Onset and Rime is the cornerstone to word building for early students. Exploring word patterns is important centers. I love onset and rime…even if we used to call them word families.
They’re so much fun to teach and so valuable to students. Students start with rhymes and phonological awareness. Moving to the written word with word families is logical. 25 years ago I taught students with learning disabilities, and I used Merrill Linguistic Reading Program.
It was based on word families and sight words. I loved it. Then, 10 years later I went to a workshop with Fountas and Pinnell. They were premiering their Phonics Lessons for Kindergarten sets. They were the first to tell me about “If you know, then you know…”
Following their lead, my students built the word family one picture at a time. “If you know can, then you know man. If you know can, then you know fan. If you know can, then you know van. If you know can, then you know pan. If you know can, then you know ran.” Students can see the words and the pictures. This was the start of my Word Family love affair.
Here are some activities for word families.
Calendar Time is Word Family Time
During Calendar time we had an Interactive Whiteboard activity. The first word family slide contains the family and 5 cvc words.
I use stoplight writing to help the students hear the sounds. This procedure has a green line for the beginning sound, a yellow line for the middle or vowel sound, and a red line for the final sound. (If you’d like a full explanation of Stoplight Writing, click the link HERE.)
The second slide contains a “FIRST GRADE” word. Students love figuring out the “FIRST GRADE” word. These words typically have a blend or digraph at the beginning. These words are practiced daily.
Monday, the teacher emphasizes the sounds and does all the writing. Tuesday – Friday, the students take control. The students quickly complete the activity during the calendar time, taking turns filling in chunks or individual letters.
Calendar Time becomes Center Time
The following week, the word family moves to a center. This can be an ABC center, Word Building center or an Onset and Rime center.
During this week, students are given one of several word pattern centers. The Criss Cross Onset and Rime center, provides students with two pictures from the same family and asks them to use the word pattern and create two words.
This center can be easily differentiated, by giving students pictures without a grid or giving students a specific word family and asking them to create the criss cross with words they know.
If you would like a free Criss Cross Word Family Set, click the link or click the picture to the right.
Word Family Color Card
This center can be made with paint strips and permanent markers or use a pre-made set. This set uses word families in a “paint chip” with a picture hint at the top of the strip. Students can practice for fluency using the strips and changing the onset. Likewise, students can practice reading words in context. These strips can also be used to differentiate the center. Students can take a color strip and
- write stories using the word family words.
- put the words in ABC order.
- write and illustrate the words
- write the words using red and black letters for vowels and consonants.
Word Family Cube – Roll, Write, Illustrate
Students LOVE rolling dice. Why not add a word family to the dice. Students can roll, write, and illustrate. For a variation, students can have a graph with the 6 word family words. When they roll the dice, they write the word on the graph. Students roll until one of the graphs reaches the top, making a word family winner. Students can then write sentences with the winning word.
Onset and Rime Unscramble
Another center worth mentioning is a Unscramble. Students use the provided scrambled letters to create onset and rime patterns. These centers can be used with magnet letters, letter tiles, or dry erase markers. Students can provide the words on a recording sheet.
Onset and Rime Books
There are many books to be shared with students that focus on Onset and Rime. Some of my favorites are: