word families.
- Familiarize themselves with letter patterns within words – As your Kindergartner begins to practice and recognize these familiar letter combinations, they will also start to read more words in one sitting. The letter combinations will look and sound familiar! This important skill will go hand and hand when your Kindergartner is writing.
- Identify which letters come together to make a word we use – We learn to read and write by breaking down words and understanding how they are put together.
- Identify which letters come together to form a nonsense word – Kids need to understand what works and what doesn’t, otherwise nothing makes sense!
- Rhyming patterns within a group of words – This makes it so much easier for a kindergarten who’s learning to read because they see words as patterns rather than separate.
- See that most CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words have a short vowel sound – They learn a rule without even realizing it! That’s the importance of play.
- Understand CVC words have a long vowel sound – Practicing long vowels and short vowels are what children need to develop.
Check out these Everyday Steps to Reading and Writing.
Which Word Family Do You Teach First?
Many educators would agree that the -at family is the first-word family introduced. You can find this activity, plus 19 more ideas on our new BIG KID activity cards!
Below is a chart that lists the most popular word families to continue practicing at home.
Play this word family activity listed here, and make a list to keep up at home to best teach kindergarten word families. Remember to make the chart eye-level for your kindergartner to refer back to it. Try working on ONE-word family a week.
Now your Kindergartner is ready to play this word family activity! When will you get started?
Need help with word families? No problem! Download your word families chart here.
RELATED: Are you now homeschooling? This startup post on HOMESCHOOLING MULTIPLE AGES will help!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Word families are decodable words that children can sound out. Word families typically follow the CVC rule. Word families are some of the first words a child learns to read.
Begin with the at family. Model changing the beginning sound from cat to bat. Now change the b to an m and sound out the word mat. As the child becomes more familiar with manipulating the beginning sound, try another word family such as -an, -am, -op, and -ot.
Kindergartners typically learn word families as they begin to put sounds together to form words.