1. Overview

Hear a two-syllable compound word and identify the first syllable, using picture cards as visual clues. This is the first step toward being able to analyze words by dividing them into syllables.

compound words part 1
“Say horseshoe, without shoe…”

A big part of understanding syllables is the child’s ability to hear and feel individual parts in words. Because your child is still new to the structure of words, we’ll start out with compound words. A compound word is made up of two words that each have their own meaning (for example, rain + bow = rainbow).

It is easier for a child to identify the first syllable of a two-syllable word, so we will start with an exercise of dropping the second syllable and identifying the first syllable.

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2. Materials

Print out the word list and the picture cards above. The word list will show which of the picture cards you should use for each round of this activity. For example, for the word doorknob, the list refers you to picture card #12, which has a picture of a door, the correct answer for doorknob.

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3. Activity

Video: How to play Compound Words, Part 1

Before each round of the game, find the appropriate picture card (the word list will tell you which one to use). Go through the images on the picture card and name them, to make sure you and your child are using the correct word for each picture (e.g., bird, not robin). Name the pictures from left to right and from top to bottom.

Adult: [showing picture card] Let’s look at these pictures.
            They show ball, bow, ham, horse.
            Now you name each picture as I point to it.

Child: Ball. Bow. Ham. Horse.
Adult: Good.

Be sure to do this identification before introducing the compound word for your child to analyze.

To start the game, you will say a two-syllable compound word from the provided word list, and have the child repeat it. Then ask her to tell you only the first part of the word.

Adult: I’m going to tell you a two-part word and ask you
            to tell me only the first part of the word I say.
            The first part of the word I say will be
            the same as one of these pictures.
            Here’s the word. Listen: say horseshoe.

Child: Horseshoe.
Adult: Now say horseshoe, but don’t say shoe.
            What is the first word in horseshoe?
            Look at the pictures.
            Is there a picture of horseshoe without shoe?

Child: Bow?
Adult: Let’s try again. Listen: horseshoe. Horseshoe.
            What’s the first word in horseshoe?

Child: Horse!
Adult: That’s right.

Go through the other words in the word list until your child stops paying attention. You can continue the activity at your next session.

NOTE: Be careful not to add an extra “the” to your instructions, as in: “Say starfish without the fish.” The extra word will just confuse your child.

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4. Confidence Builder

Confidence Builder A: Say a compound word. Then say the first part of the word and put your finger to your lips (quiet sign) instead of saying the second part of the word. Practice this with different compound words until your child is firm in understanding what she is supposed to do in the game. Then return to the picture cards to do the activity.

Confidence Builder B: Hold up the appropriate picture card, point to each picture and name it. Then ask one by one, whether that picture fits the answer you’re looking for:

Adult: Look at these pictures: ball, bow, ham, and horse.
            Is horseshoe without shoe a ball?

Child: No.
Adult: No, I didn’t say ball-shoe.
            Is horseshoe without shoe a horse?

Child: Yes!

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5. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Using picture cards as visual aids, children will hear a spoken two-syllable compound word, delete the last syllable, and say only the first syllable of the word.

GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.4e

Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKRF2.b

Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.B

Additional Materials:

  • paper plates (one per child)
  • crayons or markers

Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes:

Give each child a paper plate. Have them draw a smiley face on one side and a frowny face on the other side. Call on one child to answer the question, then ask the other children to hold up their plate to signal whether they agree (smiley face) or disagree (frowny face) with the first child’s answer. Then have the whole group repeat the correct answer in unison with you, and then without you, while you hold up the picture card.

Reinforcement: Have children hold their fists in front of them, side by side, to represent the two parts of the spoken compound word. Have them repeat the compound word. Then have them put the fist that represents the last part of the compound word (their right fist, because we read from left to right) behind their backs and say only the word represented by their remaining (left) fist.

Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.

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