1st Grade Word Family Lesson Plan: -Ack

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This word family lesson plan for the -ack pattern can easily be adapted to teach any spelling pattern. You can teach this lesson to the whole class or to a small group of students.


Zoo Looking by Mem Fox

Index card, one per child

Sticky notes, about five per child


Chart paper and markers

Manila paper, one sheet per child



Begin by reading the book Zoo Looking by Mem Fox to the class. Emphasize the rhyming words in the -ack family as you read and discuss the book.

After reading point out that the book had lots of words that rhymed with back in it. Explain that these words are all part of the -ack family. Write “-ack” at the top of your chart paper. Then give the students index cards and have them write “ack” in large letters on the cards. Tell them that you are going to practice spelling words in the -ack family. Give each table a pad of sticky notes to share. Start with the word b_ack_. Say the word, have the children repeat it and ask what letter they would need to add to their card to spell it. Tell them to write a ‘b’ on a sticky note and place it in front of the index card to spell _back_. Write _back_ on your chart. Repeat the steps to have the students spell _pack, sack, black_, and _snack_.

Next ask the children if they can think of any other words that belong in the -ack family. Let the children tell you how to spell these words and add them to the chart.


To assess have the students fold a piece of manila paper in half both ways to make four boxes. Ask them to think of four words in the -ack family and write one in each box. If you want you can also let them draw a picture of each word in the boxes. For a even faster assessment dictate three or four -ack words to the children and have them write them on a piece of paper.

More Teaching Ideas for Word Families

Here are a few more ideas to use when you are teaching words families.

  • Make a word family notebook. Give each child a spiral notebook. Each time you teach a new word family give them a piece of shape paper to go with the family: a hat for the -at family, a pig for the - ig family, etc. Make list of the words for the family on the shape paper. Then trim around the shape and glue it into the spiral notebook. The children can use the notebooks as spelling references or to practice reading the word families which will help with decoding and fluency.
  • Make word family flip books. Write the word family on a sentence strip. Then on smaller pieces of sentence strip write the beginning consonants and blends that will make words in that family. Stack the beginning and staple them to the front of the pattern. The children can flip through the letters to practice reading the words they made.
  • Have the children find word families in poems and nursery rhymes. Give them copies of the poems so that they can highlight or underline the words they find.

This post is part of the series: Word Work: Spelling and Decoding Activities for First Graders

Use these fun language arts lesson plans and activities to help first graders become skilled spellers and decoders. Find ideas for word sorting, word families and word games to use with your students.

  1. Spelling Lesson Plans Using Word Sorts
  2. Word Family Lesson Plan: Words with -Ack
  3. Language Arts For Primary Students: Make Learning a Game!