Neologisms are simply “new words.” Neologisms are usually not nonsense words, however, but have a definite part of speech and meaning. One of the most famous neologisms is the word “nerd,” which Dr. Seuss coined in If I Ran the Zoo. Poets often use neologisms, which makes learning about them a fun part of a poetry unit.
This product contains a neologism hunt that asks students to sort neologisms found in Dr. Seuss books by part of speech and an activity sheet where students can then create and define their own neologism.
“Neologism Hunt” – In this activity, students can use Dr. Seuss books (or other books/poems containing neologisms) to search for neologisms, or words that the author has invented. In order to show that neologisms do have clear meaning, however, this hunt asks students to sort the words according to part of speech. In context, the part of speech of a neologism is usually easy to identify. Talking about why this might be so makes for a great follow-up discussion after completing this activity.
“A New Neologism” – After learning about neologisms and practicing recognizing them, students can then work on creating their own neologism. My students love this creative task! The activity sheet provides room for students to write their invent word, provide its part of speech, define it, use it in a sentence, and create a illustration which sheds light on its meaning. My students and I compiled our neologisms into a neologism dictionary after completing these activity sheets.