One of my favorite things to do as a mom is teach my kids to read. We start by reading tons of books together, work on phonemic awareness, continue by learning letters and sounds, and then move on to sounding out words.
I’m excited to share something I’ve been working on for some time — 8 short a word family mats! I call them “Read ‘n Stick” because my kiddo reads the word cards and sticks them to the pictures using velcro dots.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
What are word families?
Word families are groups of words that share the same ending. For example, the words cat, fat, and mat all belong to the “-at” word family.
Word Family Mats
Why use Read ‘n Stick Mats?
1) They’re hands-on. My son enjoys reading the words and sticking them to the pictures. Flash cards? Not so much.
2) The visual aid of the pictures gives an extra clue for beginning readers. It makes the reading task more manageable.
3) They’re vocabulary builders. I’d love to make all eight words familiar ones – like crab and cab. But there aren’t enough of them! The bonus if that your child’s vocabulary expands when you teach him words like slab and gab.
How do you use them?
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) My mats were constantly getting misplaced until I punched holes in them and stored them in a 3-ring binder.
4) Take off all the cards. Have your child read the name of the family in the center of the board. Then have him read each card and match it to the picture. You will be teaching new vocabulary along the way when he gets stuck on a particular word (“What’s a stag?”).
5) After a few times of doing this with you, this is something your child might be able to do himself.
Here are a couple of the mats in the collection:
Get all my Read ‘n Stick Mats
Get your free word family mats!
Decodable Fluency Pyramids – Level 1 – CVC, Digraphs, Blends & more
These 34 fluency pyramids will help your students read CVC words and words with blends and digraphs!
I just downloaded the short a word family mats and I noticed that you have the “ap” mat twice and the “at” one is missing. The “at” word cards are there though. This is a fabulous resource.
Thank you! It takes me a long time to get to freebie edits, but I will file this away!
I’m guessing this is why the download link doesn’t work. I’ll check back for it another time.
hey there! I absolutely love these! we’ll be driving about 14 hours to the gulf in a couple weeks and I want to get these ready for then!
not sure if i’m doing something wrong but I can’t get to the short a pages… it just redirects me to the same page with the links to them all but can’t get the a’s…
This is Kate, Anna’s assistant. After you enter your email address, the file should be sent to you immediately. I just tested it to make sure it works. 🙂 You’ll open the email and click on a blue link that says, “CLAIM YOUR OFFER.” If you can’t find the email right away, please be sure to check your spam/junk and promotions folders. Thanks for giving it another try!
I just found you and your website today whilst searching for word family printables. I am trying to work on this with my 6 yr old who is on the spectrum but is really trying his best to blend and having a little trouble. BUT he tries and I am thankful for having found your resources.
I have a few Questions first is that : do you have printables for ax,all, and, ask word families? Maybe I missed them.
and secondly to have the same type of images for the other word families, do I need to purchase the printables pack or have I missed those too?
Hello – sorry for the delay in answering this question! The free mats I have are what you see here; the paid version is here: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/product/short-vowel-word-family-mats/
I do not have anything for the ax words because there aren’t enough to make a full mat. I did not make a mat for ask and and because I wasn’t focusing on ending blends. I do have a mat for all, but it’s in the “long vowels and more” paid bundle: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/product/44-word-family-mats-for-long-vowel-words/
Were can i buy the clear dot velcro? I have looked around on Amazon, a link to the ones you recommend might be helpful.
Hi Jeimy! This is my affiliate links for the dots that we get:
Thank you so much for these fabulous game mats. I’m a Dyslexia and Literacy specialist and games are always so much more effective for children with no literacy confidence. I’ve made a big collection of my own phonic games over the years and can’t overestimate their value.
Wishing you all the best,
Jane (in Scotland!)
You’re very welcome, Jane! I’m so glad you can use these!
This is so wonderful!
Thanks a bunch. Am enjoying it every bit and hope to use them with my kids.
You’re very welcome, Charity!
Hi…i unable to download you word family booklets…kindly post the link to diwnliad…your help will be highly appreciated…thankyou
Try the tips here if you’re still having trouble! https://www.themeasuredmom.com/how-to-download-free-files/
Of all the free, printable, homeschooling resources I have seen on the web, I find yours the most helpful! Thank you for making them available. My 4 1/2 year old is learning SO much from your word mats, and I can’t wait to start using the beginning sounds mats with my almost 3 year old. (I’m trying to hold off until he is a little more ready, but hoping it will be soon.) I love how the word mats have very simple CVC words, as well as some with consonant blends and even a few with tricky silent letters. They are are great practice for a beginning reader and a great introduction to new rules. Thank you!!!!
