After School Activity – Word Ladders Printable { Free }

word ladders literacy activity It’s conference week here and we have been so busy. I wasn’t going to post today until I saw this pin by Fun Games 4 Learning and was reminded of Word Ladders. I haven’t used them in many years ( since I was student teaching elementary school actually) but knew immediately my son who is home today would love them. So I made a quick and easy word ladders printable for him and thought why in the world am I not sharing this easy literacy activity with all of you. This is a perfect addition to our Learning After School series ( <— click to see the whole series). What I love is that you can play it the way that they suggest in the post as a game for two people or teams, or as an individual challenge with this printable.

Word ladder

Gather your materials. You will need a word ladder printable ( click on the image above and print) , a pencil, and a kid to do all the rest of the work!  I keep my printables simple so they don’t use up too much ink but you can make your own at picmonkey.com with as many cute graphics as you want!  To make this re-usable slip it in an acrylic document stand, or a document sleeve, and use a fine tip dry erase marker.word ladder supplies

 

Start by explaining that you are going to climb the ladder by changing just ONE letter in the word. With beginners doing a ladder together is a great idea. Then write the first word of their ladder to get them started. I find that when I let him do it he’d chose more obscure words and get stick a few rungs in. word ladder printable for after school activity

 

Next one is solo.thinking hard word ladder literacy activity for kids If you want more of a challenge set the timer and have your child go up against you in a timed race. Whoever writes down the most words in the time period wins!almost done word ladder activity for kids

 

Need a ladder idea for a much younger child? Check out our Ladder L letter craft!

 

Quick Link Supply List

This list includes affiliate links
Low-Odor Dry Erase Markers, Ultra-Fine Point
Avery Heavy-Duty Plastic Sleeves
Acrylic document stand

 

 

Word Building With Letter Magnets & Word Families

word family activity with letter magnets As children get a firm grasp on letter sounds they will be able to manipulate those sounds to create new ones.  My daughter has been playing with letter sounds for a while ( I think she is desperate to catch up to her big brother) and rhyming is one of her favorite things to do. All of her time rhyming has definitely helped her be able to isolate and substitute sounds and I wondered if she was ready for some word families. She was. I chose the word families that we used in this activity ( all, ap, at, it ) because she can sound them out without help. I wanted her to be able to build the words without me, because you are using masking tape you can easily switch up the word families as your child develops.

 

Gather your materials. You will need some masking tape, some letter magnets ( try to find ones that are fully magnetic instead of having little magnets glued on the back to be safe) , a cookie sheet, and a marker. The older brother overseeing the activity is completely optional. word building word families with magnets supplies

 

Add a few strips of masking tape on your cookie sheet.Write the word families you want to work on with your child. You can do a few or stick to just one. Here is a list of the 37 most common word families. word building with magnets

Take a few moments to have your child sound out the word families for you to make sure that this activity will be challenging but not impossible. When we give children challenges they grow but if we give them impossible tasks we end up discouraging them and sending them the message that learning is too hard for them. word building with magnets

 

Add a bunch of letter magnets ( I had 3 packs available) and help your child do the first modeling sounding out the word family and then adding the first sound and sounding out the word again.  Then let them at it.word building with word families

She started adding the magnets then sounding them out with her brother overseeing under strict instructions “To let her do it herself.” Sometimes she’d add one that didn’t make sense, he’d shake his head ,  and she’d just remove it and try with another letter. After a few letters he declared he wasn’t needed and left. I left words that she sounded out but might not know the definition of like pall. Even though should couldn’t tell me what a pall was she was sounding out the words correctly so I decided to leave it be. When kids are a little older I would ask is that a real word? Then ask them to look it up to find out.word building with letter magnets

I am so happy I caught this picture. After she made a word it was so amazing to her she turned to me saying ” Mama I did it again!” as if the other times were just flukes. I LOVE moments like this when kids take ownership of their abilities. She KNEW she could do it at that moment and continued to build the rest of the words.word building learning is fun

We will do this again soon with a few of these word families and mix in one or two new ones. Remember kids love repetition, it feels good to know what to expect and it gives them a chance to master something.word building with magnets and cookie sheets

 

Word Families Printable – Write & Wipe !

word family sheetsI was shopping for new office furniture for me yesterday when I saw these document stands. I knew I had to do something with them. I’d seen them used in preschool over on teachpreschool.org and my daughter used them like that today. Then I decided to adapt them for my big guy. We’ve been reading a lot all summer long but haven’t been doing too many targeted learning activities. I thought this would be a fun way to add a little bit of novelty to a classic word family activity . Using these document stands means that you only need a a few printables for many kids. You can write the word families they are working on , fill out a few words yourself if they need prompts or nothing at all. It’s completely customizable! He did 4 today and I will be whipping it out again later this week for a little more practice!

If word families are new for you this is a great explanation of what word families are and a wonderful list of the most common ones used.

This post contains affiliate links.

Gather your materials. You will need the blank word family printable , a document stand ( affiliate link), some dry erase or window markers ( the finer the tip the better), and you might want a list of word families too. Trust me you know this but when it comes time to think of some a list is a great thing to fall back on.

word family blank

Print out this image. Click on it and print.

word family printable

Choose two word families for your child to fill the houses up with. I used “harder” ones because this is review for my guy who is going into 2nd grade. For beginners I would start with ONE family at a time. Word families are not just groups of rhyming words, children can usually identify rhymes much earlier than when they are ready for these activities. Word families are for noticing patterns in the written words and using those patterns for strengthening skills in reading and spelling.

