Learn to Read Word Families with a Paint Stick


Do you happen to have a paint stick lying around?  

I know, random, right?!  

Well, yes... but stick with me!  If you do and you also happen to have a beginning reader in the house, I'm going to show you a clever way to make your own word ladder that you can use to help your child learn to read!

{And if you don't, now is the time to add that painting project you've wanted done on hubby's 'to-do' list. Ha!}

Learning to Read Word Families

Learning to read is an exciting and nerve-wracking milestone, isn't it?  I've already been there, done that with Big Brother-- but with all my lamenting over which curriculum to use and questioning if Little Sis is ready-- you would think I was a newbie at this!

Learning to Read Word Families

Whether you are a newbie or not, this Paint Stick Word Ladder is a great hands-on way to practice and encourage reading skills with your child.


How to Prep the Paint Stick

Begin by covering it with chalkboard paint.  By using chalkboard paint, you'll be able to use this word ladder over and over again with various word lists and even beginning blends.

While it is drying, grab a clothespin, marker, and piece of chalk.

On the clothespin, write a word family such as /at/, /op/, /am/, etc.

Word Family Ladder

How to Use the Word Ladder

With the paint stick and clothespins all prepped, take a piece of chalk and write several letters on the paint stick.

I wrote the letters: b, t, m, l, s, p,  and r.

Review the sounds the letters make and the word family on the clothespin.

Reading Word Families

Clip the clothespin next to the first letter on the paint stick word ladder.

Encourage your child to make the sound of the letter on the paint stick and blend it with the word family to make the word, /bat/.

Have your child take the clothespin and clip it next to the second letter on the word ladder-- moving down the word ladder.

Your child will read the following real and non-sense words: /tat/, /mat/, /lat/, /sat/, /pat/, and /rat/.

To build fluency, once your child gets to the bottom-- work your way up!

teaching word families

Have fun teaching your child to read with this hands-on word ladder! May this activity encourage your beginning reader to read... and perhaps get that painting project done, too!

Enjoy more fun, hands-on reading ideas:

OH Snap! Sight Word Reading Game
Roll & Stomp Reading Game
Counting Syllables Tic Tac Toe Game
Word Family Bingo Game
Eat Your Sight Words, Literally!