Word Families to Support Decoding Skills in Children with Disabilities

Using Word Families for Spelling Builds Word Recognition

Teacher with student using flashcards.

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Spelling with word families and rhyming words helps young children connections in both reading and writing. Seeing the relationships between these words helps students with disabilities predict new words by using known word patterns. It supports their future success in literacy.

Word families help support word recognition and generalizing decoding skills. The following word families include word cards that you can reproduce and use in: 

Word Sorts

Print the pdf's for a couple of the word families: start with the same rather than different vowel sounds, so the children will recognize them. You can either create a two column page with the family at the top and then have the children do the sort individually, or you can print them and have students sort them in small groups on a piece of chart paper. 

Learning centers: Print the word family cards on card stock, and put them in resealable sandwich or quart bags with a sorting template. Have students at the learning center sort them. 

Additive activities:  Continue to add word families: Have students take turns pulling cards in the sort and placing them on the chart paper. Or add magnetic strips on the back of the cards and have groups of students sort the words on to a magnetic white board.

Sort Games: 

Sort War:  Print two word families on card stock. Assign each child a word family. When they "snap" the cards the one who puts on on the top gets to keep the pair. 

Sort "hearts." Run several word families and shuffle them together. Deal the cards to groups of three or four, 5 or 6 to each. Leave the remainder in a stack. Students can create "sets" to lay down when they have three words in a word family. Play till all the cards are laid down. 

All word families.

'ack' back, black, crack, pack, quack, rack, sack, snack, stack, tack, track, whack.

'ad' ad, dad, fad, glad, grad, had, lad, mad, pad, rad, sad, tad.

'ail' fail, hail, jail, mail, nail, pail, rail, sail, snail, tail.

'ain' brain, chain, drain, gain, grain, main, pain, plain rain, stain, strain, train.

'ake' bake, cake, flake, make, rake, take.

'ale' bale, male, pale, scale, tale, whale.

'all' ball, call, fall, hall, mall, small, tall, wall.

'am' am, ham, jam, slam, spam, yam.

'ame' blame, came, flame, frame, game, lame, name, same, tame.

'an' an, ban, can, fan, man, pan, plan, ran, tan, van.

'ank' bank, blank, crank, drank, plan, sank, spank, tank, thank, yank.

'ap' cap, clap, flap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, slap, scrap, tap.

'ar' are, bar, char, car, far, jar, par, scar, cigar, guitar.

'ash' ash, bash, cash, crash, dash, flash, gash, hash, mash, rash, sash, slash, smash, splash, trash.

'at' at, bat, brat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat, spat, tat, that, vat.

'aw' claw, draw, flaw, jaw, law, paw, straw, thaw.

'ay' away, bay, clay, day, gay, gray, hay, lay, may, okay, pay, play, way, spray, stay, tray, way.

o generalize decoding skills. 

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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "Word Families to Support Decoding Skills in Children with Disabilities." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/decoding-skills-in-children-with-disabilities-3111379. Watson, Sue. (2020, August 28). Word Families to Support Decoding Skills in Children with Disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/decoding-skills-in-children-with-disabilities-3111379 Watson, Sue. "Word Families to Support Decoding Skills in Children with Disabilities." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/decoding-skills-in-children-with-disabilities-3111379 (accessed March 24, 2023).