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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA. 

The transition from learning letter names and sounds to realizing that they can be blended together to make actual words is one of the most exciting times in the kindergarten classroom. Students revel in the knowledge that they can start to decode words in their favorite books and stories for themselves, and this word family file folder game will provide them with endless practice to get to know each CVC word family.

Learning Rhyming Words for Kindergarten

Part of the joy of CVC words is that they follow regular and predictable sound patterns which makes them perfect for rhyming games. If you pick any word from the at word family (bat, for example) and simply switch the first letter, you can get a whole range of rhyming words both real and nonsensical. The ability to think flexibly about how letters are used in different words is a key tool in early reading and writing as it makes the connection between the individual letter sounds and the overall blends required for each word. 

Preparing CVC Word Family File Folder Game

For this activity you will need:



Scissors to cut out the letters

Optional: laminator, velcro dots

The beauty of this word family file folder game is that it’s ready to go straight off the printer. You’ll need multiple copies of the letter pages to cut out, and you’ll want to make sure you print the same size for all pages so that the letters fit the empty boxes. You can also laminate them and use velcro dots for each letter and letter space for added durability.

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Extending The Word Family File Folder Game

These CVC word family mats provide two basic activities for each of the common CVC word families. Take the an word family pages as an example. Students can complete the main activity of cutting out the letters on the second sheet and sticking them down on the first page, swapping the first letter to create can, pan, tan, man and fan (hopefully spotting the common spelling pattern along the way!). As with all good literacy centers, there are some ways to easily extend the activity:

  • Build in writing – a simple addition is to have students write each letter out in the correct box instead of cutting and sticking. This not only helps them sound out each letter sound as they write, but it also gives them practice building the muscle memory of how to correctly form each letter. 

  • Add extra beginning letters – each CVC word family has five different words for students to practice on, but of course there are more words in each family. You could provide students with a set of foam or magnetic letters and have them practice swapping out the first letters to discover new words (and to come up with some fun nonsense words at the same time!). Even when they come up with words that aren’t in any dictionary, they’ll still be practicing letter sounds and blends. 

  • Partnered verbal spelling – finally, you can add a social element to this early literacy center by having students work together in pairs. Give one person the set of five pictures for one CVC word family and have them pick one to say out loud. Their partner then spells it out either with the cut out letters or by writing it. To add a challenge, mix up the word families so that the ending is unpredictable.

Other Printables That Work On Learning CVCs:

1) Rhyme Time with Penguin CVC Clip Cards Any winter literacy station that has penguins will be instantly engaging to the majority of your students. These kindergarten penguin theme CVC rhyming printable will have them practicing their short vowel and consonant sounds all season long.

2) Christmas CVC Read and MatchThis fun Christmas printable activity can be used as a simple yet effective early reading center. In this free CVC printable game students look at each of the pictures and find a match from the three words listed by the side. This Christmas CVC words literacy center comes ready to print and play!

3) Space CVC Vowel SortingKids will love this simple space-themed vowel sorting activity. Which planet does the object belong on? Sound it out loud for some out of this world fun!

>>> Grab the CVC Word Family Mats here! <<<


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