Help Please Without Split!

So currently I have to code with the following guidelines:
Create a program in a file named word_lengths.py that reads words.txt (link near top of our home page) in order to:

*** Determine the length of the longest word(s) and output that length plus the first word of this length found.**
*** Determine the length of the shortest word(s) and output that length plus the first word of this length found**
*** Determine and output the average length of all the words in the list.**

You should strip white space from each word before using its length in your calculations.

My solution’s output is:

The longest words are 21 characters; an example is counterdemonstrations
The shortest words are 2 characters; an example is aa
The average word length is 7.933511409466738

I have coded the entire problem but then I realized I am not allowed to use the split() function, and now Im unsure on how to move forward