Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wacky Word Wednesday


Dr. Seuss was a master of rhyme. Rhyming words in memorable and funny ways is what draws many young readers to his books. Not only is rhyming fun for children, the ability to read and write using rhyming patterns helps children grow as readers.
There are many spelling patterns that occur frequently in words. Some examples are -op (hop, pop, stop, cop, mop) -ill (hill, Jill, mill, Bill, kill, fill) -an (man, ran, can, tan), etc. When children use high frequency spelling patterns to help them solve unknown words in reading and writing it can build their reading and writing vocabularies quickly.
In order to utlize this skill, children have to be able to break words into parts and create new words using those parts. Simple high frequency words can be broken into two parts onset and rhyme. The onset is the consonant or consonant cluster found at the beginning of a word. The rime is the chunk that begins with a vowel and completes the word. It creates a rhyme. In the book Hop on Pop some of the high frequency words could be broken like:
H          -op
P          -op
st         -op

  • You might want to help your child hear the word family. You could say two rhyming words. Where does the word sound the same? You could also draw your child attention to the visual similarities in the words. Where do the words look the same?

  • Using magnetic letters can also help your child see visual similarities in word families. After reading Hop on Pop you might work with the words CUP and PUP. (This is just an example... use the word families you see your child recognizing or being drawn to.) You might make cup and pup as a model for the child.Give your child the letters to make cup. Say the word.Say, "change cup to pup" as you hand the child the letter p. This provides a lot of support to your child. As they progress you can them search for the magnetic letter than would make the new word.
  • Some children love playing with rhyming words. You might want to try some word sorting games like this one at Muffin Tin Mom for the rhyming words in There's a Wocket in my Pocket.

Letting children play with words is a fun way to introduce word families. As a note of caution, you might want to consider how well your child understand the basic concepts of print before you dive into word families. For instance, I'm not doing word family activities with my two year old... yet we do talk about words that are funny or sound cool.
An "interesting" side note about breaking words:

"One of Geisel's manuscript drafts for the book contained the lines, "When I read I am smart / I always cut whole words apart. / Con Stan Tin O Ple, Tim Buk Too / Con Tra Cep Tive, Kan Ga Roo."Geisel had included the contraceptive reference to ensure that publisher Bennett Cerf was reading the manuscript. Cerf did notice the line,and the poem was changed to the following: 'My father / can read / big words, too. / Like... / Constantinople / and / Timbuktu.'"

I found this information in this wikipedia article.


  1. Too bad contraceptive didn't make it - what a fun fact :)

  2. We just discovered a flip-a-word book in the library today that is all about word families called "Pig Wig." It's a simple, fun and very colorful book.