Lesson plan

Reading Puzzling Words

What happens when you put two words together? Help your year one students understand the concept of compound words using this ocean-themed lesson.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theConstructing WordsPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try theConstructing WordsPre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify and read the parts of a compound word.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
Compound Word PuzzlesTake Apart the Compound WordMatch the Compound Words
  • Ask students if they know what a puzzle is and allow for a few students to share ideas.
  • Explain that a PuzzleUsually means something with more than one piece that fit together to make something new.
  • Demonstrate this concept by showing students pieces from a classroom puzzle and how they make something new when pieces are put together.
  • Tell students that some words are like puzzles, and that you can take them apart or put different words together to make new words. These are called Compound words.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book I’m the Biggest Thing in the OceanBy Kevin Sherry, pausing to take note of the different animals in the story.
(5 minutes)
  • After you finish reading, ask students to identify the different animals and sea creatures that you might see in the ocean in addition to those in the book. Make a list on the board of the animals.
  • Demonstrate breaking apart compound words such as seastar and clownfish. Review that when two words work together to make a new word, they are called Compound words.
  • Explain that not all compound words are from the ocean. Share some compound words not related to the ocean, such as "shoelace" and "basketball."
  • Ask students to think of other compound words that they might know.
  • Write a list of the compound words students think up on the whiteboard.
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out the Compound Word Puzzle worksheet and support students as needed as they complete it.


  • Students who are struggling can complete the worksheet with a smaller group at the front of the room.
  • Use examples from the text to reinforce concepts as needed.


  • Students who finish early can complete the Match the Compound Words and Take Apart the Compound Word worksheets.
(5 minutes)
  • Check student work to see if students are able to identify the parts of the compound words and successfully create and take apart compound words.
(5 minutes)
  • Play a short game with students where you assign them a compound word (e.g., rainbow) and ask students to take the words apart to show the parts of the compound word.

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