Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaching Word Families

Tonight's post is about how I teach word families in my classroom.  Skilled readers recognize patterns in words rather than sound words out letter by letter. Readers can use word families to decode words by using what they know about one word to decode another. Recognizing word families helps students become more skilled at decoding so that they will eventually be able to decode longer words. 

There are 37 most common word families in the English Language and I teach all of them throughout the year.  Each week, I introduce one, two, or three families, depending on spelling patterns.  For example, if we are learning about the double l, we'll learn -ill, -ell, and -all together. To start the week, I introduce the family with the poster and possibly a Youtube Video or Between the Lions clip {if there's one available} and we brainstorm a list of words together.  I write them on chart paper and the kids write them on their organizers/list papers.  We practice saying the words aloud in sentences and re-read the words several times.  I try to keep the chart paper up during our week of study but space is limited, so I created mini-word cards that I keep out in a pocket chart from the Target $1.00 Spot.  They serve as a great reference for activities during the week!  I also let the kids come up and use them, like I do with my word wall.  

Next, we'll read our weekly word family poem. I get my poems from this book.  It's great! 

As the week progresses, we re-read our poem daily, play a game or two, and do an activity such as rainbow writing, abc order, or a mini-book of words with sentences.  On Friday, we take a Spelling test over our words.

If you'd like to check out the posters, mini-books, vocab cards, and more, take a look at my "Word Families" pack.  It's a 305-page set that includes activities for 37 of the most common word families in the English Language. It's a phenomenal resource! 

I want to give a shout-out to my pal, Susanna from Whimsy Workshop Teaching!  She is so creative and great at making clip art!  Check her out!



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