What Are Word Families?

What are word families? They are groups of words that have a common feature or pattern. They have the same letter combinations — a similar sound — and they're a wonderful tool for those new to spelling.

What Are Word Families? What Are Word Families?
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Word Families List

According to the National Council of Teachers of English, there are 37 common word families. Below, we'll show you each word family, as well as example words that belong to each word family. Ready to get phonetic?

Word Families

ack

attack

black

hack

pack

quack

rack

snack

whack

ay

bay

clay

day

delay

gray

may

okay

play

ink

blink

drink

link

pink

rink

sink

stink

think

ain

brain

chain

complain

explain

gain

main

pain

rain

eat

beat

cheat

eat

heat

meat

neat

seat

treat

ip

chip

dip

drip

flip

grip

hip

lip

ship

ake

awake

bake

cake

fake

make

rake

snake

take

ell

bell

dwell

farewell

fell

sell

shell

smell

tell

it

admit

bit

fit

hit

knit

pit

quit

split

ale

bale

gale

kale

male

pale

sale

scale

stale

est

best

chest

crest

nest

pest

rest

test

west

ock

block

clock

dock

flock

knock

lock

rock

sock

all

all

ball

call

fall

hall

install

mall

tall

ice

dice

ice

mice

nice

price

rice

slice

twice

oke

awoke

broke

choke

joke

poke

spoke

woke

yoke

ame

blame

came

fame

flame

frame

game

name

same

ick

brick

click

flick

kick

lick

pick

sick

trick

op

bop

chop

crop

drop

hop

mop

pop

shop

an

ban

can

clan

fan

man

pan

plan

ran

ide

bride

decide

hide

ride

side

slide

tide

wide

ore

chore

core

more

score

sore

store

tore

wore

ank

bank

blank

crank

drank

plank

prank

sank

thank

ight

bright

delight

fight

height

knight

right

sight

tonight

ot

blot

cot

dot

forgot

hot

knot

lot

spot

ap

cap

clap

flap

gap

lap

map

nap

trap

ill

bill

drill

hill

mill

pill

skill

still

will

uck

buck

chuck

cluck

duck

pluck

stuck

truck

tuck

ash

bash

crash

dash

flash

rash

sash

smash

splash

in

bin

chin

fin

grin

pin

skin

sin

thin

ug

bug

dug

hug

jug

mug

rug

shrug

snug

at

bat

cat

chat

flat

hat

mat

rat

sat

ine

decline

define

dine

fine

mine

pine

shine

vine

ump

bump

clump

dump

jump

plump

pump

slump

stump

ate

crate

date

gate

grate

late

plate

rate

state

ing

bring

cling

fling

king

ring

sing

thing

wing

unk

bunk

chunk

flunk

funk

junk

skunk

sunk

trunk

aw

claw

draw

flaw

jaw

law

paw

saw

straw

Spelling and Reading With Word Families

Word families help students learn to read, while building their vocabulary. Being able to recognize patterns and common phonetic sounds is the foundation for strong spelling skills. Of course, not every word in the English language can be simply sounded out, but this is an ideal place to start.

Let's take the word family "all" as an example. This will allow students to learn simple spelling words, such as "ball" and "call." But, that understanding can be built upon, when you consider how many other words belong to the "all" family. From "ball", students can advance to tougher words, such as enthrall, install, and squall.

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