Learning to Read Compound Words

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SWBAT read and write compound words as well as the two words that comprise the compound words.

Big Idea

Let's work on word attack strategies as we learn to read and write compound words. We'll be fluent readers before you know it!

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

I feel that learning compound words is important in first grade.  Once students can decode fairly well, they will start to encounter multisyllabic words.  If I want my students to be fluent readers, I need to be able to teach them word attack strategies.  As students reading skills progress, they will no longer reader letter by letter.  They will start to chunk words.  Teaching my students to see that compound words are two smaller words put together will help them to chunk and eventually start to read more fluently. 

It today's lesson students will practice reading and writing compound words.  However, we will be focusing on the meaning of the two words in order to determine what the compound word actually means.  I am zoning in on this part of the language standard where students have to think about the meaning of the two smaller words: "to predict the meaning of compound words."  At the end of the lesson students will read the compound word by chunking it out into the two smaller words.  Students will try to read these words as fluently as possible.  These tasks address standards RF 1.4 and L.2.4d.  I know that compound words aren't addressed in the standards until 2nd grade.  However, students will see these words in their reading this year, so we are going to address these standards now.

After the students build the compound word, they are really going to have to think and problem solve to determine the meaning of the compound word.  I purposely designed this lesson based on ability level.  I have 3 different lists of compound words based on the reading ability of my students for their independent work.  For my struggling readers I have selected words that are straightforward in their meaning and decode-ability.  For my on-level students, I have some challenging words in terms of meaning, and my advanced students have really challenging words.

For today's lesson you will want to download either the Smartboard Compound Words.notebook or Activboard Compound Words.flipchart lesson.  You will also need to prep 4 small quad door books for you students.  I have some prep directions here How to Make Quad Door Writing Project.docx from a different lesson.  The only modification you will make for today's lesson is that you will use 8.5x11 pieces of colored paper.  You will glue one writing paper compound words writing paper.pdf to the top of the book and one to the bottom.  You won't number the boxes on the front.  I know this sounds confusing, so I've included picture of what your book will look like here, IMG_2090.JPG, and here, IMG_2092.JPG.  Finally, you will want to copy word lists for each of your students, Compound Word Student Lists.docx.  These lists are differentiated based on student reading ability.

Guided Practice (We Do)

20 minutes

I brought my students to the carpet to sit in front of the Smartboard. I started with my objective.  I said, "Today we are going to learn about compound words.  We are going to put two smaller words together to make a larger word.  Then we will talk about the meaning of the compound word."  

We went through the activities on the Smartboard lesson.  I made a special point to discuss the meanings of the compound words to make sure we really addressed the standard.  Some examples were straightforward.  Grasshopper means an insect that hops in the grass.  Baseball is the ball game you play where you run around the bases. 

Other examples we really had to talk about as a class.  Butterfingers are not fingers made of butter.  We discussed how butter is slippery, so if you are a butterfingers, something might slip through your fingers.  Butterflies are not flies made out of butter.  I had to explain that the word butterfly came from the Anglo-Saxon word "butterfloege."  People in the American colonies thought that at night witches would turn into winged creatures and steal butter. (Yes, I had to look that up.)  Even though some of it wasn't that straightforward, this part of the lesson was very beneficial for my students and would help prepare them for their independent work.

Once we were done practicing, my students were ready for their independent work.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

I gave 4 little books to each of my students. I also gave each student a list based on their reading ability.  My advanced students who needed a challenge, got the most challenging list. My students who needed more support got the approaching list, which had more of the straightforward compound words.  The students could write two compound words on each book.  I modeled how to write the compound word on the flaps of the book.  I said, "You will write the first word on the first flap, and the second word on the second flap. Then you open the flaps and write the meaning of the entire compound word on the lines."  I gave each student 4 books and a word list.

You can see how they did by watching the videos  here iWriting Our Compound Words Video 1.mp4 and here Writing Our Compound Words Video 2.mp4 .


5 minutes

My students love when I bring Summary Sam out.  I have a cat puppet that sits behind my teacher chair.  His name is Summary Sam.  He loves to sleep all day and slept through our lesson.  I said, "Sam missed another great lesson.  He still wants to learn about what we did today.  We can't tell him everything we did because we don't have time.  Who can summarize the lesson for Sam and tell him the most important parts of what we did in this lesson?"  I called on volunteers who wanted to tell about what we did.  The kids get so excited and engaged because they like to be involved in that imaginative play.  You would really be surprised how engaged your students become just by bringing out a puppet.