If there’s one thing that always intrigues my students, it’s puzzles. They love searching until they find the “just-right” piece and then watching the big picture come together. That’s why I love to incorporate puzzles into our learning stations as often as possible. And these compound word puzzles are an easy way to bring some fun learning to your literacy centers!
Prepping these puzzles was quick and easy.
I wanted the cards to be sturdy since I knew the kids would be manipulating them quite a bit, so I began by printing each of the ten puzzles on cardstock.
Then, I laminated them to ensure the pieces and the lamination would line up when the puzzles were being put together.
I cut the puzzles apart to make 10 compound word top puzzle pieces and 20 smaller word bottom pieces.
We were ready to play!
Compound Word Puzzles
To start, I placed only 10 of the smaller puzzle parts on the table.
I wanted my group to figure out which word parts went together to form a compound word, without seeing the compound words yet.
The students worked in pairs to combine the smaller parts to form an entire compound word.
Once they thought they had a match, they placed these puzzle pieces side by side.
Then, I brought out the compound word puzzle top pieces and had students complete their puzzle.
You could hear the students sounding out, “star….fish…..starfish!” The visual of the three puzzle pieces together helped emphasize the elements of a compound word.
For readers still struggling to master the concept, I chose to only give out five word sets at a time. Then, I added more once they had mastered the skill.
I wanted a real challenge for my strongest readers, so I created an additional set of 10 compound word puzzles that have picture cues only for the compound word.
To complete this advanced version, my high readers looked for the correct word parts to form compound words, without using any visual clues.
Once the students had picked the two words they believed made the compound word, they were ecstatic to add the top piece and visually confirm that they were correct.
The ability to differentiate instruction with my students was a great way to use these puzzles again and again until the entire class grasped the concept of compound words.