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|Match Rhyming WordsDolch WordsBlends||EnchantedLearning.comWord Families|
Word families are groups of words that have a common feature or pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. For example, at, cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound and letter combination in common.
The 37 most common word families in English (according to Wylie and Durrell) are: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.
Many of the nursery rhymes contain common word families. You can use these rhymes to teach these letter combinations (and how they are spelled and spoken), having the students sound them out after memorizing the rhyme. You can study one word family a week. Students can use the Little Explorers Picture Dictionary to look for more words that belong to word families.
The following is a list of the most common word families in English (from Wylie and Durrell, 1970, plus a few extra word families) and examples of each.
|oot (long oo)
|oot (short oo)
|ow (rhymes with cow)
|ow (rhymes with low)
Books to Print About Word Families
|Words that Rhyme with AdA Printable Mini BookA tiny, printable book about simple words rhyming with 'ad' — for early readers and writers. The book has 2 pages to print and makes 8 pages for the student to cut out, color, and write in. The words are: dad, glad, lad, mad, pad, sad, and “Can you think of another word that rhymes with ad?”||Words that Rhyme with AilA Printable Mini BookA tiny, printable book about simple words rhyming with 'ail' — for early readers and writers. The book has 2 pages to print and makes 8 pages for the student to cut out, color, and write in. The words are: mail, nail, pail, quail, snail, tail, and “Can you think of another word that rhymes with ail?”||Words that Rhyme with AkeA Printable Mini BookA tiny, printable book about simple words rhyming with 'ake' — for early readers and writers. The book has 2 pages to print and makes 8 pages for the student to cut out, color, and write in. The words are: bake, cake, flake, lake, snake, rake, and “Can you think of another word that rhymes with ake?”||Words that Rhyme with AllA Printable Mini BookA tiny, printable book about simple words rhyming with 'all' — for early readers and writers. The book has 2 pages to print and makes 8 pages for the student to cut out, color, and write in. The words are: ball, call, fall, hall, small, tall, and “Can you think of another word that rhymes with all?”|
|“AN” Words Book|
What are word families?
Word families are groups of words that have a common feature, pattern or meaning. They usually share a common base or root word, to which different prefixes and suffixes are added.
In KS2 children will learn about root words, prefixes and suffixes.
For example, the root word happy might have a prefix added (unhappy) or might have a suffix added (happiness).The words happy, unhappy, happiness could be considered to belong to the same word family.
When do children learn about word families?
- It is important that children in KS2 understand the concept of root words, prefixes and suffixes, as this will come up in the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test they sit in Year 6.
- Understanding word families is also very useful when children are learning about correct spelling, as being able to identify the root word will help them spell other words in the same word family.
- According to the national curriculum children are introduced to word families in Year 3, when they are shown that common words are related in form and meaning (for example, the words solve, solution, solvent, dissolve and insoluble all belong to the same word family).In the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test children may be asked:
- to match various prefixes with their correct root words
- be given several words from the same family and asked to say what the root word means (sign, signature, design; the root word 'sign', from the Latin signum, means to make a mark for the purposes of authorisation)
- to add a suffix to a noun to turn it into an adjective (for example: adding the suffix -ful to 'beauty' changes the word to make 'beautiful')
You can help your child at home by encouraging them to learn the spelling lists they are given at school.
It would also be helpful to see if you can find words made up of prefixes / root words / suffixes and discuss with your child what the root word might mean. Can they think of any other prefixes or suffixes they could add to the word?
They may be tested on these in the KS2 SATs Grammar, punctuation and spelling test at the end of Year 6.
Study Word Families to Boost Your Vocabulary
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Recognizing word families can multiply your word power! So what are they? “Word
families” can mean several types of word groups. Here we're talking about words made from the same root by adding different
suffixes or negative prefixes.
Adding other prefixes to roots makes bigger changes in meaning. The words are still related, but not quite as closely. For example, to counteract means to act against something, and to react is to act in response to something.
