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Word Families

Word Families are a group of words that have a common group of letters with the same sound. Playing with word families help build phonemic awareness and decoding skills for reading. 

Start by offering a key word - such as "bat". Ask student to think of words that rhyme and create a list. Look for spelling patterns as you create or ask students to spell each word. (You can expand the list to include 2 & 3 syllable words.) If students generate a rhyming word that is spelled differently, place it in a separate list titled "Good Words". Once you have a good list of words in the family, play with the words. Include these words in center activities, writing assignments, etc.

Here are some activity ideas from the Sharing Center that teach word families. And... LessonPix makes it easy to recreate all of the activities with different word families.  

  -ab -ad -ail -all -an
  -am -ap -at -in -ill
  -it -ob -og -op -ot



-ab Family

-ab: cab, crab, dab, fab, gab, jab, lab, nab, grab, tab 

Use the Picture and Word Card template to make word wall words, find in storybooks, or flashcards. 


Sort picture cards of -ap and -ab words on a sorting mat


Here are additional -ab activities: 



-ad Family

-ad: ad, bad, dad, had, fad, lad, mad, pad, tad, rad, sad

The Word Writing template provides space for young students to practice writing words under the picture. 

Graphing die rolls: Set a timer for 5 minutes. Roll a dice that contains -ad family pictures. Using a graphing page, color a space above the picture selected by the die. Look to see which word had the most number of rolls after the timer ends.


Game board with words that end in -ab and -ad, as well as other materials to teach -ad Word Family words. 



-ail Family

-ail: bail, sail, hail, mail, tail, hail, fail, jail, nail, rail, snail, trail, quail, pail

Play I Have Who Has using -ail family words. Cut out the strips and give one to each student. Ask one student to read his strip. The rest of the class listens to see if they ask about their picture. (who has mail). That student then reads their strip. read until everyone has had a turn and it goes back to the first person. 

Play Bingo with -ail words. 

More -ail word family activities



-all Family

-all: all, ball, call, fall, hall, mall, tall, wall

Checklists are a type of picture schedule that allows students to mark completed items. In this activity, students can look around the room for corresponding picture cards and check off the picture. 


Tell a story using as many -all words as you can with this drawing page

More -all word activities


-an Family

-an: ban, can, fan, man, ran, van, tan, pan, scan, plan, woman, organ, smowman, pelican, veteran, musician, superman

Use the Playing Cards Template to play Uno or Go Fish. By repetitive hearing and saying these words, students can begin to understand the patterns of phonemes in words.  

The Dial template covers the pictures with a window to show only one picture at a time. Use this to show the -an word and see if students can figure out the word. 

Here are more -an family activities. 


-am Family

-am: am, dam, jam, ham, pam, ram, yam, clam, slam, tram, exam, bam

Play "Dots and Boxes" while practicing reading some favorite -at family words. Take turns connecting 2 dots. Mark or color when you close the 4th side of a box. Person with the most boxes closed wins. 

Use the bingo dauber pages to mark which words are in the -am word family. 

More -am word family activities: 



-ap Family

-ap: cap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, tap, trap, clap, flap, wrap, snap, slap, strap

Use the Four Connect Template and Bingo Markers. Take turns to try and get 4 in a row as you say each -ap word. 

Sorting Mats. Students can sort picture cards of items that rhyme with -ap and -ab on a sorting mat


Here are more activities to teach the -ap family. 



-at Family

-at: hat, cat, pat, bat, rat, mat, that, sat, fat, gnat, scat, flat, chat, splat, vat

Fill in the blank with Picture and Word Cards

Introduce rhyming -at words using a visual dial

Check out these 3 letter -at family Beginning Middle and End Material. You can... build the pictures as a puzzle,make a flap folder by lifting each flap as you say each sound, or give students a slice and have them find 2 other people with the same picture and stand in order.

Here are more -at word family activities




-in Family

-in: in, win, bin, fin, skin, chin, kin, tin, spin, pin, raisin, napkin, pumpkin, violin, moccasin, thin

Use the "Find the Match" Template to create a quick matching game to check reading adn comprehension of -in Word Family. 

Make Task Cards to pin on a child as a note for parents and families that says, "Ask Me What Rhymes with..."

Here are more activities to teach the -in Word Family. 



-ill Family

-ill: ill, bill, fill, sill, hill, kill, mill, pill, till, grill, spill, thrill, until, treadmill, quill, drill, downhill

Play a custom-made games of dominoes with -ill word family words. 

Use these Picture and Word Cards for a word wall or on a word family chart.

Here are more -ill Word Family activities. 



-it Family

-it: it, bit, fit, hit, sit, kit, lit, nit, pit, quit, wit, limit, spit, ribbit, exit, knit, zit

Use picture cards of various -it words. Hang or hide around the classroom. Students can locate -it words and place on a chart paper. See how many words they can read independently!

Match the word to the picture using Puzzle Cards


More -it activities



-ob Family

-ob: cob, bob, lob, mob, knob, sob, rob, throb

Use the Dice Rolling Grid template to create real or silly words in a word family. Just roll a die. Using a Word Family (-ob), make new words uing the letters under the corresponding die. (Please preview word family prior to prevent inappropriate words!)

Trace the lines on this "Cutting Links" template while combining the sounds to make -ob words. 

More -ob word family activities: 



-og Family

-og: log, sog, jog, cog, hog, frog, smog, clog, fog, dog, bog

Themed Picture Cards places pictures on a themed picture such pumpkins, hearts, campers, etc. Here you can use a dog puppet to help "read" these "-og" word family words. 


Make wristbands using pictures of words from the -og family. 

Here are additional materials to teach -og Word Family words. 



-op Family

-op: bop, cop, hop, lop, mop, pop, sop, top

Make a small book using word family words. 

Practice cutting skills while talking about -op Words using the "Cutting Shapes" Template.  


Check out more -op Word Family Activities. 


-ot Family

-ot: dot, cot, got, hot, not, pot, knot, shot, robot, teapot, flowerpot, pilot, spot, trot, apricot

This Circular Narrative template shows a visuals of different -ot Family Words. 

The "When I Am" Template shows another way to layout Word Families. 

Work on scanning skills while playing with -ot Word Family Words using "Find the Picture" Template


Here are more -ot Word Family activities. 



Have fun playing with words and making learning fun!

Here are flashcard badges for all of the Word Families here to pin that say, "Ask Me what rhymes with..."