Word Way






 Dear Visitors,
On this page you will find links to many reproducible activities, picture and word cards for sorting, and word family activity sheets. What started out as addressing 35 word families (rimes) with 2 or 3 activities each has turned into more than 70 word families with the potential for 30 activities. I thank you for your suggestions and requests. It helps inform my decisions when I consider adding new items. If you're going to use the picture and word cards, I suggest that you mount them on 3 x 5 (two copies) so that your students can play games like Concentration and Go Fish with them.

           To expedite finding the rime families in the large collection below, I've added a word family database with each rime bookmarked. Many people have requested some way to find them since they usually wanted to download each activity from one family. Unfortunately, this program takes the visitor right back to the top of the page! Let me know (carl1404@msn.com) if this makes it easier for you.  To access the word family you need, just click on the appropriate rime below. Hope it helps!

Note: I find that if you right click on a link and open it in a new window, you'll come right back to where you were on the page after you close the new window. Several of my teachers have asked that I download whole files (ones they use all the time) to their desktops and it's easy to do if you're interested. Make a new folder on your desktop for the targeted files. Right click on the link and choose "save target as" and then save it to your new desktop folder. This just takes a few minutes because you're not actually opening the file. It has saved lots of time for the K-2 teachers at my school. You don't have to download and wait forever!!

New: word family chart below with colorful illustrations. Place in writing folders.

                                      Happy word play!

                                      Cherry Carl


Please note big changes to Word Way!

July, 2006: I had to move more items from this page to others. Word Way became too difficult for me to open behind the scenes because of its size!! I know that you wouldn't want me to stop making additions and changes! I moved all of the Jeopardy games to their own page, Jeopardy Drive, digraph rime families (ail, ain, ee, eep, oat, etc.) to Digraph Drive, diphthong rime families (oil, ew, oy, etc,) to Diphthong Drive,  and Working With Words that uses Fry's words now had its own page as well (More W.O.W.). I hope this is not an inconvenience for you. I've moved all of the rime families for the letter I to Word Way Letter I, letter a rime families to Word Way Letter A, etc.

Some teachers have recently asked for handwriting practice for several word families. If you have one that you'd like right away, please let me know at carl1404@msn.com.




ab eat
See Digraph Drive
ice oat
See Digraph Drive
See Word Way Letter U
ack eck
See Word Way Letter E
ick ob
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
ad ed
See Word Way Letter E
id ock
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
ag ee
See Digraph Drive
ide og
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
See Digraph Drive
See Digraph Drive
ig oil
See Diphthong Drive
See Word Way Letter U
See Digraph Drive
See Word Way Letter E
ight oke
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
See Digraph Drive
See Word Way Letter E
ike old
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
ake est
See Word Way Letter E
ill ole
See Word Way Letter O
See Word Way Letter U
ale et
See Word Way Letter E
in one
See Word Way Letter O
all ew
See Diphthong Drive
ind oo
See Digraph Drive
am   ine ook
See Digraph Drive
ame   ing ool
See Digraph Drive
an   ink oom
See Digraph Drive
and   ip oon
See Digraph Drive
ank   ish op
See Word Way Letter O
ap   it ope
See Word Way Letter O
ar     ore
See Word Way Letter O
ark     orn
See Word Way Letter O
art     ort
See Word Way Letter O
ash     ose
See Word Way Letter O
at     ot
See Word Way Letter O
ate     ote
See Word Way Letter O
See Diphthong Drive
See Diphthong Drive
ay     ove
See Word Way Letter O
See Diphthong Drive
See Diphthong Drive
See Word Way Letter O



Word Family Chart

This colorful chart is perfect for the beginning writer to use as a reference. Duplicate, laminate and place one in each student's writing folder. The illustrations all depict children who are busy and involved, an attribute that will be sure to appeal to your students.





Word Family Resources

Cernek, Kim, 2000. Exploring Word Families: Using Word Patterns to Build Beginning Reading Skills. Creative Teaching Press.

Lynch, Judy,  1999. Easy Lessons for Teaching Word Families (Grades K-2).

Novelli,Joan, 2002. 30 Wonderful Word Family Games: With Pull-Out Poster Game.

