teaching resource

Snowball Word Family Puzzles - Winter Reading Center

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Grades: K - 1

Enhance your phonics lessons with a set of snowball-themed word family puzzles.

Winter Literacy Centers for Cool Classrooms

Winter fun in the classroom is better than ever with this word family snowball fight!

Learning to read in Kindergarten is tough! So, it always helps to have some fun with it! That’s why we designed this printable literacy center to help students build reading skills while playing these fantastic onset-rime puzzles.

This snow-themed center comes with a set of three-piece snowballs. Students will assemble the snowballs to build words by matching the correct onset (onset), and rime (rime) sounds together. When they’ve made all the words correctly, they can mix them all up and play again!

Winter Onset/Rime Reading Center Preparation

  • Cut out each snowball, and cut it into pieces using the cut lines.
  • Based on your student’s needs, place several or all of the word family snowball pieces into a literacy center, or bring them into a small group setting for individual practice.

Knowing word families is critical when learning to spell or read. By doing this activity, students will demonstrate their understanding that many words can be spelled using the same spelling patterns. The resource is perfect for promoting awareness of common spelling patterns.

Tips for Differentiation + Scaffolding 

A team of dedicated, experienced educators created this resource to support your Phonics lessons. 

In addition to individual student work time, use any of our other word family games to enhance learning through guided reading groups, whole class lessons, or remote learning assignments. 

If you have a mixture of above and below-level learners, check out these suggestions for keeping students on track with the concepts: 

🆘 Support Struggling Students

  • Complete activities in a small group or one-to-one learning environment.
  • Reduce the number of cards or blends required to complete the sorting activity.
  • Additionally, provide access to previous assignments, posters, and anchor charts for students to recall past lessons.

➕ Challenge Fast Finishers

  • Students choose two words from each word family to use in a sentence.
  • Students write a list of their own words that match the spelling patterns.

Plan lessons for all ability levels with our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Use the dropdown icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 


This resource was created by Lisamarie Del Valle, a teacher in Florida and Teach Starter collaborator.

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