Word Families

Word Families

Here are the 37 most common phonograms and some of the 500 words they make up. Remember that although this list contains only one-syllable words, these phonograms will help students decode longer words, too.

A comprehensive list of phonograms is available in The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists.

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--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


Reference: Wylie, R.E., & Durrell, D.D. (1970). Teaching vowels through phonograms. Elementary English: 47, 787-791.
Many more phonograms can be found in The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists by Fry, Kress, and Fountoukidis. Prentice Hall, 2000.