Word Family Ladders

Thanks to the wonderful idea of a reader, I’ve created these Word Family Ladders. They’re similar to my beginning sound Blend Ladders, but these contain 37 common word families for your children to work on.


Click here to download the Word Family Ladders

We use plastic alphabet letters or dry erase markers to make the as many words as we can for each family. This helps children recognize common word endings.

Here are some more ideas on practicing the word families:

1. Brainstorm with your child about all the words you can make for each family. Write them on your white board as you go.

2. Read the word family story from “AlphaTales” (Scholastic) – As you read the story have your child be a “word family detective” and see if they can spot all the words in that family!51oSJMgUKpL._SS400_

3. Use Word Family Ladders with the magnetic letters and see how many words you can make.


Click here to see my other K4 Curriculum Activities!

These activities are part of my K4 level expansion to my Letter of the Week Curriculum, click on the images below to see more activities!

K4button copy[8] LOTWlogo[5]

Hope you enjoy!

Here is the list of Word Families and suggestions for each:

–ab: cab, lab, blab, crab, flab, grab, scab, slab, stab

–ack: back, pack, quack, rack, black, crack, shack, snack, stack, track

–ag: bag, rag, tag, brag, flag

–ail: fail, mail, jail, nail, pail, rail, sail, tail, snail, trail

–ain: main, pain, rain, brain, chain, drain, grain, plain, Spain, sprain, stain, train

–ake: bake, cake, fake, lake, make, quake, rake, take, wake, brake, flake, shake, snake

–am: ham, Sam, clam, slam, swam

–an: can, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van, bran, plan, than

–ank: bank, sank, yank, blank, crank, drank, thank

–ap: cap, lap, map, nap, rap, tap, clap, flap, scrap, slap, snap, strap, trap, wrap

–at: bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, rat, sat, brat, chat, flat, spat, that

–ay: day, may, pay, say, clay, play, pray, spray, stay, tray

–eed: feed, need, seed, weed, bleed, freed, greed, speed

–ell: bell, fell, sell, tell, well, yell, shell, smell, spell, swell

–est: best, guest, nest, pest, rest, test, vest, west, chest, crest
–ew: dew, few, knew, new, blew, chew
–ick: kick, lick, pick, quick, sick, brick, chick, click, stick, thick, trick
–ight: knight, light, might, night, right, sight, tight, bright, flight, fright, slight
–ill: fill, hill, pill, will, chill, drill, grill, skill, spill, thrill
–in: bin, fin, pin, sin, win, chin, grin, shin, skin, spin, thin, twin
–ine: fine, line, mine, nine, pine, vine, wine, shine, spine, whine
–ing: king, ring, sing, wing, bring, cling, spring, sting, string, swing, thing
–ink: link, pink, sink, wink, blink, drink, shrink, stink, think
–ip: dip, hip, lip, rip, sip, tip, chip, clip, drip, flip, grip, ship, skip, strip, trip, whip
–ob: knob, mob, rob, blob, slob, snob
–ock: knock, lock, dock, rock, sock, block, clock, frock, shock, stock
–op: cop, hop, mop, pop, top, chop, crop, drop, flop, plop, shop, stop
–ore: bore, more, sore, tore, wore, chore, score, shore, snore, store
–ot: got, dot, hot, knot, lot, not, plot, shot, spot
–out: grout, scout, shout, spout, sprout
–ow: cow, how, now, brow, chow, plow
–uck: buck, duck, luck, cluck, stuck, truck
–um: gum, hum, drum, plum, slum
–unk: junk, chunk, drunk, shrunk, stunk, trunk
-y: by, my, cry, dry, fly, fry, shy, sky, spy, try, why

Hope you enjoy learning your Word Families!



  • L2L December 15, 2010 at 3:34 am

    oh this is an awesome list!!!!! Thank you. I have a felt phonic set and we love to practice decoding with those I'm going to use this for sure in the new year, thanks so much!!!

  • Amy December 15, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Thanks, they look good!

  • Amy December 15, 2010 at 6:15 am

    I love this! Thank you for all you do to put such fun and creative things together to make education fun. Sammy loves loves all this stuff… especially using the dry erase markers.

  • Lindsay December 15, 2010 at 8:14 am

    wow these are great!!

  • The Partains December 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Wow! Thank you so much!!!

  • Jennifer December 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Erica,Thanks for all your great ideas and designs–they've given me lots of new things to do with my 4 year old, especially now that it's winter & cold! I posted a link back to your blog for the Christmas Preschool Activities, my son loved them! Merry Christmas!http://meditationsfortheheart.blogspot.com/

  • BBat50 December 15, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    These are fantastic lists. Have you posted them for everyone to use on SpellingCity.com? Do you mind if I do? Alternatively, they have word lists organized by word families:http://www.spellingcity.com/spelling-curriculum.html

  • Leann @ MontessoriTidbits December 15, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    These are wonderful, and perfect for what we will be exploring within the next month.

  • Joede December 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm


  • Confessions Of A Homeschooler December 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    BBAT50: Not sure how to post them on Spelling City? You're welcome to as long as you link back to this post:http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2010/12/word-family-ladders.html That way people can get here to see more info on them.Thanks for help spreading the word!

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