Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about compound words. It is designed to complement the Compound Words topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Review with children that compound words are made up of two or more individual words. The words are joined together to form a new word with a different meaning. Present a few examples of compound words and discuss their meanings together. Say the word “firefighter” and have children break it apart into its individual words, “fire” and “fighter.” Lead children to understand that a firefighter is someone who fights fires. Brainstorm other compound words that use “fire” like “campfire,” “firehouse,” and “fireplace,” and discuss their definitions. Expand the discussion to include other compound words that use the word “hair” or “light.” Have children break apart and define each word.

Then say definitions of compound words and have children guess the words. For example, you may want to ask children, “What is a brush you use to clean your teeth?” or “What do you call the yard that’s in the back of a house?” Invite children to come up with their own hints and have you or other children guess the compound word.

Early readers may encounter compound words they do not know. Remind children to break apart the word and think about each word and its definition. This will help them understand the compound word. They can make inferences and use what they know to figure out the meaning. Present an unfamiliar or challenging compound word such as “candlestick” or “headboard.” Break apart the words and have children predict the meanings. You can have them look up the words in a dictionary to confirm. Then present the word “nosedive” and have children break apart the words. Explain that some compound words take a little bit of thinking to figure out. A nosedive isn’t literally a nose that takes a dive into a pool. What could a nosedive mean? Discuss with children.

Encourage young readers to look for compound words. They will be surprised at how often we use them!