Posts Tagged ‘word families and word chunks’

Using Word Families With Beginning Readers

Posted on September 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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When working with children who are just beginning to sound out words, I have had great success using word families.

image of cover art for Fat Cat, a book for beginning readersFat Cat written by Sue Graves and illustrated by Jan Smith
A Fun With Phonics book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic Books

Shortly after a child discovers that C -A -T spells cat, it can be enormously rewarding to introduce B-A-T amd M-A-T. Often a child’s eyes grow as big as saucers as he realizes the relationship between the three words. He makes a connection and sounding out BAT, CAT, FAT, HAT, MAT, PAT, RAT and SAT is not nearly as difficult as he originally thought. Soon he has eight new words to be proud of (rather than just one).


image of cover art for Dog in the Fog, a book for beginning readersThere have been many, many books written that focus on word families. A search of “Fat Cat” might produce a dozen or more results. I’m delighted to let you know about a series that combines word families, spinning word wheels, picture clues and early reader books. The word wheels are sturdy and easy to spin. They each create eight words: the wheel for
image of cover art for Bug in a Rug, a book for beginning readers Bug in a Rug produces bug, hug, dug, jug, mug, pug, tug and rug.




Beginning readers will need some help decoding the story but will find the illustrations helpful and will soon notice that the word family words are printed using red ink. if ‘reading’ with an older family member, the child could be asked to ‘read just the red words’ until familiar with the vocabulary. Good fun and a helpful resource for those who are just learning about word families and beginning to read.

image of cover art for Jen the Hen, a book for beginning readers

Fat Cat at Amazon.com | Fat Cat at Amazon.ca

Jen The Hen at Amazon.com | Jen the Hen at Amazon.ca

Dog In The Fog at Amazon.com | Dog in the Fog at Amazon.ca

Bug In A Rug at Amazon.com | Bug in a Rug at Amazon.ca



image of How to Make Word Family Flip BooksOn the Storytime Standouts Word Families page we include Word Family Flip Books for short vowel word families. Print the pages and cut out the individual letters. Cut out the larger rectangle along the lines. Make a pile of letters (check that they are all the right way up) and staple them to the left of the word ending. Encourage your beginning reader to ‘build’ on her knowledge that C-A-T spells CAT by flipping the letters and substituting the consonant. She’ll create many more words and feel a thrill of success.

Our Word Families page also has several word family printables that show the words with pictures. These are great for beginning readers in Kindergarten and Grade One.

Our early learning printables, including our word family printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the word family printables.

Some of our printables for beginning readers are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website, please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early learning printables here.

If you appreciate our word family printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Beginning to Read – Day 3

Posted on August 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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The children who attended Beginning to Read today thoroughly enjoyed today’s story by William Steig, Pete’s a Pizza

When a sudden rainstorm spoil’s Pete’s plans, he is grumpy and sad. His dad decides that he ought to be made into a pizza! He kneeds Pete and stretches him, covers him with oil and adds tomatoes and cheese. Before long, the pizza is hot and ready to be sliced.

During today’s Beginning to Read class we talked quite alot about opposites. We began with ‘easy’ opposites (hot/cold, wet/dry/ big/small, happy/sad, inside/outside), moved onto slightly more challenging opposites (push/pull, empty/full, night/day, tall/short, true/false) and, finally, tried some ‘difficult’ opposites (warm/cool, always/never, man/woman).

Today’s Word Family was “ed” (Ed, Bed, fed, led, red, Ted). The tricky words were fled, newlywed and shred. We have many word family printables on this website, follow the link for more information.

We also looked for some easy Sight Words. Sight Words are also known as “Instant Word” and sometimes referred to as “Dolch Words.” They are high frequency words that beginning readers are encouraged to memorize (we, my, see, go, and, etc.) For the children who are already reading sight words, this was a reading activity. For the children who are not yet reading sight words, it was a matching activity. If you are interested, you can download sight word lists from our download page.

We played a mixed up alphabet game . Each child had two, three or four cards. Each card read, “I have ___. Who has ___?” The child with “I have A. Who has L?” started us off. The child with “I have L. Who has U?” read his/her card next. Basically, the children were listening for the letter names, checking to see if they had the letter and reading aloud when it was their turn. Very good fun – many of the children would like to play the game again.

Finally, we used Elkonin boxes. The children listened to words and decided whether a letter sound was at the beginning, middle or end of a word. As an example, I asked the children to listen for the /S/ sound. When I said, “Snake,” they should have identified that the /S/ sound was at the beginning of the word. When I said, “Pigs,” they should have noticed that the /S/ sound was at the end of the word. When I said, “Icicle,” they should have noticed that the /S/ sound was in the middle of the word. Note: this is a listening activity – whether the /S/ is made by a “S” or a “C” is unimportant. Children will normally hear the beginning sounds most easily, the middle sounds are the most difficult to hear. Children who learn to hear the sounds and notice when they occur will use this skill when spelling, writing and reading. This is a skill you can work on anytime, anywhere.