You’re very welcome, Christy! Thanks so much for your kind comment, too. I’m a tired and cranky mama today after being up at night with our newborn, so I needed the encouragement. 🙂
Great mats! Only point to make is that the font used for the “a” on the mat versus card was different and could confuse a toddler.
Hmm, are you sure? I do think I used the same font. But if font style was confusing a child may not be old enough to use these. I wouldn’t use them with a toddler.
those are great items!!! i downloaded them all~!!!! and add you in my bookmarks~!!!! thanks a lot!
I’m so glad you can use them, Jany! Here are even more free phonics printables: https://www.themeasuredmom.com/word-families/
Hi! I keep getting a message that the download page no longer exists. Is there another link I should try?
Thanks so much. These are great to help my emerging readers. Just what I needed.
You’re very welcome , Heather!
thank you very much!
You’re very welcome!
Thank you so much for all the wonderful printables! I’ve been using the word family mats with my kindergarten class. They are great for small group reading rotation!
That’s great to hear, Janna! Thanks so much for commenting to let me know how you’re using them in your classroom. Love to hear it!
Thank you so much for these! My son is a visual learner, so they will be a great help.
You’re very welcome, Yesenia! Enjoy!
Anna, what excellent ideas you have got and thanks a zillion for sharing them…I was groping for something like these and the family mats & cards is an amazing idea…My four yrs 9 months daughter is struggling with spellings and how to put together sounds to make words.
Hi, Smita! I have found that my kids are able to start sounding out words somewhere around age 4, but every child is different. Working with word families has really helped. The word family houses are simpler and easier if you’d like to try something like that. You can find them on my Free Printables page.
Love your word family mats! I am going to use them in my Daily 5 word work rotation in my kindergarten classroom! You have a wonderful website:) Thank you for all of your hard work!
Somehow I missed your comment from way back in September – sorry about that, Carolee!! I am so happy to hear you are finding things on my website to use in your classroom. Love, love, love when teachers find me! I’ll be sharing short e read ‘n stick mats tomorrow and the final set before Christmas. Enjoy your December!
These are wonderful. I would absolutely buy access to large sets of these. Thank you for making them available. You should seriously think about selling these as pdf’s on Etsy or something.
Thank you so much, Sarah! I actually couldn’t sell these because I used MS Office clip art. It would require purchasing clip art and recreating these in order to sell them. I hope to offer some sort of e-book for purchase in the future, but that will have to wait until I find myself a little less busy. Considering we’re expecting a baby in January, that will probably not be any time soon :).
I hope you get a lot of use out of them!
Deb @ Living Montessori Now
Thanks so much for all the free printables you share, Anna! I really appreciate all your creative and helpful ideas! I featured your Short A Read ‘n Stick Mats as the Free Printable(s) of the Day at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and on Pinterest. 🙂
Thank you SO much, Deb! I’ll also let you know that I’m featuring your “Grace and courtesy” post at the After School Linky on Monday. 🙂 And I’m working on the short i read ‘n stick mats for later this month!
Deb @ Living Montessori Now
Awesome! Thanks so much! 🙂
I just found these a few days ago, decided to print the -at family for my son (we recently finished the -at family, so great review). Well, he loved it so much he insisted I print them all! LOL He especially liked the blends, which I hadn’t started working on with him yet. Thanks so much for this!
Your comment made my day, Kristine! Thanks so much for sharing! A good reminder to get working on those short i mats soon… on my to do list in the next month!
Sorry, KristinA 🙂
Thanks for sharing these. I am a special education teacher and have little ones who are struggling readers. These are great activities and encourage the students to actually read in order to cover their match. This is a hands on activity that they love and I love too.
Thanks again for sharing!
Thanks so much for your comment, Janna! I love to hear that these are being used in school, especially for struggling readers!
Thank you so much! You have the same name as my daughter. Anna–from the Hebrew “Hanan”–grace and favor. 🙂
It’s a timeless name, isn’t it? Present in every generation and in so many cultures! “Grace and favor” is a beautiful meaning – I have always heard “graceful,” which doesn’t exactly describe me 🙂
These mats are awesome just like all of your printables. As a mom with 3 active boys from 15 months to 6 with another on the way, it’s hard to find time to make up printables. That’s why I’m so grateful for amazing moms like you who can not only find the time to come up with all these wonderful ideas but offer them for free. You make me look like super mom to my boys’ speech therapist who marvels at your at handiwork and loves to incorporate your printables into their sessions.
Thank you for all that you do!!
