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Activities to Practice Word Families (Rhyming Patterns)

For example, words in the same family as: black

Introduce a poem or rhyming story such as Miss Mary Mack:

"Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack
all dressed in black, black, black
with silver buttons up and down her back, back, back..."

Encourage the child to point out words in a text that have similar spelling patterns.

Help the child think of other words that have this pattern.

You may have to write a few words for him or her:


and then have the child read the whole word and underline the repeated part of the word: "ack."

Using magnetic letters or scrabble pieces form a word with the "ack" pattern. Ask the student to change the first letter of the word (for example: 's' in sack) to make a new word such as: "pack." You should be sure to provide a limited number of letters (two or three at first) for the child to choose from.

Sample of game

Remember to choose a word pattern that is useful and important to the student and that relates to something that he or she has read or will read. If possible, start with a word he or she already knows in the word family. After reading a book about being sad, start with the word "cry" and then followed with "fry", "try" and "wry".

Remember to review the word families you've chosen to work on periodically through other games such as Go Fish (using word families) or Read Around.

Be sure to give the student a chance to go back to a book, poem, or other texts where he or she can apply this new reading skill. Poems, nursery rhymes and jump rope jingles are a great resource for early readers.