Word Families

Rhyming is an important literacy skill. Children become familiar with rhymes through songs and rhyming books. As students begin to match, generate, and produce rhymes, they are able to focus more on the sounds within words.

While most students develop the ability to rhyme through games, songs, and books, some students struggle with rhyming. Approaching rhymes through word families can be beneficial for those students. Whether you use a commercial product or just write a word family list on the board, you can reinforces the skill of rhyming. Have your students read or decode each word individually, then read through the entire list quickly. Help students notice not only that the middle and end sounds are the same, but also that the letters for those sounds are the same.




Word family work not only helps students improve their ability to recognize rhymes, it also helps them become better readers. Sounding out each word provides decoding practice. Furthermore, when students recognize the pattern of a phonogram, the number of words they can read increases significantly.


Word families are a simple way to reinforce rhyming and practice decoding. Pick a different word family every day and have some reading fun!