Building Vocabulary with Compound Words

Compound words can be surprisingly fun for students to study. (A compound word is made when two or more words are joined – – with or without a hyphen – -  to form a new word and subsequently, a new meaning.) Don’t miss this opportunity to really engage your students.  One school has annual Compound Word Day! Each student needs to come to school wearing at least fifty compound words!  Sound impossible? I thought so too, but the proof is in the pudding:

The average number of compound words in the first grade class was seventy-five! Think hairpin, fireman, shoehorn, keyboard, horseshoe, popcorn, and raindrop. A great hands-on learning activity to help kids see how compound words are put together is with images. For example, for the word keyboard you can find a key and a board and, by placing them together, the word “keyboard” is created!!

Learning compound words, especially through word matching games, is fun for kids. Plus compound words help kids grasp language structure and increase their interest in words – – especially prefixes, suffixes and word roots.  And, because they are such an integral part of the English language, it is common to find compound words on standardized tests.

Some examples of compound words include:

* Noun-Noun Compounds: fireman, newsstand, pigtail, ladybug, classroom
* Noun-Verb Compounds: breastfeeding, finger-pointing
* Verb-Noun Compounds: spoilsport, killjoy, breakfast, pickpocket, crossword
* Verb-Verb Compounds: go and do, up and leave
* Verb-Adverb Compounds: drop-out, fall-out, camp-out
* Adverb-Verb Compounds: intake, backtrack, backdrop, foreground
* Adjective-Noun Compounds: hardware, software, blackboard, shortchange
* Adjective-Verb Compounds: blacklist, shortchange

Vocabulary.co.il has some wonderful interactive compound word games for grades K-5.  Teachers will appreciate how these games are organized by grade level, and students will appreciate how much fun they have while learning!  

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