Today I’m sharing a set of printable books to help your child master the short a word families!
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Have you seen my sets of free sight word readers? With 88 books at last count, it’s a giant collection of themed little books that help your child master the basic sight words. They can be used to supplement your reading curriculum or to use alongside This Reading Mama’s free beginning reading curriculum.
But what about those little phonetic words? Like cat, hop, and pin?
But sometimes you need a little something extra.
Introducing… my Measured Mom Phonics Readers! (featuring word families)
I created these as a stepping stone for my Four, who knows about 20 sight words quite well – but hasn’t grasped “sounding it out” with ease. He gets the concept and can sound out a short word with help, but it’s not automatic.
This is my little guy who’s always loved having his own little books. In fact, I created my little letter books for him. Those books of songs and rhymes helped him to learn his letters. My little sight word readers have helped him learn concepts of print and basic sight words.
So I thought… why not create a new set of little books? These would have a new purpose: to help him learn to “sound it out.”
What these books are (and are not!)
- My Measured Mom Phonics Readers are not stories. Writing a story with word family words that makes any kind of sense is extremely hard. Sorry, but I’m just not that creative. (If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll love the Rhyme to Read app!)
- The books are not entirely phonetic. I am not crazy about books with words you can only sound out. They are typically awkward, contrived, and hard to make sense of.
- My Phonics Readers are simple. These are for children just starting to sound out words. For children who are starting to read short vowel words with ease, you’ll want to look into other decodable books.
- These readers are designed to use by themselves or alongside Reading the Alphabet. This Reading Mama introduces the word family “at” in lesson 7, which makes that a perfect spot to stop and read this set. (Of course I’ll be creating the other short vowel sets for lessons 14, 20, 26, and 31!)
- These books are designed to be companions to my sight word readers. If your child is reading through them, he might be ready to try these short a word family readers after set 5.
Inside a book
After reading the word family name on the cover, your child will open the book and read the opening sentence: “I can read the ___ family.” The page on the right will be a word within that family. I chose to make these words big, bold, and colorful. The word family ending matches the color on the cover so that your child can begin to recognize the word family and read it as a chunk.
You’ll also notice there is no picture clue on that first page. I want kids to really focus on the letters when reading the word for the first time.
When your child turns the page, he will read the word within a simple sentence using sight words that have been taught in my sight word readers. This set of short a books fits right after sets 1-5, in which the words a, the, see, I and look have been taught.
Next, your child has the chance to read another word within the family.
Turning the page, he can read it in a sentence and attempt another word. This pattern continues for a total of six word family words in each book. The end of each book often has a harder word with a digraph (ch, sh, th, wh) or a blend (fr, cl, etc.).
On the last page, your child can read each word in a long list of rhymes.
Tips for using these books with your child
- Make sure your child reads the cover before reading the book. Help him say the vowel and consonant sounds and blend them together.
- When reading the big new word, direct your child to the word family if he’s stuck. It’s not uncommon for a new reader to say that the word family is “am” but then read “ram” as “rat.” Help him flip back to the cover, identify the family, and then put that family at the end of the consonant. (“Remember to read all the way to the end of the word!”)
- Those words with beginning blends are tough for new readers. My little guy would read “c-l” and “am” but put them together as “cam.” Be patient and work on those words together. One day it will click!
- If your child enjoys these, give him many opportunities to read them. Read to Grandma over Skype, read to Daddy, read to himself. I suggested my Four read one of the books to Daddy, and I was thrilled when he decided to read the entire set.
- Celebrate! You might want to make a sticker chart with each book’s title. Let your child put up a sticker after he reads a particular book.
How to assemble
Each book will be two full sheets of paper, front to back. Cut on the horizontal center of each book. (I love our paper cutter! I’ve used it for years. A little pricey on Amazon, but you might be able to get it at Michaels with a coupon.)
Fit the pages together in their proper order.
Staple on the fold with a long-armed stapler.
I hope you love these! We’re pretty excited about them around here. 😉
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