i ◄back to table of contents ntervention strategy: practicing word families brief description: word families or phonograms can be
◄Back to Table of Contents
Practicing Word Families
Brief Description: Word families or phonograms can be used to teach
children how to read many words by emphasizing letters in sequence
that typically make the same sound in many different words. This
strategy focuses on phonics and emphasizes onsets and rimes. Onsets
are the beginning sounds in words and the rimes are from the vowel to
the end of the word. For example, words in the /all/ word family
include ball, call, fall, stall, hall, etc.
Materials Needed: A variety of different materials may be used for
this activity including letter tiles, letter cards, or plastic
letters, printed strips, or wipe boards can be used for this activity.
Implementation: This strategy can be implemented individually, in
small groups, or whole group. It can be facilitated by a teacher,
paraprofessional or adult volunteer.
Preparation: The teacher creates a rime stimulus out of one of the
materials above. For example with letter cards, the teacher
composes the stimulus –all.
The student then takes turns placing different onsets before the
rime stimulus and reads each “new” word. The words can later be
used to create the students own dictionary or on a word wall.
Be sure to use single sound onsets as well as blends and digraphs.
Once the child demonstrates mastery with one rime, another rime
may be added to the practice.
Schedule for implementation: The suggested intervention schedule is at
least 15 minutes daily.
Variations: Children may also be asked to read and spell longer words
after the master CVC words.
Research Summary & References:
The following references may be consulted to learn the essentials and
variations of this strategy:
Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics they use: Words for Reading and
Writing (2nd ed.)New Yrok: Harper Collins.
Joseph, L. M. (2006). Understanding, Assessing and Intervening on
Reading Problems. Bethesda, MD. National Association of School
The file entitled “Letter Tiles” in the TOOLS folder on this disk
contains reproducible sheets of letters that can be printed onto card
stock and cut out for this activity.
Joseph (2006) indicates that “Nearly 500 words can be derived from the
following 37 rimes: