When you’re starting to teach your elementary students about different word families like -at and -ice, it can be a challenge when you first begin. However, you can make this task that seems so difficult much easier by adding in a whole lot of fun! Using games to teach word families is one of the best ways you can help your students be successful readers!
What is a Word Family?
Word families are words that have similar features or patterns. One of the most common word families that we start with are -at, -et, -in and more! When you add beginning sounds to the word families, you can make a variety of words! Using word families to teach students how to spell is a great way to get your students started with reading.
Teach Word Families with Around the World
One way you can teach word families or practice word families if you need a quick five minute filler is to play Around the World. All you need to do is put a word family on the board. Then go around the room having students say a word that belongs with that word family until you are out of options. If a student says a wrong word, they have to sit down. You can give a prize for being the last student standing. If you don’t want to have a winner, you can just take the mistake as a teachable moment and keep going around the room.
Play the Erase ‘Em Game
This is a fun game that comes from Susan Jones’ Teaching. All you need to do is write two different word families on the board. Then, you write a set of initial consonant sounds that will work with the different word families. It’s important to note not all of the initial sounds will work with both word families. Once a letter is used, the teacher erases it from the board. This continues until there are no letters left.
You can use this fun game with spelling words as well as with vocabulary. All you need to do is change what you’re saying or writing on the board. If you say the definition of a vocabulary word and it’s used correctly, you erase it. You can also fill in the blanks. The sky’s the limit with this game to teach word families.
Another way to use the Erase ‘Em game is to use them for spelling. All you have to do is put your words into like sounds and play the Erase ‘Em game rules.
Use Math Manipulatives with Games to Teach Word Families
Sometimes our math manipulatives can be used for more than just math. I like to take my math junk and use it for the Erase ‘Em game. Instead of me writing the letters on the board, I might put them on a card for students. When they have used the letter, then they can cover them with my math junk. This is a fun center activity students can do in small groups as well.
As we start the new school year, it’s going to be important to incorporate play and learning. Using games to teach word families is a great way to help students learn the content while having a good time! Plus, making sure you work on phonemic awareness will mean you are building up strong readers for a better tomorrow. Click the image below to check out my YouTube video.
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