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We break syllables down into two pieces:

  • onset- part of the syllable that comes before the vowel
  • rime- includes the vowel and everything after it.


Word Onset Rime
1 A
2 Me M
3 men m en
4 thought
5 bring
br ing

In the classroom

In Elementary school we focus on 37 “word families.” or phonograms. We use phonograms to spell rimes. These 37 phonograms can spell 500 words used in elementary school (Wylie & Dureel, 1970)

  • Ack-black, black, rack, sack
  • Ail- bail, mail, rail, sail
  • Ain-brain, chain, train, pain
  • Ake-bake, cake, sake
  • Ale-ale, bale, kale, whale
  • Ame-blame, came, fame, flame
  • An-ban, can, fan, man, van
  • Ank-bank, blank, tank


You can use word families for fun game and activities in the classroom. You can find unlimited bad stories written explicitly for the phonogram to read with students. You can read Dr. Suess.

Make up your own word family stories with students or write poetry together during writing lessons.

Get picture cards and play memory where students have to match two pictures whose endings sound the same.

Use lessons in scat and jazz. Encourage students to decide what group of word families goes with each instrument in jazz. Then have them make up and practice scat skits. Ear plugs optional.

Get picture cards for specific word families, the 37 common rimes, like Jack, rack, sack, tack, attack, etc. Have kids arrange the pictures in a story. Give them a a piece of paper or use chart paper folded into beginning, middle, and end. Have students arrange the pictures and do a retelling of the story.

onsets_and-rimes.txt · Last modified: 2021/06/07 16:32 by