top of page

HAPPY FAMILIES

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


Happy families with disCARD the literacy hill

We love playing Uno with our disCARD packs. To mix it up in the clinic, we also play other games. Recently we have been playing lots of Happy Families. It is an old game that works perfectly for sound-spelling families. We have adapted the rules to fit decoding practice.


The object of the game is to collect as many families as possible. When we are working on target sound-spellings this game is perfect for decoding practice because to complete a family the student has to focus on the target spelling.


A stumbling block that many face when learning to read is difficulty linking speech sounds to spellings. This game highlights that link and has the student analyse words to create families.


How to set up


Happy Families with disCARD the literacy hill

  • Discard all the special cards, as they are not needed for this game.

  • Check the pack you want to use to establish how many words will be in each family. Some packs have more cards than others. The pictures in this post use cards from the /er/ sound-spelling pack, and we were able to create families of five, but you might want to make families of three or four cards.

  • Shuffle the cards and deal five cards to each player. ( We are very flexible about rules here, so work with what fits your students.)

  • Decide who goes first. We always start with the person left of the dealer.

How to play


Happy Families with disCARD the literacy hill

This game is perfect for 2-4 players.


  • Explain to students that it is easiest to organise their hand in sound-spelling families so they can see which cards to hunt for. A player is best asking for cards that they already have a couple in the family.

  • The first player asks any player if they have a card with a spelling that will help them to create a family.


"Do you have a word that contains the ER spelling?"


Happy Families with disCARD the literacy hill

  • If the player has the card, they have to hand it over. If the player doesn't have that card, then the player asking can get a card from the draw pile.

  • Play continues, and participants build families by giving and taking cards and drawing from the pile if a player can't give up a card.

  • Once a player has a family, they read all the words in the family and put the family on the table face up.

  • At this time, if players have less than five cards, they draw from the pile.

  • The player who makes the most families wins!

Once we have a winner, we sort the cards in the draw pile to create the other families. This gives us an opportunity to read all the words on the cards as we sort.


We made ten families and had fun decoding the words.


Happy families with disCARD the literacy hill

This game can be played with all packs of disCARD. Check out the original disCARD blog post here


There are three free packs and three sets of vowel sounds and spellings in the shop. Take a look.



Click the title or the photo to go to the shop page to see the resources.


consonant clusters and digraphs discard the literacy hill


Vowel sounds and spellings



set 1 vowels discard the literacy hill



set 2 vowels discard the literacy hill


set 3 vowels discard the literacy hill

Free packs



CVC disCARD the literacy hill


Final E discard the literacy hill


syllables discard the literacy hill

Games help make learning fun, which can help students pay attention and focus for longer. Reading games can be targeted support which helps learners see patterns and builds the skill of blending to read. We always play a game at the end of each session. Games are brilliant for sneaking in repetition, which helps students read known words more than once. This is a win here as many students struggle to read a text more than once — but they will play games over and over again.


Click the buttons to get the games on TPT










bottom of page