Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reading and Writing Made Up Words

Have you ever created a word, maybe a nickname? In our family, we have many made- up nicknames for our kids for various reasons. Our first son, Joey quickly became Joe Joe when he was a little guy simply because the alliteration of the two names was appealing. My young nieces Vivian and Audrey have shortened versions of their names as nick names: Vivy and DiDi. It seems we have a tendency in my family to end or shorten names so they have the long e sound. Why is that? I called my own sons Matty and Jackie when they were little.

A few of my primary writers have experimented with creating their own words to represent a feeling or an action. I remember Monasia creating a poem about the snow writing about how it "swizzled to the ground." My first grade son recently wrote about a family trip to Florida. He ended his piece with..."I felt gatoriffic!"

Ralph Fletcher has a new book that explores play with language and words. His book Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft that Sparks Writing has me thinking about words these days and the creativity we can encourage with word play during writing workshop.

Today I found a flap book great for primary kiddos that features examples of some playful craft. Animal Soup by Todd H. Doodler features portmanteaus (two words mashed together to create a new word that has attributes of both the previous words). I found in the toddler-preschool area in the bookstore but it will definitely appeal to primary kids. Todd uses question- answer format in the text featuring zoo animals ( He is also the author of The Zoo I Drew). Each two page spread begins with animal picture and question on the left (What would I be if I had wings to Fly...) followed on the right with an animal picture and "but" statement (but walked very slowly instead?) The picture on the right is also a flap that lifts to show the answer :

Bird + Turtle = Birdle (and a picture of a bird mixed with a turtle attributes)

I imagine kids engaging in the thinking, predicting and plain fun this book has to offer being read aloud and then fought over during choice time. Then, using the book to demonstrate how writers create and play with words.


Arnold said...

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link2literacy said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog as well. Great ideas that I can tweak and then pass onto our secondary teachers! Thanks so much! Renae

Mandy said...

Check out Young McDonald, it does the same thing by making new animals by taking two parts of original animals. For example, a shnicken. A sheep and a chicken.

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