Sunday, January 9, 2022

Homeschool Poetry Party! (For the Love of Words)

 Hello and welcome to your every-9th-of-the-Month Homeschool Poetry Party!

I love words. Don't you? I love the way they taste and how they feel rolling around in my mouth.

Dictionaries? Yes!

Thesauruses? Delicious!

Books celebrating words? YUM!

(Future Word Nerds are sure to enjoy ABSURB WORDS by Tara Lazar!)

And sometimes (okay, A LOT of times, I like to invent words.

Have you ever invented a word?

Poetry is a great place to put your invented words! Do you know the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll? It contains quite a few invented words.

Here are three invented words in the poem:

1. Jabberwocky – yes, the title of the poem is an invented word! It's a noun (person, place, or thing).

Right now, before we go on, draw a picture of what you think a “jabberwocky” might be.

2. Frabjous – this word is used as an adjective, which means it describes something... “O frabjous day!”

Before you read the poem, what kind of day do you think a “frabjous” day would be like? Happy, sad, windy, hot, winter, spring? Write down a few synonyms.

3. Whiffling – this word is used as a verb, which means it's an action.

Describe the kind of action you imagine a “whiffle” or “whiffling” to be. Is it like “sleep” or “sleeping” or like “run” or “running”? Or something else entirely?

Now here's the poem.


by Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

'Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!'

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Did your guesses match the poem? Do your definitions “fit”?

Whether they did or not, the great news is that you, too, can write a poem with invented words! 

I invented A LOT of words for my book D-39: A Robodog's Journey.

For those new to the Homeschool Poetry Party, you're invited to join the mailing list and download an Invent-Your-Own-Word worksheet. 

I suggest you invent at least 3 words: one noun, one adjective, and one verb.

Once you've invented a few words, try placing them in a poem! Maybe your poem will be a story-poem like “Jabberwocky.” Maybe it will be about an imaginary creature... or a robodog! Or something else. It's up to you!

You're invited to share your poem on our community Poetry Party padlet.

Coming next month: an exciting announcement about a Poetry Party LIVE virtual event, and you're all invited! If you're not already on the mailing list, be sure to join so you don't miss anything.


  1. This is one of my favorite poems my students and I learned by heart. All thanks to one 3rd grader who had learned it at home thanks to her grandfather's challenge. We loved hearing her recite it so much, we decided to add to our somewhat less challenging repertoire. I have ordered knowing it since. I love how you have incorporated the idea of making up words and looking at interesting ones in this newsletter. Thanks, Irene. Janet Clare F.

  2. There were a lot of giggles around the kitchen table as we sipped tea, scarfed sourdough cinnamon buns, and tried writing poems using our made up words. Thank you for another wonderful lesson!


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