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Word Family Racing (3rd grade and up)


Author: Azriela Jankovic, Yavneh Academy, California


Subject: Spelling, Vocabulary


Objective: Practice writing, spelling, and vocabulary words while having fun!


Materials and Preparation: Each group receives a large sheet of paper (butcher paper works great and large lined paper works even better).Each member of the team has a pencil, a highlighter, and an open space to write on large paper.


Student Grouping: Varied groups of 3 to 5 students.


The Play: When the teacher calls time, each team has 5 minutes (can vary amount of time depending on attention spans / grade levels) to do the following:


  • Find words on the spelling or vocab list with something in common.

  • Words can be put in categories according to common prefixes, suffixes, or roots.

  • Words that belong to the group are written in pencil.

  • Each group member must take a turn writing a set of words before another person gets a turn.

  • Students label each group, for example:Words beginning with SQUI: (*this title written and highlighted)squid (*squi must be highlighted in each word)squirrelsquint

  • Groups continue until time is over.




  • Each group of words receives 5 points just for being discovered and written down.

  • Students count up words in each group and add 1 point for each word spelled CORRECTLY.


Further Play: After alotted time to make word groups from a given list of words, allow students 5 minutes to add onto their groupings with words that they might find in the dictionary or elsewhere. Each additional word counts for 1 point each.


Comments or Variations: This game can be varied using vocabulary words. Students can race to find as many synonyms as possible.List of words might contain: wentStudents list synonyms: journeyed, ventured, walked, drove, traipsed, etc.

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