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Fun Word Family Activities to Teach Reading

There is no doubt that one of the best, most rewarding feelings for teachers is seeing your students grow into little readers. There comes a point where everything seems to “click” for them and their reading takes off! This is something to be excited about and celebrate with them. Instilling a love of reading in students is a gift that will serve them for the rest of their life. I can’t wait to share some of my favorite word family activities and strategies for teaching students to read and to love it too!

Word Family Words

One of my favorite strategies to help students develop their confidence in reading is through teaching word family words. This strategy is effective because children pick up on the repetition. They also understand the basic sounds, in turn, becoming more confident in their decoding skills.

I love using word family words because the students can focus on decoding the part of the word that changes, instead of decoding every sound. This strategy is also effective because it serves dual purpose, teaching decoding skills and rhyming skills at the same time.

Children have fun with word family words because they rhyme. Whether you use real or nonsense words, your students will enjoy coming up with rhyming words. Here are a few ideas to make teaching word families effective and enjoyable for you and your students! 

Word Family Song

A few years ago, I came up with a song to help teach word families. Singing songs is a great way to help children learn and retain information. The rhythm of songs sticks in their head and helps them remember information. The same is true for adults, too. I find myself singing songs in my head to remember certain pieces of information!

Songs are also something that your students can practice at home, in the lunch line, during class time, etc. This word family song brings a lighter feel to the more complicated task of learning to read. 

word family song

The best way to start with this song is to introduce the idea of word families. Make sure the students understand the concept and practice coming up with word family words. I like to start with the “at” word family. A great way to kick this off is by reading rhyming books that focus on the “at” words.

Your students will have no problem coming up with words for this word family! Additionally, you can have your students practice building these words using magnetic letters or the Magnetic ABC app (one of my favorite, FREE apps for Kindergarten.)

Next, teach them the word family song using the six word family words. Practice makes perfect, so sing this song during calendar time, reading time, while waiting in line, etc. Use this song each week during your word work activities to explore a new word family. Think about ways that you can work reading and word families into other subjects as well, building more connections for your students. 

Word Family Writing Activity

There are so many word family activities and centers. The more opportunities kids have to work with words, the more they will understand and retain. Mixing it up also keeps them engaged and is great for all learning styles. This DIY Word Family Can Activity is one of my favorites and is easy to make too! If you want to see how to make this activity, check out this blog post. Using the word family mat and the foam letters, students will build different word family words.

DIY word family activities

Word Family Reading Passages

The final word family idea I will share with you are these Reading Fluency Passages. The best thing about these passages is that they can be used on Seesaw or Google Classroom as part of your distance learning. Thank goodness!

The Reading Fluency Passages include short vowel and long vowel word families. Each passage focuses on a specific phonics skill to build fluent readers. On each page, your students will practice reading the words in isolation, finding the words in the story, and reading the entire passage for fluency.

This is an excellent mix of both independent and guided work and will make such a big difference when it comes to confidence and motivation in early readers. 

In this reading fluency bundle, you will have access to over 140 reading fluency passages. Click the image below to check it out in my shop.

The word family reading passages are also included as a Google Slides format so your students can use them easily during distance learning or in your technology center at school.

Want to Try Them for FREE!?

Sign up below to get 9 free fluency passages sent straight to your inbox!

Use these short vowel reading fluency worksheets to get your students practicing their literacy skills in different but repetitive ways.

Free Decodable Passages

Help your students make the leap from decoding words to reading with fluency! These fluency passages are designed to give kids successful reading practice to help students become strong readers!