Word Families

Here are the 37 most common phonograms and some of the 500 words they make up. Remember that although this list contains only one-syllable words, these phonograms will help students decode longer words, too.

A comprehensive list of phonograms is available in The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists.

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cab, lab, blab, crab, flab, grab, scab, slab, stab


back, pack, quack, rack, black, crack, shack, snack, stack, track


bag, rag, tag, brag, flag


fail, mail, jail, nail, pail, rail, sail, tail, snail, trail


main, pain, rain, brain, chain, drain, grain, plain, Spain, sprain, stain, train


bake, cake, fake, lake, make, quake, rake, take, wake, brake, flake, shake, snake


ham, Sam, clam, slam, swam


can, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, van, bran, plan, than


bank, sank, yank, blank, crank, drank, thank


cap, lap, map, nap, rap, tap, clap, flap, scrap, slap, snap, strap, trap, wrap


bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, rat, sat, brat, chat, flat, spat, that


day, may, pay, say, clay, play, pray, spray, stay, tray


feed, need, seed, weed, bleed, freed, greed, speed


bell, fell, sell, tell, well, yell, shell, smell, spell, swell


best, guest, nest, pest, rest, test, vest, west, chest, crest


dew, few, knew, new, blew, chew


kick, lick, pick, quick, sick, brick, chick, click, stick, thick, trick


knight, light, might, night, right, sight, tight, bright, flight, fright, slight


fill, hill, pill, will, chill, drill, grill, skill, spill, thrill


bin, fin, pin, sin, win, chin, grin, shin, skin, spin, thin, twin


fine, line, mine, nine, pine, vine, wine, shine, spine, whine


king, ring, sing, wing, bring, cling, spring, sting, string, swing, thing


link, pink, sink, wink, blink, drink, shrink, stink, think


dip, hip, lip, rip, sip, tip, chip, clip, drip, flip, grip, ship, skip, strip, trip, whip


knob, mob, rob, blob, slob, snob


knock, lock, dock, rock, sock, block, clock, frock, shock, stock


cop, hop, mop, pop, top, chop, crop, drop, flop, plop, shop, stop


bore, more, sore, tore, wore, chore, score, shore, snore, store


got, dot, hot, knot, lot, not, plot, shot, spot


grout, scout, shout, spout, sprout


cow, how, now, brow, chow, plow


buck, duck, luck, cluck, stuck, truck


gum, hum, drum, plum, slum


junk, chunk, drunk, shrunk, stunk, trunk


by, my, cry, dry, fly, fry, shy, sky, spy, try, why

Reference: Wylie, R.E., & Durrell, D.D. (1970). Teaching vowels through phonograms. Elementary English: 47, 787-791.
Many more phonograms can be found in The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists by Fry, Kress, and Fountoukidis. Prentice Hall, 2000.