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Word Families

word originsA topic on lexical DNA. How to recognise and teach connections between words by grouping them according to common characteristics, that is:

  • Form: the way in which the word is spelled according to how it is being used (e.g. ‘child’ is singular but changes its form when it is plural, ‘children’)
  • Feature: distinctive characteristics that don’t necessarily carry meaning, such as words beginning with ‘wr’.
  • Function: what a word does in a sentence and how that is indicated in its spelling (e.g. words beginning with un- tend to indicate negatives and so ‘unbelievable’, ‘uncouth’ and ‘undo’ are all related by function, whereas ‘uncle’ and ‘unctuous’ are related by feature only)

Resources: lesson plan, example worksheet and example lesson

Duration: 90 minutes

Further reading

When you type ‘word families’ into a search engine, 90% of what you see are resources on words which rhyme, with inexplicably random exercises on -ap, -op, -ip etc. words. There are much better ways to teach rhymes and blends (a topic we’ll save for another day). In the meantime, to get an expert’s view on the definition of a word family, perhaps reading Dick Hudson’s thoughts on the subject will prove enlightening.

To book this presentation at your school, please contact us.

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