Compound Words I Spelling Patterns


Students who use rote memorization to spell and read are at a severe disadvantage. Knowing  spelling rules and patterns will allow them to decode and build words of greater complexity, making them more successful. Starting with basic spelling rules and patterns will create a foundation for strong writing, spelling, and reading skills.

Compound Words I Spelling Patterns Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Compound Words I Spelling Patterns
  • Hands-on homework activities giving students practice on identifying and using Compound Words I Spelling Patterns
  •  Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 3-4 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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While using rote memorization to spell and read can be useful for young students just learning to read, eventually it becomes a disadvantage.  Knowing spelling rules and patterns will allow students to decode and build words of greater complexity, making them more successful readers and writers.  This is especially helpful when it comes to challenging compound words.  Starting with basic spelling rules and patterns will create a foundation for strong writing, spelling, and reading skills.  This lesson can be connected to several other Language Arts lessons that discuss using patterns to decode words.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Explain to students that they are going to get a list of words to cut out and sort. They are going to look for patterns and sort the words into groups that fit the patterns.
  2. Distribute TWO copies of the spelling sort for each student. Instruct them to cut out only one copy.
  3. Students work independently to try to read the words and sort them into patterns. It is all right if students do not successfully sort them, this is an independent attempt to see if they recognize patterns.
  4. Walk through the classroom and see how students have sorted. Ask questions to students to build understanding, such as “When you look at these words, what do they have in common?” “What do you notice about these words?” “How are these words alike/different?”
  5. Call students together after sorting independently. Ask what patterns they noticed. The students should have identified patterns of words being joined with other words, in four main categories- down, book, snow, and head. They may have noticed that words can join to the front or back of those words. Students should place cut out words in baggies or envelopes for further use that week.
  6. As a group, create an anchor chart of the sort in the four columns. Write the spelling sort rules underneath, “In this sort, compound words are created by taking two words that are complete individually, and combining them together. For  example, the words snow and man. Combine them and create the compound word, snowman.” When students write the rule throughout the week, they may use any valid example of compound words.
  7. Have students write the correct sort and the rule that you completed as a class in their spelling notebooks.
  8. Introduce the activity sheet where the students will build compound words. They may use a dictionary to verify they are correct if they are creating words that are not in the sort.
  9. Assign homework page- students take home the second sheet of words, cut them out at home, and sort them into the columns. They practice writing the rule at the bottom. Students should practice sorting words EACH NIGHT for several days. They may use writing sorts, sorting in the grid, speed sorts, play taboo and write sentences/definition at home with family members. Only one formal homework assignment is given here, but daily sorting and practice is encouraged, either at home or as part of your language arts center time.
  10. Students complete the practice sheet with a small group of students by playing Build a Word. Rules are on the sheet.

Common Core State Standards: 


Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources:

Want more language arts resources? Check out our other Language Arts Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

3rd Grade, 4th Grade


Language Arts

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Fantastic Science lesson

Fantastic!! This was such a life saver. Everything you need for subject activities, lesson plan, quizzes. Great illustrations on science applications. My class loved the planned lab activities.