Step 1: Identify and review the word families you wish to practice. For example, in Chapter 2 of Vocabulary Power 1, you can open to page 21 and see a word families chart for six key words: compare, contain, develop, experiment, public, and sense. Students should be able to use either a textbook chart like this or a list on the board for reference. Dictionaries may also be used. (I recommend the Longman Dictionary of American English.)
Step 2: Have students sit in pairs. Each pair should have a blank piece of paper for writing. Tell them that they will first hear you read a sentence with a key vocabulary word. With their partner, they must then rewrite the sentence using another word from the same word family.
Step 3: Have students read their sentences aloud to the class. Each correct sentence earns the pair one point. For example, if you are going to read six sentences for them to rewrite, then the goal will be to earn six points.
MODEL: (based on the Word Families chart on p.21, Chapter 3, Vocabulary Power 1)
Sentence No.1: You must compare the two paintings. Possible rewrite > You must make a comparison between the two paintings.
Sentence No.2: I need a container for all these buttons. Possible rewrite > I need something to contain all these buttons.
Sentence No.3: Reading can help the development of children’s minds. Possible rewrite > Reading can help to develop children’s minds.
Sentence No.4: The artist’s experiment made use of different colors. Possible rewrite > The artist experimented with different colors.
Sentence No.5: This is not public information. Possible rewrite > The public doesn’t have this information.
Sentence No.6: Mary’s good sense told her to run to safety. Possible rewrite > Mary sensed danger and ran away.
Step 4: If necessary, go back and point out which of the original sentences are fine the way they are and which ones do not sound as natural as their rewrites. Then assign one sentence to each pair and ask them to create more context by adding at least one more sentence either before or after their assigned one.
MODEL: (Sentence No.5) UFOs have visited Earth many times. This is not public information.