I put the vowels on red construction paper and the consonants on blue. I choose children to come up and be the rime (the ending part of the word) -- they say their sounds, and then come together to make a new sound/ending. They keep their arms around each other and become one new sound. I then choose another child to come up and be the onset of the word. We practice segmenting each sound and blending them as well as by onset and rime. Sometimes the children understand the onset/rime right away, sometimes we need to take a bit longer and segment each sound.
When we practice blending, I tell them to get out their "sound arm." They hold their arm straight out and tap their shoulder, elbow and hand for each sound they hear. When they blend the word, they start out at their shoulder and slide their hand down saying the sounds fast. (Does that make sense?)
We practice the word family throughout the week - building the word on our dry erase boards, with letter tiles, and on the interactive white board. Sometimes I will give groups of students baggies with letter tiles and let them figure out all of the words they can make! We also talk about words that are real and words that are nonsense.
Kim Adsit (or click here) introduced me to a great new idea which she calls the "Word Family Book." I thought this was such a clever idea I had to do it right away! You need a steno notebook for each child (you can get them at Sam's club, and they are pretty reasonable!) Make a cute label for the cover.
Each week, we write a new word family in our books. I write it on chart paper or on the interactive white board. They write the words as we go in the word family book. They write the words on the left side on the middle red line. If we come to a word that does not follow the "rule" we write it on the right side. The kids really enjoy writing word families in their word family book!
On the other side of the word family book is the book of lists! More on that to come...