Rosenberg, Mary, 2001. The Word Family Activity Book (Grades K-2).




Penny Push Directions

The Penny Push is a strategy for developing and practicing one phonemic awareness task: phoneme segmentation. During the activity the children say, hear and push a penny for each sound they hear in a word. There are no symbols or letters involved. Research shows that the more senses you use to teach something, the more likely it is that the at-risk learner will grasp the concept. This document provides an in-depth look at Elkonin boxes and the Penny Push.



Monster Mouth

(Lyrics: Cherry Carl          Tune: I’m a Little Teapot)


I’m a Monster Mouth and I love to munch

On pictures and words for my letter lunch.

Open up my mouth and drop them in;

Then close it again to see me grin!



Note: I wrote this song to go with the munching monsters made with the plastic trash cans with the swinging lids. I found the idea on Teachers.net and absolutely love it. You can store your word/picture cards in it. If you'd like directions and/or pictures, go to Marcia Goudie's Muncher Gallery at http://www.marcias-lesson-links.com/Muncher%20Monsters.html


Count the Syllables

The purpose of this activity is to promote the development of early phonemic awareness skills. The categories of the activities will also serve as a tool for developing and practicing vocabulary for second language learners.

Count the Syllables, Winter 

Count the Syllables, December 

Count the Syllables, Shapes  Count the Syllables, Numbers
Count the Syllables, School Count the Syllables, Clothes
Count the Syllables, Fruit Count the Syllables, Vegetables
Count the Syllables, Weather Count the Syllables, Animals
Count the Syllables, Farm Count the Syllables, Halloween
Count the Syllables, Easter Count the Syllables, Pets



Onsets and Rimes:
Word Family Activities 


Beginning readers need to develop strategies for dealing with unknown words. The following song is dedicated to all of those who have persevered!


Chant softly:
Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance

(Tune: "Down by the Station")
Down in the first grade,
Early in the morning,
See the ready readers
All in a row.
When we come to new words,
We know how to read them.
Chunk! Chunk! Sound them out!
Off we go!

Chant softly:
Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance

(Tune: "Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone?")
Oh, what do you do when you come to a word?
A word that is new to you?
Do you cry and pout, stomp your feet and shout?
Oh, what, oh, what do you do?

Well, we don't give up on those really hard words.
We know all the things we can do.
We work really hard 'til we figure them out.
'Cause that's what good readers do!








 Sunny Singer

(Tune: You Are My Sunshine)

My name is Sunny, Sunny Singer.

I’d like to sing some songs with you.

We’ll sing of letters and their silly sounds

And we’ll see what letters can do!

There’s l – i - c – k, and k – i – c – k.

Tell me what those letters say.

There’s p – i - c – k, and s – i - c – k.

That is spelling the –ick family way.


There’s n – i - c – k, and t – i - c – k.

What is c - h – i - c – k?

And how about q – u – i – c – k

When we’re spelling the –ick family way? 

Cherry Carl, 2004

Sunny Girl is a puppet that I bought last year in New York and she just looked like the type to sing word building songs. She sat in my sister's kitchen until I was forced to write the song! LOL! Sunny is the redhead on the right. I'm a redhead, so it was perfect for me!  The company has multicultural glove puppets, community helpers, and much more. I also bought a clown girl with pockets to use for introducing sounds. The manufacturer is located in Florida, but the website below provides a list of retailers. You can, however, see a large assortment of pictures of the puppets available.

For two letter rimes, just change the spellings and the lines to the song:

There's c-a-t, cat, and r-a-t, rat,

And t -h-a-t spells that.

There's p-a-t, pat, and b-a-t, bat.

That is spelling the -at family way.


Sunny and Co. Toys, Inc.

