Have you seen my collection of 5 free learning centers for learning short a word families? Now that my Four has developed ease and fluency with reading the short a words, we’re moving on. I’ve already created short i word family houses. Today I’m sharing more free word family printables: read ‘n stick mats!
Why teach reading with word families?
When I teach my kids to sound out words, I always start with word families. That’s because when children can read a word family with ease, they can transfer that knowledge to many other rhyming words. For example, if my Four can read “at,” he can read “cat,” “fat,” “sat,” and more.
Here are the short i word family words you’ll find in these printables:
ill: hill, drill, grill, bill, ill, mill, pill, fill
id: lid, mid, slid, hid, kid, bid, squid, grid
ick: stick, pick, sick, kick, trick, chick, lick, brick
it: knit, sit, kit, hit, lit, pit, bit, fit
in: pin, win, grin, fin, bin, spin, twin, chin
ig: dig, pig, wig, twig, jig, rig, big, sprig
ip: chip, flip, ship, trip, chip, drip, rip, tip
How do you use Read ‘n Stick Mats?
1) Print and laminate each mat on sturdy cardstock. I love this affordable home laminator and laminating sheets! Then print and laminate each set of cards. Cut them apart and stick velcro dots to the pictures and backs of the cards.
2) You can certainly print the mats and cards on plain paper, and have your child match them. However, for a more durable and lasting activity, I recommend #1. A bonus of the velcro dots is that you can store the mats without the cards getting lost — just stick them on!
3) Have your child take off all the cards. Then have him read the name of the family in the center of the board. Next, he should read each card and match it to the correct picture. You will be teaching new vocabulary along the way when he gets stuck on a particular word (“What’s a sprig?”).
5) After a few times of doing this with you, this is something your child might be able to do himself. You can pull out the binder for a reading warm-up before trying some early reading books — or if you’re not there yet, do a few Read ‘ Stick mats after you read books together. You could even put the binder in a bag and bring it along to the waiting room.
Why not use worksheets to teach sounding out words? They’re much quicker.
It may be quicker to give your child a worksheet rather than print and assemble a learning center or game — but it’s not nearly as effective.
1. Worksheets test. They don’t teach. While they may be valuable to assess what your child has learned, please don’t be mistaken that they are teaching a new concept.
2. Learning centers are hands-on, making them appealing and fun.
3. A variety of learning activities is best. A steady diet of worksheets won’t allow that.
Why Read ‘n Stick Mats?
Read ‘n Stick mats are just one way to practice reading word families. We use them alongside many other reading activities. I find these to be especially useful for a few reasons:
1. The picture clues are useful for children just learning to sound out words.
2. The learning activity can be as short or long as you make it – one mat can take just five minutes. For more of a challenge, do a few at a time. You can even mix up the words from several mats and have your child read the words and find the correct mat.
3. Kids love that ripping Velcro! There’s something so satisfying about ripping all the words off a mat, reading them one at a time, and sticking them to their correct spot.
4. As a bonus, your child will learn some new vocabulary words. It’s not possible to have eight well-known words easily represented by a picture – I have to throw in a few unfamiliar ones, too. For example, by doing the short i mats your child will learn the words bid, mill, and sprig.
Free word family printables for short i
Get all my Read ‘n Stick Mats
You will LOVE this bundle pack – get all the mats in two easy downloads – with new pictures!
P.S. Want to know more about teaching kids to read?
I created a free email series just for you!
- What kids need to know before they learn to sound out words
- How to use word families to teach kids to read
- Do’s and don’ts for teaching kids to “sound it out”
- Our favorite games, printables, and books for early literacy
- What to try when kids just aren’t getting it
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