Today, for instance, I'm targeting the teaching of compound words...with poetry, of course!
As a reading interventionist, when I was teaching compound words, I also taught the chunking reading strategy. Kids need to be directly taught how to look at words as big, meaningful chunks and not just separate, isolated sounds. This powerful strategy helps kids of all reading abilities successfully decode larger and larger words.
Just as important, kids must learn to recognize that not all big words are compound words. Prefixes, and suffixes certainly make words larger, but they are not words, but word parts. Learning how to look at words takes practice...but practicing can be fun.
What are compound words?
There are three kinds of compound words:
1. Closed form compound words:
Two (or more) individual words combined together that make a new word.
(firefly, football, childhood, schoolhouse, nevertheless, whatsoever)
2. Hyphenated form compound words:
Two or more words that go together and are connected by a hyphen.
(over-the-counter, Jack-in-the-box, up-to-the-minute, part-time, single-minded)
3. Open form compound words:
Two words that generally go together, but are not connected. They are open.
(full moon, half sister, real estate, living room, school bus, high school)
Because it's October and inching ever closer to Halloween, I thought I would highlight a few of the poems from my Compound Words Poetry collection that are just right for the season. These poems are embedded with lots of compounds to make teaching a mini-lesson easy-peasy. Most of the following poems have closed form compounds, but there are a few hyphenated and open form compounds too.
Whenever there’s a full moon,
I cannot overlook,
some alterations in my ways,
and changes in my look.
My werewolf hair grows everywhere,
My werewolf teeth get long,
My eyesight gets much keener and
I’m muscular and strong.
I get to roam around outside,
The moonlight makes me howl,
These otherworldly sound effects
mean I am on the prowl.
I see the moon is round and full,
I’m moonstruck by the sight,
I’ve made some telltale changes—so,
you’d best stay in tonight.
I found a witch’s cookbook,
of magic recipes,
the hard-to-find ingredients
took many shopping sprees.
I mixed a pinch of bedbugs,
a hair from Bigfoot’s toe,
one alligator’s eyeball,
and slugs from Idaho.
I added stink of armpits,
with snakeskin noodles too,
a tablespoon of giants' spit,
and toadstool barbecue.
I stirred a broomstick clockwise
inside a giant vat,
I may have overcooked it ’cause--
I turned into a bat!
Something went into my bedroom,
Whatever that Something might be,
I hope that the Something goes elsewhere,
before it can get behind me.
It’s spookier at nighttime
whenever it’s in place,
the glowing candlelight inside
a jack-o-lantern’s face.
The spider in her cobweb
awaits her coming prey,
A dragonfly will soon become
her lunchtime meal today.