Words that belong to the same family all share a common element or sequence. In most cases they share a series of letter blends. This is why you will see word families often referred to as "chunks", because they share a chunk of letters in common. As a result, these terms tend to make the same sounds and are valuable for learning how to spell words. Having the able to find patterns and sounds in words really helps boost your reading ability. Students who are strong in this skill can often sound out unfamiliar vocabulary with relative ease. Students that learn words through the use of phonetic skills often become the stronger spellers. These worksheets will highlight a series of terms that all belong the most commonly used word families.
Write the name of each picture on the lines. Each column pairs terms that contain the same sound.
Cut and glue. Write the word. There are many different terms that fit this profile, not just "sheep" and "deep".
Fill in the blanks to complete the sentences for each word family. Use the vocabulary term box.
Finish off each term. Also identify which family it belongs to. You can either circle it or label it.
Complete each family. Then use the words to complete the sentences. Please make the sentences interesting to the reader.
Circle the term that describes the picture. At the bottom of this worksheet you will add chunks, as they are needed.
Circle the picture that does not belong in the same word family as the other two pictures.
Put the -eat words in alphabetical order. This will help you see the commonalities that exist between them.
Place the -ane words in alphabetical order. If you line them up well, it makes it easy to see.
Read each sentence. Say the name of the picture. Rewrite each sentence, replacing the picture with the word.
Write each -ick word underneath its picture. Say the terms aloud to make sure your spelling is on point.
Color the words that belong to the -ab family. The others you can just leave alone or color them something entirely different.
Put the -ing words in alphabetical order. Use the pictures as clues. These are mostly terms that describe an active action taking place.
How Many Word Families Are There?
Word families make it easier for kids to learn and pronounce new words faster as they group them under different categories. They are in the forms of prefixes, suffixes, and root words. So, exactly how many word families are there?
As of today, Wylie and Durrel, authors of Teaching Vowels Through Phonograms (1970), and the National Council Of Teachers Of English have identified thirty-seven common word families, but the number keeps increasing.
Let us look at these families and their examples.
The 37 Common Word Families
1. ack: back, quack, hack, Lack, rack, pack, knack
2. ain: brain, main, chain, train, complain, explain, gain
3. Ake: awake, lake, bake, make, snake, rake, sake
4. Ale: bale, male, female, tale, kale, dale, sale
5. All: call, ball, tall, mall, fall, stall, hall
6. Ame: fame, dame, name, lame, game, shame, same
7. An: can, ban, pan, van, tan, scan, man
8. Ank: bank, blank, spank, tank, thank, rank, flank
9. Ap: cap, map, tap, dap, slap, clap, lap
10. Ash: cash, hash, lash, dash, splash, clash, crash
11. At: fat, hat, mat, bat, cat, chat, brat
12. Ate: debate, gate, mate, late, fate, plate, hate
13. Aw: claw, draw, law, paw, jaw, flaw, saw
14. Ay: away, clay, slay, display, play, pray, sway
15. Eat: cheat, cleat, meat, heat, sweat, bleat, beat
16. Ell: fell, sell, bell, dwell, cell, farewell, hell
17. Est: best, chest, crest, test, pest, nest, west
18. Ice: dice, mice, price, rice, twice, thrice, vice
19. Ine: brine, wine, define, shrine, whine, dine, fine
20. Ide: bride, side, tide, guide, hide, slide, ride
21. Ick: brick, sick, lick, pick, trick, thick, flick
22. In: grin, bin, kin, shin, gin, twin, win
23. Ight: fight, flight, bright, delight, sight, light, might
24. Ill: kill, bill, fill, mill, shrill, hill, still
25. Ing: swing, bring, king, spring, thing, being, sting
26. Ink: sink, mink, link, blink, wink, rink, stink
27. Ip: hip, dip, grip, slip, trip, snip, lip
28. It: hit, fit, grit, admit, lit, knit, bit
29. Ock: dock, rock, mock, lock, shock, frock, block
30. Oke: poke, smoke, joke, choke, bloke, spoke, awoke
31. Op: flop, cop, hop, mop, plop, shop, stop
32. Ore: fore, core, chore, more, ore, more, shore
33. Ot: cot, clot, hot, dot, forgot, slot, lot
34. Uck: suck, duck, luck, muck, pluck, buck, chuck
35. Ug: bug, dug, hug, jug, mug, rug, shrug
36. Ump: dump, clump, hump, lump, jump, stump
37. Unk: bunk, dunk, clunk, funk, hunk, punk, skunk
Other Word Families
As mentioned before, the word families are not limited to the number 37; rather, there are many more. Here are some of the examples of other word families.
1. Ad: bad, cad, clad, dad, glad, lad, had
2. Ail: fail, mail, rail, hail, jail, ail, snail
3. Am: clam, exam, ham, ram, slam, spam, dam
4. Ar: afar, bar, car, far, par, pillar, scar
5. Eet: feet, fleet, greet, meet, sheet, sweet, tweet
6. En: men, pen, ten, omen, den, hen, amen
7. Ent: bent, gent, scent, tent, sent, went, cent
8. Eel: peel, steel, keel, heel, feel, reel, eel
9. Eep: sleep, sheep, deep, keep, weep, creep, steep
10. Ile: bile, file, mile, pile, tile, vile, while
These word families are one of the greatest techniques for learning more vocabulary. The familiar pattern encourages students to make new words and readily understand how to pronounce them. It also acts as the foundation for building strong spelling skills.
How to Approach Teaching Word Families
I like to introduce word families to me students in a variety of ways. First, I start by using a modified graphic organizer that is called a web. In the center of the organizer I place the letter that words in this family might share. Let's say the letters -ake. I ask students for words that have that ending and they will call them out such as: take, rake, make, sake, fake, cake, and continue until the web is filled up. I then have the students use all the words that they thought up in sentences. We take turns reading those sentences aloud. These worksheets will help students begin to understand the magnitude of word families and how they can help them become better readers and spellers. As you make your way through this series make sure to read all of the directions before you begin to work. If you get out too fast, you will miss things along the way. You may need to make sure you have scissors, glue, and a wide variety of coloring tools. Students find this series fun and get engaged pretty quickly with these worksheets. You can feel free to encourage students to work on these independently as well.