The adjective 'inactive' means not active. 'Hyperactive' or 'overactive' both mean more active than normal. 'Interactive' describes action between people. It's also used for ways people can interact with computers beyond reading the screen.
The lists below give examples of the word family 'act' (showing the part of speech of each family member.) Then it explains related families made by adding a prefix to 'act,' showing only their most common words. (Parts of speech are the same as for words of the same suffix in the first list.)
- Verbs- Nouns- Adjs (or Advs)
- act- act, actor —
- — action – actionable
- — — active, actively
- activate- activation –activated
- — activity —
- — activism, activist —
- — inaction- inactive
- — inactivity —
Related families (from the same root as 'Act')
- counteract, counteractive
interaction, interactive, interactively, interactivity
reaction, reactivate, reactivation, reactive, reactivity
Definitions and Examples
To act is to do something. We say, “Actionsspeak louder than words.”
Nouns and adverbs and verbs, oh my!
Parts of speech are the building blocks for English sentences, and studying them early on can be beneficial for English language learners. Along with common sentence patterns, learning the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc.) can help students form English sentences more easily.
But how do students know which vocabulary words are nouns, verbs, etc.? This is where suffixes (word endings) come into play. Learning common word endings can help students easily guess at the part of speech of a new vocabulary term.
Parts of speech and suffixes aren’t just for beginner students.
This knowledge can boost students’ abilities in both grammar and vocabulary at any level, and is quite useful for higher‑level students who need to decipher complex and unfamiliar words.
Learning and practicing word families in context can help higher-level students with speaking and writing as well as on tests such as the TOEIC.
Try presenting the word family chart below to your intermediate- to advanced‑ level learners, and then see if they can complete the following practice exercise. Subscribers can access a printable pdf of the chart and exercise here: Advanced Word Families. See our Parts of Speech lesson for lower‑level practice.
Have students complete the sentences below with a form of the prompt word. Allow them to refer to the chart above. You may also want to have students identify the parts of speech. Note that they may have to change the word form by making a noun plural or conjugating a verb into the correct tense.
|Ex||protect||Female bears are very protective (adjective) of their young.|
|1||succeed||Practice and patience are the keys to ______ .|
|2||rely||My best friend has never let me down. I ______ on her many times in the past.|
|3||differ||I can’t see what’s ______ in the second version of this document.|
|4||act||______ speak louder than words.|
|5||apologize||After tripping me on my way to my desk yesterday, my coworker ______ profusely.|
|6||identify||Please show me your ______ and your insurance papers.|
|7||understand||He was ______ upset when he heard about the accident.|
|8||divide||There were so many ______ issues that they called a mediator in.|
Word Families: Quick Reference for Teachers
Word Families are sometimes referred to as groups, chunks or rimes. A word family has something in common with each other, have it be the prefix, suffix or root word. For example, green, grass, grow all have the “gr” sound in the beginning of the word.
Word families are important because they help young children recognize and analyze word patterns when they are learning to read. When teaching analytic phonics, teachers use word families to help children understand these patterns and that certain words have the same letter combinations and sounds.
According to researchers Wylie and Durrel, there are 37 common word families: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw, ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk.
- ack: back, hack, pack, rack
- ain: brain, chain, main, plain
- ake: awake, bake, cake, fake
- ale: ale, bale, sale, tale
- all: all, ball, call, hall
- ame: blame, came, game, same
- an: an, ban, can, pan
- ank: bank, drank, sank, tank
- ap: cap, map, rap, tap
- ash: bash, dash, rash, sash
- at: bat, cat, fat, mat
- ate: fate, gate, late, rate
- aw: claw, draw, paw, saw
- ay: day, hay, may, say
- eat: beat, feat, meat, seat
- ell: bell, fell, tell, well
- est: best, rest, vest, west
- ice: dice, mice, nice, rice
- ick: brick, kick, pick, sick
- ide: bride, hide, ride, side
- ight: bright, fight, light, night
- ill: bill, hill, pill, still
- in: bin, chin, grin, tin
- ine: dine, fine, mine, vine
- ing: bring, king, sing, wing
- ink: drink, link, pink, sink
- ip: chip, dip, lip, sip
- it: bit, fit, hit, sit
- ock: block, clock, rock, sock
- op: cop, hop, mop, top
- ore: bore, more, sore, tore
- ot: got, hot, not, rot
- uck: buck, duck luck, tuck
- ug: bug, hug, mug, rug
- ump: bump, dump, jump, pump
- unk: bunk, dunk, junk,sunk
Source: Richard E. Wylie and Donald D. Durrell, 1970. “Teaching Vowels Through Phonograms.” Elementary English 47, 787-791.
