Are you trying to open them by double clicking? Or by going to File Open in Word? If the former then Totally-braindead is correct and you need to change the file association.
Right mouse click on your file and look at Open With and see if Word is the first one selected. If it is Wordpad then change the file association by selecting Choose Program and when you see the list roll down it until you find Word. Click on that and check the box which says Always use this program to open this type of file.