Rhyming Short Vowel Words Lesson Plan
Spelling Families

  • Students will learn how to recognize and pronounce sets of rhyming short vowel words.
  • Students will be able to read and spell rhyming short vowel words.
  • Students will become familiar with short vowel spelling patterns (spelling families).
  • Students will learn that changing the letter/s in the onset of a word can create a rhyming word.
About the Concept:

Learning to recognize, read, and spell sets of rhyming words is very helpful to beginning readers and writers. When teaching spelling patterns for short vowel words, you can help students learn to spell sets of rhyming words with a simple rule--change the first part (the letters that come before the vowel) and leave the ending part (the vowel and letters that follow it). For example, if students can spell or read the word cat, they can then figure out how to spell or read the words bat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, and sat by replacing the beginning letter c with other letters. Learning the spelling families give readers the independence to read or write new words without help if they know how to read or write a word that rhymes with the unknown word. All the rhyming words in this song are 3-letter words with short vowel sounds. Because the words are short, they are easy for students to remember. Long vowel rhymes are not used in this song because they have more complex spelling patterns. Example: Long vowel rhyming words, boat and note do not follow the rule about changing the first letter and keeping the ending letters. Students will learn long vowel spelling patterns in Sing Your Way Through Phonics Volume 2. Be sure to read the “Extensions” section below for additional short vowel activities.


Note: If you do not have the CD or Mini-Charts, you can still teach this short vowel rhyming words lesson plan using the folk tune listed on the Spelling Families Song Lyrics page. You can create your own mini-charts using the words in bold print letters in each verse of the Song Lyrics.

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color letters to spell cat, rat, and bat
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
mini-chart pages
color letters to spell get, let, and set
  1. Say, “Today, we are going to learn how to spell rhyming word families.”
  2. Have students select the letter tiles c, a, t, r, and b.
  3. Ask them to arrange the tiles to spell cat, then bat, then rat.
  4. Show Mini-Chart p. 48. Say, “We’ve been spelling rhyming words. When we want to change a word into another word that rhymes, what part of the word changes?” (the beginning of the word) “And what part of the word stays the same?” (the ending part of the word)
  5. Listen to CD Track 11 (Spelling Families), pointing to the words on the Mini-Charts as they occur in the song.
  6. Play CD Track 11 again and ask the students to join in the singing. Allow some students to point to the Mini-Charts words as they are sung.
  7. Ask, “What is a spelling family?” (words that rhyme)
  8. “What words in the song tell us how to spell rhyming words?” (Change the first part, but keep the ending letters.)
  9. Read the words on the Mini-Chart p.49. (get, let, set)
  10. Ask, “What letters will we need to form this spelling family?” (g, e, t, l, and s).
  11. Arrange the letter tiles to form the word get. Remove the first letter to form let, then set.
  12. Ask, “What letters stayed the same and what letters changed?”
  13. Repeat steps 8-11 with the word sets big-dig-pig, got-hot-pot, bug-dug-hug, and bag-rag-tag.
  14. Sing along with CD Track 11 again (Spelling Families) and allow students to point to the target sets of words on the Mini-Charts while singing.

mini-chart blank page template
  1. Practice singing Spelling Families daily for a week. Then try singing the song without hearing the words, using the instrumental track (Track 12). Allow different students to point to the Mini-Charts words while singing.
  2. Help students create other sets of rhyming words for the song. Make 6 copies of Mini-Chart Template B on p.96 and allow students write in the new sets of words. Examples: cap/map/nap, hen/pen/ten, fit/pit/sit, dog/fog/log, gum/hum/sum, fan/tan/man. Place these pages back-to-back in page protectors in a 3-ring binder. Then sing the song with the instrumental version (Track 12).

Spelling Families book with CD
plastic egg with at written on right half, and letters c, b, and r on the left half
  1. Introduce the Read-and-Sing Book, Spelling Families. After children can read all the rhyming words in this book, they can create their own rhyming examples with new words and sing them with the instrumental version of the song. Children can play matching games such as Concentration or Go Fish! with sets of rhyming words or they can design their own "rhyming quilts" like the ones on these pages. Keep a few copies of the book at a literacy center equipped with headsets so that students can gain practice in listening, singing, and reading short vowel rhyming words.
  2. Using plastic eggs, write the stem of a word family like at on the right half. Write the letters b, c, f, h, m, p, r, and s on the left side. Rotate the left side and read each new word as you form it. (Sharpie permanent markers work best.)
  3. Play Rhyming Bingo spelling game. For the playing cards, duplicate blank grids with 5 rows of 5 squares each. Next, duplicate blank grids with 6 rows of 6 squares each. Fill in the 6-row grid with 18 sets of rhyming words, one word per square. Players cut apart the 6-row grid and choose 25 of the pieces to place on their blank grids. The leader cuts apart the 6-row grid and arranges the squares face down. The leader turns over a square and calls out the word. Players may remove a square from their grid if it rhymes with the word called by the leader. The first player with five blanks in a row calls “Bingo!”

  4. Find sets of rhyming words in Dr. Seuss books like Hop on Pop. Arrange letter tiles or plastic letters to form these words.

  1. Students read all the words on Mini-Charts pp.48-53 without assistance, or
  2. Students pass a spelling test on the words from Mini-Charts pp.48-53.

Combo 1 photo
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