Word Family Framework
It shows how words within the same family are placed at different levels and is aimed at teachers who can use it to plan courses, syllabi and lessons. The WFF is the product of an ELT research award and was designed by Richard West.
What is the Word Family Framework (WFF)?
The WFF is a searchable resource for teachers and learners of English that consists of over 22,000 vocabulary items arranged according to six levels aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference.
Start using the Word Family Framework
- What can the WFF be used for?
- The WFF can be used by institutions, teachers and learners to construct target vocabularies for individual learning, syllabus and lesson planning, materials design and exam preparation. It can be used for two different types of vocabulary selection:
- ‘Vertical searches’
- Identifying all the vocabulary items at one CEFR level.
- Identifying all the vocabulary items at several CEFR levels.
- Identifying the CEFR level of an individual word or group of words.
- Identifying the CEFR levels of all the members of a word family in order to decide which items may be worth learning.
- Identifying unknown members of word families in order to extend a learner’s vocabulary.
How can the WFF be searched?
The WFF can be searched in three main ways:
1. For horizontal searches to look for a particular word or item, type the term you are looking for in the search box.
2. For vertical searches to find all the items at one or more CEFR levels, tick () all the CEFR levels you want.
3. To download the complete WFF, click the Download box.
How does the WFF link to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)?
The CEFR includes statements about the vocabulary range of a learner at each of six levels, A1 to C2.
The CEFR’s descriptors make quantitative statements about the learner’s vocabulary repertoire at each level, but stop short of stating how large this repertoire might be at each level, or which vocabulary items would be appropriate for each level. However, the CEFR invites users of the Framework to `consider and where appropriate state:
- which lexical elements (fixed expressions and single word forms) the learner will need/be equipped/be required to recognise and/or use;
- how they are selected and ordered.’
It is just this selection and ordering of lexical elements that the WFF offers to users.
How large is the WFF?
The WFF includes more than 22,000 words and vocabulary items. It starts with a list of some 6000 of the most common and useful headwords, arranged alphabetically for easy access.
Most headwords provide the starting point for a word family, which includes the cognates, derivatives and compounds which make up the family.
All family members are then presented across a number of levels, so that the relative value of each item may be quickly determined.
How were the words in the WFF chosen?
The vocabulary items presented in the WFF have been chosen from a survey of a large number of published sources and word lists produced in the UK, USA, Germany, Europe and China.
These lists vary in size and function, and the items in the lists were selected according to differing criteria.
The research that preceded the development of the WFF therefore began by surveying these lists in detail to identify the levels of agreement between these different sources. In this way, the WFF presents a consensus of views about the level of each vocabulary item.
How does the WFF differ from dictionaries and word lists?
Traditionally, dictionaries and word lists present lexical items in alphabetical order. The WFF, however, presents words in word families. Each family may include items that depart from strict alphabetical order.
So, for example, the family value includes words such as devalue, evaluate and invaluable, which would be widely separated from value, valuable and valueless in a conventional dictionary or list.
They are presented together here because it is widely believed that seeing words as members of a family rather than in isolation promotes effective vocabulary learning:
What is column X and how do I use it?