P.O. Box 771673 Orlando FL 32877
Tel: 407-826-4910
Fax: 407-251-1312

For additional information visit: http://www.sunnypuppets.com





Onsets and Rimes

The following activities have been used to reinforce decoding and encoding through analogy, onset and rime, and rhyme. "Is there another word that I know that has this chunk? If I take this letter and put these letters with it, what word do I have now?"

c a t - c + m = m a t

Each word family have at least 20 - 30 different activities to allow for differentiated  instruction. Please note that those that are complete and ready to use are underlined. Most of the Stationery, Word Building Mats and Recording Sheets are ready and so are the Shape Books, Word Lists, Cloze the Gap, Alphabet Alley and Configuration Stations. When I have time, I'll finish the Word Slides, Puzzles, etc. We can dream, huh? If you've been with me since the beginning of this website, you'll notice that what started out as one worksheet is now many. I still get requests for additional word families and I work on them as soon as I get them. I know that your requests are for your students and so I try to get them to you in a timely fashion. Don't be afraid to ask because I have templates and clipart collections for each word family. I'm still open for suggestions for other types of activities to add to this section.

The graphics are from PrintMaster, which has a great collection of kid friendly pictures, and from Microsoft ClipArt (online).




Teacher Tips!

The following ideas and/or comments about using the word family activities come from teachers through my e-mail: carl1404@msn.com. If you have found success in a special way, and would like to share your idea, please let me know and I'll post it here. Be sure to include your grade level and location. For instance, some teachers of second language learners have found it to be very useful and so have resource specialists.

A special thanks goes to Vickie Schultz. She creates a power point presentation every week with the words and pictures that sounds incredible. Her students can access it themselves to study their weekly spelling words. She's sent a sample for the -op family and the -in families and I've posted it below.  I'm going to call these presentations Power Practice and create some additional ones. Vickie also suggested an idea file so that teachers can share activities that they use with the word families, for instance, writing -op words on paper popcorn, making popcorn, etc. Anyone interested in an idea sharing file for each word family. If you have an idea that you'd like to share, I'll post it with the applicable word family and give you credit, of course!

Chasity and Karen in Santee, California send a spelling homework letter to the parents of their first graders. It includes a link to this page so that students can select from the word family activities for that week. Parents can assist in the selection, but those first graders are doing well at self-selecting items that are appropriate for their skill level.

A special thanks to Fred Duffelmeyer of Iowa State University. He discovered this site and has since offered many valuable suggestions for improvement! Thank you, Fred! As a result of his input I reformatted the stationery activities so that they're more appropriate for second graders. There's more room to write and less graphic. He also proofread every single cloze activity! Typos do happen and I'm  grateful to anyone who lets me know when that occurs so that I can fix any errors.

Geri Rightmyer, a kindergarten teacher, had a wonderful idea for using the alphabet book with stickers from the Alphabet Avenue page. She says: "I took the alphabet book and the alphabet stickers and made a book using the pictures and velcro so the children could use it over.  I mounted everything on heavy paper with the letters forming the basis of the book.  I then took the stickers and mounted them on heavy paper and cut them out. Today some of the kids were putting the pictures into the book just to be helpful.  It was very interesting to see how they talked their way through the names of the pictures and decided which letter it belonged to.  They choose to do it at playtime and seemed to really enjoy themselves. My class is an inclusion class and I have two autistic children in my room.  Learning the sounds is very difficult for them so I am excited about some of your other ideas and how I can adapt them for repeat usage." She's going to send a photograph of the completed book so that others can use her idea. Thanks, Geri!







Word Families, Onsets and Rimes, Phonograms:
They're all the same!

Literacy teachers like to say that using onsets and rimes teaches children through analogy. I like to think that the process enables children to take ownership of their reading and writing. "I can write at, so I can write cat and lots of other words." It makes believers out of young children who previously said, "I can’t!" when asked to read or write such words. I started teaching in 1967 (the dark ages) and we used what we called word families. Now we call them rimes and linguists prefer to say phonograms, but to the classroom teacher they are a tool to move their children into literacy. In 1970, Wylie and Durrell outlined 37 commonly used patterns in their book, Teaching Vowels Through Phonograms. Those words will be in a red font in the list below. Many authors have published lists for facilitating the use of rimes in their phonics, phonemic awareness and spelling programs. Fountas and Pinnell have made things easy for us. They have a complete list in Word Matters: Teaching Phonics and Spelling in the Reading/Writing Classroom (Heinemann). Their list contains single syllable words that would be appropriate for young learners. For multisyllabic words, older readers and writers may spell one syllable at a time.

If you’re interested in using Mother Goose and rimes as part of your first grade spelling, see my list on the Mother Goose part of this web site).

