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English Lesson Plans: Compound Words

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

Searching for creative ways to help your students understand compound words? These compound words lesson plans will show your students that learning about words can be fun.

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    Introduce Compound Words

    Read a book about compound words to the class, such as “If You Were a Compound Word" by Trisha Speed Shaskan or “All Aboard Overnight" by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. Then tell students that you will be rereading the book again, and that they should raise their hands each time they hear a compound word. As they identify the words, write them in a list on the board.

    Talk about how compound words are made up of two smaller words. Use the word “doghouse" as an example, and show how the two words join together to make one bigger word. Make sure they understand that the meaning of the bigger word is a combination of the two smaller words.

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    Define the Compound Word

    Take out a bag filled with simple nouns written on small scraps of paper. Choose two pieces of paper from the bag at random and read them aloud. For example, you might choose “turtle" and “shoe." Explain that you are going to put the two words together to make a nonsense compound word, such as “turtleshoe" or “shoeturtle." Then tell students that you will use your imagination to decide on a definition for this new word. For example, you might decide that “turtleshoe" is the name of a shoe that makes its wearer walk very slowly, like a turtle. Alternatively, you might decide that a “shoeturtle" is a kind of turtle whose purple feet make it look like the turtle is wearing shoes. Then have each student choose two pieces of paper from the bag and make up their own definitions for the resulting compound words. Encourage them to share their imaginary compound words with the class.

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    Make Your Own Compound Word

    Now allow students to get even more creative by making up their own compound words from scratch. Tell them to make a poster to try to sell the object represented by their compound word. For example, a student who is trying to sell turtleshoes would have to come up with reasons that people should buy a pair in order to create the poster. These compound words lesson plans are the perfect way to teach compound words in a creative way, giving your students the chance to think about what they are learning.

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