Word Family and Sight Word Teaching Activities and Ideas

Are you looking for resources and activities to teach your students all about word families and sight words? 

This time saving set of activities here helps to supplement your language program for vocabulary development based on Common Core standards as well as many of the international standards. Instruction in spelling strengthens reading and writing. When children learn to spell with phonograms (letters that make the same sound in a word family) they easily learn to recognize more words that they can read and spell as they make the connections with the spelling patterns. Research has proven that learning the word families leads to enhanced success in the language program as it teaches students to recognize the common sound/symbol relationships. Students naturally look for patterns which is especially true in spelling with phonograms.

The approach can be integrated with the language program or in a specific block using a word study center approach. Regardless of approach, children need opportunity to work independently, with the teacher and in small groups. In addition to the activities here, the following suggestions are also great strategies to enhance your spelling/wordy study program:

1. Word Detectives: as you focus on a word family, encourage students to find examples of the word family all round them, in environmental print or stories read. You may wish to use a point system each time they find an example and give out a word detective sticker or certificate after receiving so many points.

2. Build the Word Families: Using magazines or newspapers, have student make collages with by cutting out the letters to words using a variety of fonts.

3. Shake a Word: Using letter cubes (hand made or purchased) shake the letters and form the word families.

4. Go Fish: Using the picture and word match cards, have students play go fish. OR, using the word math and picture cards, have students play the game of concentration.

5. Stamp It: Using a set of letter stamps and a stamping pad. Have students stamp out the word families currently being taught.

6. Morning Message: For each morning message, ensure there are many word family words in it. Ask students to form rhyming words from the words used in the message…...what would happen if the h was change to a l etc.

7. Nonsense or No Nonsense Words: Name a word family and have students take turns telling you what a nonsense word or not nonsense would be and how it is spelled. For instance, “Today our word is Had, what nonsense or no nonsense word can you tell me?”  “I say zad and it would be spelled z-a-d and it is a nonsense word.”  “I have mad and it would be spelled m-a-d and it is a no nonsense word. (This activity also works well in pairs).
8. Show Me: Have students use personal magnetic erase boards or sock and mini chalk boards (sock contains the chalk) or use scrap paper and markers. When you hold up the ending of a word family (at or ad or ug etc.) students quickly write down a word for that word family and hold it up. This way you can see immediately all the words from your students.

9. Guess What’s Missing:  Students make up a word game for their partner using a line for the missing letter. They switch and the partners fill in the missing letters.

10. Interactive Partners: Give half of your students the beginning letter and the other half of your students the ending letter (better if this involves several word 
         families) Then tell the students to find their partner. For instance, one partner will have ate, the other will have pl.

11. Rainbow Word Families: Printing the words can be boring at times yet it is helpful. Provide various methods for students to print their words, with different colors for each letter, with markers, with computer apps, with fingers and shaving cream, in a crayon resist activity. For extra challenges, ask them to print a letter with the right hand then print a letter with the left hand.

12. Chain Link Necklaces: Make chain link necklaces, each link has a word family word on it. Use for practice at home too.

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