Word families are groups of words in which they share a common feature, pattern or meaning. They usually share a common base or root word, and they have different prefixes and suffixes. It is a great way to begin thinking about or hearing letter patterns in words. The more of word families you practice, the wiser your kindergartner will become.
Grouping words into word families helps to improve the predictability of letter sounds. The sounds that letters make vary depending on the other letters around them. For example, think of the many different ways to pronounce 'a' depending on the word (eg map, cake, boat, head, said, salt, eat). Letters grouped together in a rime within a word family form a stable unit, which sounds the same in the majority of the words it appears in. This increases the probability that your child will read the letters correctly.
Teaching word families to your child can form a useful part of helping your child learn to read. A knowledge of word families helps your child to recognize unfamiliar words quickly and so builds their confidence during the difficult early reading stages. Teaching word families is an integral part of teaching reading using analytic phonics.
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