The list that I have here is in alphabetical order from left to right. If some word families appear twice, it’s because they should be (i.e. -ome as in home and in some). Unfortunately, some of these rimes do have lengthy word lists. I am only developing activities for the most common rimes and for those that are frequently requested by teachers and  parents to support spelling and decoding programs.

-ab -ace -ack -act -ad -ade -aff -aft
-ag -age -aid -ail -ain -aint -air -aise
-ait -ake -ale -alk -all -alt -am -ame
-amp -an -ance -anch -and -ane -ang -ank
-ant -ap -ape -ar -ard -are -arge -ark
-arm -arn -arp -art -ase -ash -ask -asm
-asp -ass -ast -aste -at -atch -at -atch
-ate -ath -aught -aunch -aunt -ave -aw -awl
-awn -ax -ay -aze -ea -each -ead -ead
-eak -eal -ealth -eam -ean -eap -ear -ear
-east -eat -eath -eave -eck -ed -edge -ee
-eech -eed -eek -eel -eem -een -eep -eer
-eet -eeze -eft -eg -eigh -eld -ell -elp
-elt -em -en -ence -ench -end -ense -ent
-ep -ept -erge -erk -erm -ern -erve -esh
-est -et -etch -ew -ex -ey -ib -ibe
-ice -ick -id -ide -ie -ied -ief -ield
-ier -ies -ife -iff -ift -ig -igh -ight
-ike -ild -ile -ilk -ill -ilt -im -ime
-imp -in -ince -inch -ind -ine -ing -inge
-ink -int -ip -ipe -ir -ird -ire -irk
-irt -irth -ise -ish -isk -isp -iss -ist
-it -itch -ite -ive -ix -o -o -oach
-oad -oak -oal -oam -oan -oar -oast -oat
-ob -obe -ock -od -ode -oe -og -ogue
-oil -oin -oint -oist -oke -old -ole -oll
-oll -olt -ome -ome -omp -on -ond -one
-ong -oo -ood -ood -oof -ook -ool -oom
-oon -oop -oor -oose -oot -ooth -op -ope
-orch -ord -ore -ork -orm -orn -ort -ose
-oss -ost -ost -ot -otch -ote -oth -ouch
-oud -ough -ought -ould -ounce -ound -oup -our
-ouse -out -outh -ove -ove -ow -ow -owl
-own -own -owse -ox -oy -ub -ube -uch
-uck -ud -ude -udge -ue -uff -ug -uke
-ule -ulk -ull -ull -um -umb -ume -ump
-un -unch -une -ung -unk -unt -up -ur
-ure -url -urn -urse -urt -us -use -ush
-uss -ust -ut -utch -ute -utt -y -ye




Onset and Rime Thumbnails

The table below contains thumbnail samples of the activities included in the rather large database for onsets and rimes. My thought is that you can look at these to see which activities you'd like to download and open for the assorted word families. Thanks to my resident techie (Blayn) for helping me figure out how to do this!

Word Family List

Word Family Worksheet

Another Worksheet

One More Worksheet

Two More Worksheets

Read and Write


Shape Book

Word Building Mat

Recording Sheet

Partner Puzzles


Word Slide

Crossword Puzzle

Configuration Station

Alphabet Alley

Cloze the Gap



Chant for Kids

Power Practice

Pictures for Sorts and Stuff

Word Search

Penny Push

Flip Book

Easy Puzzles

Jigsaw Puzzle



Simple Sentences







y Family Zip File

y Word Family List

y Family Poster

My! My! My!
(y Family Reader)

  y Family Worksheet

Another y Worksheet
One more y Worksheet
Two More y Worksheets
y What's It Worth? 
y Read and Write
y Stationery
y Family Shape Book
Another y Family Shape Book
y Word Building Mat
y Recording Sheet
y Partner Puzzles
y Word Slide
y Configuration Station
y Order in the Court
(alphabetical order)
y Cloze the Gap
y Crossword Puzzle 
y Pictures for Sorts & Stuff
y Bookmark
y Book 
Y as a Vowel Word List
Mother Goose Connections:
I Know an Old Lady
Three Little Kittens


More Web Sites For Teachers

Click on the following site to link to other excellent sites for teachers:

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