As can be seen here, in addition to the six levels aligned to the CEFR, the WFF includes a column X. This column includes extra members of word families which are either a) off the A1–C2 scale, or b) not included in the main scale because there is insufficient information in the research data. It presents items of various kinds:
Learners and teachers may select from column X the items which they find useful and easy to learn or teach. In this way, the WFF allows users not only to select vocabulary at a particular level (vertical searching), but also to look across levels at items within the same family (horizontal searching).
What does the WFF not include?
The WFF includes a wide range of over 22,000 items of English vocabulary. It covers both British and American English, with variant spellings (honour/honor) and variant terms (lift/elevator).
However, it is a framework of general English and so it does not include vocabulary items from academic, business, scientific or technical English.
Neither does it include dialect or obsolete words found outside the common core of British or American English.
Can I adapt the WFF to my own context?
It is recognized that the WFF may not be fully appropriate for all learners or all learning situations.
For this reason, the WFF will incorporate an interactive dimension, and users are invited to discuss their views and the ways they use the WFF with the British Council and other users in the WFF discussion forum (click for access).
Our intention is that this discussion will lead to the introduction of a facility which will enable users to download and adapt the WWF to their particular local contexts.
Word Family Units
Word Family Unit: -ack Words
Print a matching game, a reading slider, a word wheel, flashcards, and a mini-book to help students learn to read words in the -ack word family. Words include: pack, back, rack, jack, snack, and black.
Word Family Unit: -ad Words
This week's word family unit contains words that end in -ad. Print out a word wheel, flashcards, a match game, and more! Words: pad, glad, sad, bad, dad, mad, and had.
Word Family Unit: -ag Words
This unit is centered on words that end in -ag. Try out the reading slider, flashcards, and other worksheets. Includes: snag, bag, wag, nag, tag, sag, and rag.
Word Family Unit: -ail Words
This unit is packed with printable activities for words that end in -ail. Includes a trace and write worksheet, matching game, mini-book, and more! Mail, snail, nail, tail, sail, trail, fail, and pail.
Word Family Unit: -ain Words
This week's word family unit features words that end with -ain. Print out a word wheel, tracing worksheets, and flashcards. Words include: train, drain, rain, gain, chain, brain, main, and pain.
Word Family Unit: -ake Words
Download and print a matching game, flashcards, a word-slider, and more in this week's word family unit focusing on words that end in -ake.
Word Family Unit: -all Words
Words that end with -all are the focus for this word family unit. This unit includes printable tracing worksheets, flashcards, and a word slider.
Word Family Unit: -am Words
This unit includes the words ham, jam, Sam, clam, slam, yam, ram, and swam. You'll find a printable word wheel, letter slider, flashcards, and worksheets.
Word Family Unit: -an Words
The -an word family includes the words man, pan, ran, than, van, can, plan, and fan.
Word Family Unit: -and Words
Download and print a matching game, flashcards, a word-slider, and more in this week's word family unit focusing on words that end in -and.
Word Family Unit: -ap Words
The -ap word family unit features words that end in -ap. Try the flashcards, matching game, word wheel, and more! Map, tap, gap, nap, trap, lap, cap, and snap.
Word Family Unit: -at Words
Download and print a word slider, flash cards, and other worksheets featuring words that end in -at. Words include: hat, sat, bat, flat, that, mat, cat, and rat.
Word Family Unit: -ate Words
This week's word family unit features words that end in -ate. Print out a word wheel, tracing worksheets, and flashcards. Words: date, state, rate, skate, late, gate, mate, and plate.
Word Family Unit: -aw Words
This unit is centered on words that end with -aw. Try out the reading slider, flashcards, and other worksheets. Includes: jaw, claw, law, straw, saw, raw, draw, and paw.
Word Family Unit: -ay Words
The -ay word family unit includes the words: may, clay, way, pay, jay, bay, and say. You'll find a printable word wheel, letter slider, flashcards, and worksheets.
Word Family Unit: -eal Words
The -eal family of words contains the words: teal, deal, meal, seal, real, steal, and heal. Print out a word wheel, word slider, tracing worksheets, and more!