Saturday, March 9, 2013

Growing Readers: Learn 37 words and know how to read and write over 500 words!

Once your child has a bank of sight words and can sound out simple CVC words they are ready for some more complex phonics skills. By teaching your child some common high utility words your child can quickly learn to read hundreds of words. It is more efficient to see words in "chunks" than to decode across a word letter by letter.

Young children's awareness of onsets (the initial consonant of a word or syllable) and rimes (everything after the initial consonant in a one-syllable word or in syllables, traditionally referred to as phonograms or word families) is related to success in beginning reading. Therefore children should be taught to identify and manipulate these sound units. Children in kindergarten should be introduced to common phonograms (word families). In addition to building phonemic awareness, providing instruction with phonograms also prepares children for reading words by analogy.

An alternative to teaching phonics rules is using onsets and rimes to teach children to read unknown words by making analogies with words they know.

For example, a child who can read and write “down” can easily get to “town” and “brown”.
So what are these "high utility words" that your child needs to learn? Nearly five hundred words can be derived from the following 37 rimes:

-ack -ain -ake -ale -all -ame -an -ank -ap -ash -at -ate

-aw -ay -eat -ell -est -ice -ick -ide -ight -ill -in -ine -ing -ink

-ip -ir -ock -oke -op -or -ore -uck -ug -ump -unk

Read more about teaching word families at Reading Rocket's Meet the Word Families

You can see a list of these 37 common word families at Enchanted Learning's Word Families Lists

Look at the sight words your child already knows, and other words they know well as a place to start. Sight words like: can, at, and small can be used to generate word family lists.

You can also start with CVC words your child is practicing like hop, nap, bug, and pin.

Your child only needs to learn one word with each rime and know how to make analogies between words and they will be able to read and write over 500 different words. If you can read the word "man" then you can also read can, van, pan, and tan.

Change the first letter in man, to make can, van, pan, and tan.
Using magnetic letters is a great way to make and read new words and practice word families.
Making some "-at" words.

What letter would you need to change to make it say, "fit"?
Start with just changing the initial letter, like the examples above. Then you can move on to putting a consonant blend at the beginning:

Cake can become make, take and bake. Next try snake and flake.

 Have fun making some word family lists and putting them on the wall!

In the Learn to Read area on the "play" category is all about playing with word families. You can practice -an and -at words in the first lesson. I think a subscription to star is worth every penny!

A quick search and you will find lots and lots of word family activities, here are a few to get you started:

Word Family, Blends and Digraphs Word Wall Freebie

The Moffat Girls Word Family Graphing

The Moffatt Girls


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