Thanks so much, Shonnon – your comment made my day! Making printables is kind of my brain drain – it’s a break from all the regular chaos at our house and I love it 🙂 I’m glad I found a way to share them – it also keeps me inspired to stay on task at making them for my own kids. I know what it’s like to have active kids and be pregnant! Our kids are age 18 months – 6 years and I’m pregnant too. Some days are great – and – well, some does are not. I love having a blog which gives me one part of my life which is neat and organized. 🙂
I love these mats! They are especially nice because of the color in each one is different and a mark on the back of the cards matches up the mat to the card. Thank you so very much. Can’t wait to see more mats. Please let me know if you are selling any. Thanks
I’m so glad you can use the word family mats. Great idea about marking the backs of the cards so they match the boards – I hadn’t thought of that. I look forward to making and sharing more… but it might be a while. Thanks for the reminder to start working at that! I would expect some out this summer. So far all my printables are free, so no selling yet. It all just depends on how much computer time I can work in around being a mom of four little ones 🙂
These are wonderful! DD loved learning with these. We used ab and an and I just printed off the rest. Thank you so much for offering these – they’re just what we needed!
So glad to hear it, Sheryl! I hope to have another word family printable this week – so be sure to check back 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca! I really appreciate the pin.
This looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I will be using these soon with my six year old to build more word families and vocab into his treasury of words he is confident in!
I’m so glad you can use them, Jeniver!
What a great idea. You have made excellent fun cards and a way for hands-on learning.
Janis Cox – Author of Tadeo Turtle
Thank you, Janis!
Yeah! I’m so excited to try these with my son. He is an ACTIVE 4 year old, almost 5 year old, who does not like worksheets. I have to work extra hard with him because his attention span is short. These will be perfect because we can do them together and then he can do them himself. Thanks for creating these. Since I taught Kindergarten for 5 years and I have been teaching preschool for 7 years, it is hard for me to think outside the box and be more creative with my own son. 🙂
I’m right there with you, Sarah — my 4 1/2 year is a BUNDLE of energy and has been since the very beginning! It takes some time to assemble these, but I think it’s worth it.
These are soooo clever!!! I am a kindergarten teacher and this will be perfect to help my little ones who are struggling! I will share with the rest of my team!!! Thank you so very much for sharing this great idea!!!!!!
Yay, I’m so glad when teachers find my stuff. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing it, Ellen!
Thank you for sharing your great word mats. You are so generous to share all of those!
You’re welcome, Amy – I hope they work well for you!
These are great–thanks so much! I’m printing these and look forward to using them soon. 🙂
Thank you, Sarah! I popped over to your blog. I don’t know much about Montessori but hope to learn more — I subscribed to your blog by e-mail.
Awesome resource! Thanks for sharing, I will be using these with my little guys.
So glad you like them, Becky Marie! Thanks for visiting!
These are wonderful! I can use these with my intervention groups to help them with word families. Thanks so much for sharing!!
Reading Toward the Stars
Thank you, Andrea – I’m so glad other kids will benefit from them!
This is great…your posts are very valuable. I am pinning this to my Look What We Did – Phonics board.
Thank you, Savannah! I hope a lot of kids can use them.
LOVE these! Thank you so much! I have recently been noticing the lack of actual simple reading games for purchase that I can recommend to parents of early readers and these are perfect…not to mention free. Thank you!!
Ruth, you made my day! You are the kind of person I want to reach… a teacher who has a connection to parents who need at-home resources. I do plan to make more reading props for parents, and they will all be free — so stay tuned! Please do share with any parents or teachers who could use them. I visited your blog and am now a subscriber. Loved your bio, by the way. The overhead projector was a big draw in my wanting to be a teacher, too. 🙂 Also the wielding of the red pen…
Thanks so much for sharing. These are great.
Thank you, Niki! I hope they prove useful for you!
Thank you for the link to your linky part, Beth! I hope to be there weekly.
Vicky @ Mess For Less
These will really come in handy. Thanks for sharing. Just pinned!
Thank, you Vicky! I hope your girls enjoy them.
Hi Sarah! I’m glad you can use them! I hadn’t thought of using them in the car — great idea! We’ll be going to CA this summer too, but we are FLYING. You will need a lot of mats for that car ride 🙂
Shaunna @ Fantastic Fun and Learning
These are terrific! My daughter is eager to “learn words” as she says, and I think she would really enjoy these mats.
Thank you, Shaunna! I subscribed to your blog by e-mail recently and have really enjoyed your content!
Anna, these look great! I have been looking for things for the kids to do when we drive to CA this summer. This will be a perfect activty for Joshua to do in the car.
Hi Sarah! I’m glad you can use them! I hadn’t thought of using them in the car — great idea! We’ll be going to CA this summer too, but we are FLYING. You will need a lot of mats for that car ride