teaching resource

Building Compound Words - Puzzles

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 10 pages | Grades: 1 - 2

Practice building compound words with this set of 20 puzzles, each with three pieces—two smaller words and the compound word they form.

Teaching compound words is a fantastic way to show your students how creative the English language can be!  

In this activity, we took common compound words your students will encounter on their reading journey and put them in a familiar puzzle format to help visualize these words by dividing them into their parts. 

Make Sense of Making Compound Words 

This resource can be used as a reading center activity, with your guided reading group, or as a whole class activity (see below) to practice identifying and forming compound words.

To play, students will put the puzzle pieces together with the two smaller words and the compound word they form.

More Compound Words Activities + Scaffolding and Extension Tips

This resource can be used for individualized practice, especially if you’ve got fast finishers! You can also use this game to create full-class learning opportunities like scoot activities, lesson reviews, comprehension assessments, and more. 

Support struggling students by showing them how to look at the puzzle piece showing the compound word, and asking them to identify each of the smaller words in the compound word. Then have them locate those puzzle pieces to complete the puzzle correctly. You can also invite students to use a visual reminder, like an anchor chart or an alphabet display, to sound out unfamiliar words. 

✍️  Writing Practice

Get more out of this activity with creative writing! After putting together the puzzle pieces, have students write each compound word in sentences, stories, or poems.

💔 Let’s Split

This activity can also be used as a formative assessment or a Bell Ringer activity. Pull an assortment of compound word pieces (6, for example) and project them on the board for the whole class to see. Have each student pick three words and write them on a separate sheet of paper or sticky note. Then, have the students draw a line through each word to break it into its parts, showing they’ve read it and understand which two single words form the compound word. 

✋ Match Me If You Can

This activity is best used with a small group or as an intervention activity. Keep the compound word puzzle pieces for yourself and divide the single word puzzle pieces among players. Lay down the compound word, then have the students read it as a group and break it up into its parts. The student(s) who have those words lay their cards down to complete the compound word. The first person to run out of cards wins.

Try our 10 Best Scaffolding Strategies too! 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all pieces in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 

This resource was created by Lisa Harris, a teacher in Louisiana and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 


Looking for more activities to highlight compound words in your reading lesson? Check these out:

Image of Combining Words - Compound Word Worksheets for Kids

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Combining Words - Compound Word Worksheets for Kids

A worksheet to consolidate students' understanding of compound words.

Teach Starter Publishing2 pagesGrades: 1 - 3
Image of Compound Word Dominoes

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Compound Word Dominoes

Practice making new words with this compound word matching game that includes 28 picture/word dominoes.

Teach Starter Publishing6 pagesGrades: 1 - 2
Image of Compound Word Smash Up!

teaching resource

Compound Word Smash Up!

Help students practice creating compound words by matching 15 compound word cards with their corresponding decoded word cards.

Teach Starter Publishing10 pagesGrades: 1 - 2


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