Teach Compound Words with Halloween Poems

Halloween is all about having some spooky fun, so it’s a great time to harness that high interest to teach your English language arts curriculum. These Halloween poems embedded with compound words make it easy to teach them.

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, real estate, living room, school bus, high school).

Halloween Poem with Compound Words #1: Something

Image of Halloween poem, "Something," by Lorrie L. Birchall

Halloween Poem with Compound Words #2: A Witch’s Cookbook

Note: This poem also includes a hyphenated compound word (hard-to-find). It also includes some “big words” that are not compound words (ingredients, shopping, alligator, noodles, barbecue)

Image of Halloween poem, "A Witch's Cookbook," by Lorrie L. Birchall

Halloween Poem with Compound Words #3: A Werewolf

Note: This poem has an open compound (full moon)

Image of Halloween Poem, "A Werewolf," by Lorrie L. Birchall

Teach the chunking decoding strategy with Halloween poems

As a reading interventionist, whenever I taught compound words, I also taught the chunking reading strategy. Students need to be directly taught how to look at words as big, meaningful chunks rather than as separate, isolated sounds. This powerful strategy helps kids of all reading abilities successfully decode larger and larger words.

Just as important, students 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 lots of fun.

The Halloween poem above, “Werewolf,” is available as a FREE download HERE.

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Halloween Poems with Compound Words

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