Word Families Ideas & Activities To Engage Your First Grade Students

word families activity

Teaching word families is a great way to help beginning readers and writers make simple words! A word family is a group of words with the same letter pattern. For example, cat, bat, and hat are all part of the "at" word family because the last 2 letters are the same. You can simply change the first letter to make a new rhyming word.

at word family

When children learn word families and become familiar with the letter patterns, it can help them with fluency.  They will not have to sound out each individual letter but instead be able to recognize the pattern quickly.

Ideas for Teaching Word Families

Older students can usually make lists of rhyming words on their own.  Just give them a paper with the word family endings and have them change the first letter to create new words.

short i word family

If you have some craft foam, you can cut out some small squares to make letter tiles.  Students can practice making word families by changing the first letter.

word families activity


Beginning readers and writers may require more guidance to make new words.  These Word Families Strips are fun to use with dry erase markers!  Students can use the beginning sound of each picture to make the first word.  After that, all they need to do is write one letter in front of each set of letters to create new words.  When they are finished they can copy the lists they have made into their notebooks for extra writing practice.

word families activity

Another fun activity is making posters.  Students can work in groups to make drawings of all the words in one word family.  When they are finished, you can hang the posters around the classroom for reference.

word families

How do you teach word families in your classroom?

word families activities

My Word Families Literacy Center comes with both print and digital versions for use in the classroom of for distance learning!  You can check out this resource here:

word families activity