Beginning to Read – Day 2

Posted on August 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Today was our second Beginning to Read class and our theme today was “Shoes.” During our storytime, I used felt pieces to tell the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker. This is a traditional story and it has been retold many times. The version that I used was written by Paul Galdone. I explained to the children that, if they visit the library, they might find as many as ten different versions of this story (filed in the Fairy Tale section, J398). If you have a chance, it would be great to find the story at the library and share it with your children. If you can find two different versions, ask them which they prefer. The illustrations and the storytelling will vary. Reading different versions of a familiar story is a great way to encourage your children to think about and compare authors and illustrators.

By the way, in each of the classes, the children responded very enthusiastically to the felt story format. They love watching the story unfold and touching the pieces of felt. Using felt pieces is a great way to encourage children to be creative and invent their own stories.

Today’s word family was the “it” family – bit, fit, hit, pit, sit, split and quit. In today’s class, we made a word family flip book. These easily made books are very helpful for young readers. They help children to notice that “bit”, “fit” and “hit” are related and, once you manage to decode/read “bit”, it is quite easy to decode/read “fit” and “hit”. Today our tricky words were split and quit. Here is a picture of a Dairy Queen Banana Split.

We have many word family printables on this website, follow the link for more information.

Today we also did a page about colours. Some of the children are able to read the words, some are not. Just as a gentle reminder, some of early ‘reading’ is actually memorizing. When children offer to ‘read’ a story that they have heard many time, we may be tempted to dismiss their ‘reading’ as ‘memorizing.’ Keep in mind that we want to encourage reading behaviours (holding a book, turning the pages, etc.) and picture clues are very helpful to young readers. Be sure to celebrate your young reader’s success – even when you suspect that s/he has memorized a story.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Elves and Shoemaker

Elves and Shoemaker theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Just for fun, here is The Muppet’s version of The Elves and the Shoemaker

The Elves and the Shoemaker at Amazon.com

The Elves and the Shoemaker Book & Cassette at Amazon.ca


Free Word Family Printables

Posted on April 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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We offer almost two hundred free early literacy printables on Storytime Standouts. Today, we decided to feature our free word family printables. These are available for website members*. There is no cost to become a member, simply sign up and you will have access to all of our free downloads.

Our early literacy printables, including our word family printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our free word family printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


We have twenty (two page) printables, each showing words and pictures for one word family. Print the PDF (I prefer printing onto cardstock), laminate if you wish, and use with beginning readers.

image of PDF icon  The "All" Word Family

Free - all word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "An" Word Family

Free -an word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ap" Word Family

Free -ap word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "At" Word Family

Free -at word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ed" Word Family

Free -ed word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ell" Word Family

Free -ell word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ig" Word Family

Free - ig word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ip" Word Family

Free -ip word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "It" Word Family

Free -it word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Og" Word Family

Free -og word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Op" Word Family

Free -op word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ot" Word Family

Free -ot word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Am" Word Family

Free -am word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "En" Word Family

Free -en word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Et" Word Family

Free -et word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ill" Word Family

Free -ill word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ock" Word Family

Free -ock word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ub" Word Family

Free -ub word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Ug" Word Family

Free -ug word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  The "Est" Word Family

Free -est word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


We also offer ten word family flip books and printable (how to) instructions.

image of PDF icon  10 Word Family Flip Books

Word family flip books - great learning resources for children in kindergarten or grade one.

image of PDF icon  How to Make a Word Family Flip Book

Instructions for assembling a word family flip book

We’d love to hear about how you use these printables with young children.


*Please note, membership is absolutely free. When you sign up, you will be given an option to receive our newsletter. If you don’t want to receive the newsletter, you won’t receive any emails from this site. We promise.

Word Family and Word Chunk Printables

Posted on January 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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A quick post to highlight the new, free word family printables offered on this site…

Our early childhood literacy printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already have Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the word family printables.





Please note: some of our early childhood literacy printables, including these printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website, please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.


You will find all of our early childhood literacy printables here.


If you appreciate our word family printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


We have ten printable Word Family flip books

image of PDF icon  10 Word Family Flip Books

Word family flip books - great learning resources for children in kindergarten or grade one.

. These are great for children to put together. They will need scissors and a stapler. If you aren’t sure how to assemble the flip books, you’ll find instructions here:

image of PDF icon  How to Make a Word Family Flip Book

Instructions for assembling a word family flip book



We also have Word Family printables that include pictures, the picture clues help beginning readers to decode each word:

The All Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "All" Word Family

Free - all word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The An Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "An" Word Family

Free -an word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ap Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ap" Word Family

Free -ap word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The At Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "At" Word Family

Free -at word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ed Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ed" Word Family

Free -ed word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ell Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ell" Word Family

Free -ell word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ig Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ig" Word Family

Free - ig word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ip Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ip" Word Family

Free -ip word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The It Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "It" Word Family

Free -it word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Og Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Og" Word Family

Free -og word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Op Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Op" Word Family

Free -op word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.


The Ot Word Family

image of PDF icon  The "Ot" Word Family

Free -ot word family printable for young readers in kindergarten and grade one.

Word Family Books at Amazon.com

Word Family Books at Amazon.ca

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