Lesson 1: Word Families and Long Vowel Review


Activity 1.1: Shared Reading

Each lesson will begin with a Shared Reading that you will read with your child. Encourage him to point to the words as you read the message together. He can use his finger, a pen, or a pencil as a pointer. To add some fun, you might consider using a unique object, such as a toothbrush, a paintbrush, or a "magic wand."

Shared Readings serve multiple purposes:
  • They model how we read from left to right and top to bottom,
  • they expose your child to high-frequency words that will become part of his sight word collection, and
  • they introduce new vocabulary.
Read the "Shared Reading Semester 1, Lesson #1" to your child (found in the Shared Reading book in your kit), pointing to each word as you say it, and then ask him to read it to you (as you help him sound out words as needed). Encourage him to point to the words, along with individual letters and blends, as he reads them:
You already know how to read a lot of words, but there are many more words to learn. This week, you will review many vowel sounds and will create word families. It should be a fun week!
One you've finished reading the message with him, pose the following questions:
  • What vowel sound does the word "read" have? (long e) Which other word has the same vowel sound and appears twice in the message? ("week")
  • Which word in the message rhymes with "sun"? ("fun") What vowel sound do both of these words have? (short u)
  • What vowel sound does the word "know" have? (long o)
  • Which words start with a capital letter? (You, This, It) Why do those words start with a capital letter? (the first word in a sentence always begins with a capital letter)
NOTE: If your child has trouble answering the short/long vowel questions, remind him as needed about short and long vowel sounds (and that long vowel sounds say their name).
  • short a is the vowel sound in "rat"; long a is the vowel sound in "rate"
  • short e is the vowel sound in "red"; long e is the vowel sound in "reed"
  • short i is the vowel sound in "bit"; long i is the vowel sound in "bite"
  • short o is the vowel sound in "rod"; long o is the vowel sound in "rode"
  • short u is the vowel sound in "cub"; long u is the vowel sound in "cube"
NOTE: The Shared Readings and readers for this reading level may include words your child does not remember from the previous reading level or patterns he has not learned yet. As your child reads, be sure to provide time for him to sound out words on his own. Encourage him to use the context of the words around him as clues to what the unfamiliar word could be. Also use the tips on the "Teaching Your Child to Sound Out Words" page to help with the decoding process.

Activity 1.2: Short Vowel Word Families

Using the lowercase letter cards, spell the following words (you can write them on the laminated writing sheet if you prefer), and ask your child to read them aloud:
mat, fan, lab, tag, sat, bag, hit, fin, dig, lip
If your child is a strong reader and is ready for additional challenge, you may wish to ask him to read the following words as well. These words contain digraphs and blends, which will be reviewed in a future lesson. (A consonant digraph is a combination of consonants that makes one sound — like sh or th — and in a consonant blend the combined consonants keep their own sounds — like st and fr.)
flat, slab, twig, slip, chat
Explain that each word belongs to a word family in which the words have letters and sounds in common. For example, "tag" and "bag" are in the same word family. "Mat" and "sat" are also in the same word family (and so are "flat" and "chat" if your child has read those words). If he read the challenge words, you may point out that "dig"/"twig" and "lip"/"slip" are more examples of word families.

Now, give your child the "Short Vowel Families #1" pages, and explain that he is going to write words to create word families in the boxes provided as you read the words aloud. For example, if you read "gap," your child should write that word in the "ap" word family box. Read at least two words for each family in mixed-up order from the lists provided below. Encourage your child to sound out each letter of the word as he writes it. If he needs extra support, he can use the lowercase letter cards to figure out the spelling before he writes the word.

If your child grows tired of writing, he can point to the box to show which word family a word belongs to, and you can neatly write the word for him. You can also spread this activity out over Days 1 and 2.

Possible words are as follows. Use the words that begin with digraphs and blends if your child is ready for them. Otherwise, read only the three-letter words.
  • at: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, rat, pat, sat, vat, chat, that, slat, flat, brat, splat
  • ap: cap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, tap, snap, slap, flap, trap, scrap, strap
  • an: ban, can, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van, than, scan, span, plan
  • ab: cab, gab, lab, nab, dab, tab, scab, slab, crab, grab
  • ag: bag, jag, gag, lag, nag, rag, tag, sag, wag, stag, swag, flag
  • ad: bad, dad, had, lad, mad, pad, sad, glad
  • am: bam, ham, jam, ram, yam, sham, scam, spam, swam, clam, slam, tram, scram
NOTE: Your child will complete many pages during these reading lessons, creating a great collection of words he's worked with over time. Store these pages in a 1" or larger binder or in a large accordion folder so that he can revisit words as he adds to his word collection. If you find that there are words that he consistently struggles to read or recall, you may want to write them on index cards to use as flash cards and review them more frequently.