Write the word family on the roof and examples if you want on the line.word family houses for kindergarten

Add your kiddo word family house word workand let them go for it! My son actually said to me ” Oh wow I have to think like a student again!” word families

Wipewrite and wipe word family activity for kindergarten

Write different families out.word family houses spelling and reading

Fill again!

Books About Families

All our book lists include affiliate links.

dad and pop

 

Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers by Kelly Bennett is a simple but powerful book about a little girl with two dads. One is her biological father and the other is her step father. She compares and contrasts them but in the end the fact remains they both love her. This book doesn’t go into custody agreements, how old the little girls was when she met her now stepfather, or why her parents divorced because that’s not what this book is about. This book is about bonds between a child and the men who love her. If your child isn’t familiar with families that include step parents this is a good book to explain them.

The Family Book

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. It makes mention of some families having  two moms or two dads in the same vein as all the other similarities and differences. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while families may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations ,and children love it.

all the way

All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is a wonderful story about immigration and family tradition. My kids both liked the story of the Yaccariono family and how they came to settle in America from Italy. Throughout the story there is one little shovel that gets used for all different things generation after generation. It’s a great symbol for how family roots can stay strong even if how we express them changes. I liked being able to compare it to my own immigration to the United States and how different it was for me in 2003 vs the author’s great grandfather over a hundred years earlier. Good book to talk about how people came to the United States and why people move from country to country.

 

 

Spin & Rhyme

by Kim

Title Pic

Rhyming is such a crucial part of reading. Not to mention it can be plain out fun and silly at times. Banana-nana-fo-fana (you now have that stuck in your head, sorry). Here is a super easy activity that encourages rhyming, word families, and practices breaking down words to read.

Supplies

Supplies:

  • Paper towel roll
  • Dry cleaner hanger
  • Scissors
  • Marker

Cut your paper towel roll into sections.

Cut tube

Write the ending sound of a word on a section. You can write another word fragment on other sides, too. I wrote “an” and “at” on this one.

Rhyme 2

Rhyme 1

Now write letters or the first sounds of words on another piece of cut tube. You can throw in some weird ones that will not make words to get some giggles, too.

First sound

first sound 2

While I was writing, I had some help. Little sister loved helping out with writing all over her piece. She is actually a lefty, so this is photo is hilarious to me. At least she is interested. ;)

Playing

Pull out one end of the hanger from the bar.

Remove bar

Slide your tube pieces on and replace the hanger end back inside the bar.

make a rhyme 2

Now your child can spin the first letter (or sound) of the word to make different words.

make a rhyme

You can practice rhyming as you go through them. It is fun to sing out the words and maybe dance a bit, too. But we are pretty active around here and I am sure your house is just as wild spirited.

On the go

My favorite thing about this is that it transports so easily. I know we can grab it and take it to another room without messing it up and causing a meltdown. It hangs easily on the toilet paper roll holder so we can play while we take our extra long potty breaks. It keeps my kids engaged while I do things in the kitchen and even can hang on the back of mommy’s seat in the van for playing while we run errands.

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we do.

 
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, a first grader and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Word Family Game

how to teach your child to read

Reading isn’t the only way you can work on reading skills ( although please do read as much and as often as you can ! ) you can also play games to build skills and confidence. This game is designed to work on word family knowledge. Word families are groups of words that share common combination of letters and similar sound.  When new readers play with word families they become more confident as they see the common ending and can quickly read the new word. This game was great as my son read words without surrounding context successfully because of the other words in the family acting as a scaffold.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some magazines or family photos you can cut up, construction paper, double stick tape , painter’s tape, scissors and a marker. teach your child to read
  2. Start by making your frames. Simply fold the construction paper in half and cut the middle out.
  3. Next cut moms, dads, babies and kids out.  Tape them to construction paper making sure you leave room on the bottom to write the words under the people.
  4. Cut out and write the words. The best list of word families I have ever found was here . I tried to do some words I knew he’d find “easy” and others that would be more of a challenge, his reading ability is changing so quickly I was honestly unsure of exactly what would be sweet spot for his learning. Do not be afraid to try something , you can change it as you go if need be. reading game
  5. I taped the frames to the table using painter’s tape. Then I wrote out the family name but when we do this again I will be leaving these off and instead placing one word /family member in the frame to start. These titles really confused my son . After he matched up a person into the family he was golden. I’d suggest skipping the names and just taping the frames.
  6. Play.reading game
  7. He was unsure at first .
  8. But he did it ! The confidence grew quickly.
  9. Soon he was being his old goofy self saying ” Here is your Mama baby !”
  10. The ail family was the tricky one for him and when he completed the family he exclaimed ” I did it!” which is music to any parent or teacher’s ears.

To make this simpler try having 2-3 family members already in the frames and only fill in the blank with a missing family member instead of having to create the whole family.

To make it more challenging provide the frames and family members with no family names ( an, ack, ail…) at the start. Let your child sort and group with no starting point.

Books About Families

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne is a wonderful book about grandparents who are raising their grand daughter.  There is no long drawn out explanation about where her parents are, or what led to her grandparents having custody and I don’t think there needs to be. They are her parents, love her, snuggle her, read with her and love her just like any parents.  She does wonder about her parents and shows signs of feeling different but the security and love her grandparents provide overcome those insecurities. The author’s note at the back of the book explains that she herself is raising her grandchild and offers more resources for grandparents who are primary caregivers as well.

Daddy and I… by Eloise Greenfield is a great little board book about the every day things that a toddler son may help his dad with.  From painting, to shopping to stopping for some hugs this book is great for toddlers to see all the things that make up being a dad and caring for your family. It also has a great lesson about children pitching in to help keep a family going too.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee . The concept is simple but the results are wonderful. The book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter ( who is 14 months) points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my 14 month old doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.