I found a great idea on The Snail’s Tail. She really does a good job of explaining it on her site, but I’ll try to do it here too. The idea is to practice the consonants, blends, digraphs and common word families. I have to admit I was a tad intimidated to walk into Lowe’s and grab a whole pile of paint chips, but the lady was talking to me the whole time and didn’t seem to mind. (Note: I did try Home Depot first, but didn’t like their paint chips, they were mostly 1 color on a card and didn’t have the ones with the hole cut out. Though later, I decided the hole was too small and used a 1 1/4″ hole punch to make it bigger.) Here is the list of the phonograms she used. The Phonogram Page is a great site that lets your child hear the phonograms correctly. All About Spelling has a list of Phonograms and how to teach them.

Shopping List:

  • 13 long cards (6 colors to a card) or 26 short cards (3 colors to a card) for consonants, blends, and diagraphs
  • 34 cards that have the hole cut out…12 if there are 3 colors on a card.

Here is a sample of the families, blends and digraphs (you can click on the images to see them larger):

Consonants and cards in action:

Since I had cards left over, I decided to make a “Shades of Color” game with them for my preschooler. You can download my color grid here, and I used a 1 1/4″ square punch to punch the colors out.

These word families go on the cards with the square cut out on them:

  • ag
  • ab
  • ail
  • ain
  • ack
  • ake
  • am
  • an
  • ank
  • ap
  • all
  • at
  • ay
  • eed
  • ell
  • est
  • ew
  • ick
  • ight
  • ill
  • ine
  • ing
  • ink
  • ip
  • ob
  • og
  • ore
  • ot
  • out
  • ow
  • uck
  • um
  • unk
  • y

The following consonants, blends, and diagraphs are all written on the long paint chips.


  • b
  • c
  • d
  • f
  • g
  • h
  • j
  • k
  • l
  • m
  • n
  • p
  • q
  • r
  • s
  • t
  • v
  • w
  • x
  • y
  • z


  • bl
  • cl
  • fl
  • gl
  • pl
  • sl
  • br
  • cr
  • dr
  • fr
  • gr
  • pr
  • tr
  • sc
  • sk
  • sp
  • st
  • sm
  • sn
  • sw
  • spl
  • spr
  • str
  • squ


  • ch
  • wh
  • th
  • sh
  • ph
  • thr
  • shr

How many words can you make? (there are over 500+ words in this set)

  • 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

(Blends, digraphs, word families taken from The Snails Trail and word list taken from Literacy Connections)

Hope you have fun with these games and Happy Reading!


  1. Hello, I am going still in school and would love to implement this in the class I’m doing my hours in and just was wondering if you could help me figure out how I would go about with instructions, how would I explain to the students what we are doing and/or what they need to do. I love this idea, I am off to the hardware store soon too!

    Thank you!

  2. Hi Erica! I’m really enjoying your website, thank you! I just ordered the LOTW curriculum for my 4 1/2 year old… a mid-year curriculum switch :-/ I am not doing the World’s Greatest Artists curriculum this year (although I hope to in the future), but I was going to print off your free art activities, and came across this. This looks amazing! What age/level would you think this would be best for? I want to make note of it so I don’t forget! 🙂 Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.