Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Young children’s brains can only manipulate two chunks of information at a time.  That’s why onsets and rimes are so meaningful for beginning readers.  ONSET refers to the consonant or blend at the beginning of the word.  RIME refers to the vowel and letters following it.

Word Families
Sing this song to the tune of “BINGO.”
            There is word family you should know
            And at is it’s name-o.
            M-a-t, mat
            H-a-t, hat
            C-a-t, cat
            They end in at you know.
*Write the words on a chart and point to them as you sing.
*Sing word families to the tune from “The Addams Family.”
            “There’s cat and there’s hat.  There’s mat and there’s rat.
            There’s fat and there’s bat.  The ‘at’ family!”
Cut paper the size of square and rectangular unit blocks.  Write onsets on the squares and rimes on the rectangles.  Children put blocks together and read words. 

Rime Eggs
Using plastic eggs, write an onset with a permanent marker on one half of the egg and a rime on the other.  Children twist the egg and read the words.  (I’ve started covering the writing with transparent tape because it rubs off otherwise.)
*You can do a similar thing with two plastic cups.  Write the rime on the first cup
and insert it in the second cup.  Write onsets on the second cup and twist to read new words.

Rime Books
Make step books or popsicle stick books and use them to reinforce word families.  (Do a search on my blog to learn how to make these books.)

Note!  It’s important to do real words as well as nonsense words.

Flower Rimes
Cut 4” circles out of construction paper.  Cut paper petals similar to the ones shown.  Children write the “rime” on the circle and then write words on the petals.

Unifix Cubes
Put stickers on unifix cubes and write letters on them.  (I’ve tried writing directly on the cubes with permanent markers, but they always rub off.)  Children make a rime and then use additional letters to make new words.
*Let children play this game with a partner.  One person makes a word and then the other friend must read it.

Letter Tins
Put magnetic letters in an empty tin of mints.  How many words can the children make with the letters?  Ask them to write a list of all the words.