Bob's Twinkle-acious Adventure

story by Geoffrey McSkimming , illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Learning intention: 

I am learning to make considered inferences about the meanings of unfamiliar words and to create made-up words to include in sentences where readers can infer their meaning, so that I can develop my skills with making inferences about unknown vocabulary. 

Success criteria :

  • I can identify unfamiliar vocabulary.  
  • I can distinguish between made-up words and real words.  
  • I can make inferences about the meanings of unfamiliar words based on context.  
  • I can create made-up words.  
  • I can use the words I create in sentences which allow readers to make inferences about their meanings.  

Read the story, Bob’s Twinkle-acious Adventure. Discuss unfamiliar vocabulary in the story and highlight examples, using a digital version or hard copy. Examples include:  

  • Twinkle-acious 
  • sea-spider 
  • brolga  
  • chocolate-and-durian  
  • slurpacious  
  • gaskets  
  • flartydirvlers 
  • botheration  
  • otter-acious 

Inform students that they will be analysing the unfamiliar vocabulary by using the following steps:  

  • Place students with a partner and instruct them to jot down further examples they identify. 
  • Tell students that some of the words have been made-up by the author.  
  • Discuss which words students believe are real words and which ones they feel are made-up words.  
  • Discuss students’ reasons for deciding whether a word is a real word or whether it might be made-up. Sample responses include, the word is a compound word, compiled of words that students are familiar with, for example, sea-spider, or students believe they have heard the word before although they don’t know the meaning.  
  • Ensure students identify that words such as sea-spider are real whereas twinkle-acious, slurpacious and flartydirvlers are made-up words. 
  • Discuss students' predictions about the meanings of some of the vocabulary. Emphasize that often knowing the meaning of elements of a compound word (such as sea-spider) can assist with predicting the meaning. Use the example of the sea-spider, emphasising that as students know the meaning of the sea, and the meaning of spider they can infer a sea-spider is a spider that lives in the sea. 
  • Inform students that often the context can assist with inferring meaning. Provide the example of the twinkle-acious and refer to the title of the story where this word appears, Bob’s twinkle-acious adventure. Discuss the context and emphasise that due to the use of the word adventure, it can be inferred twinkle-acious means a positive and pleasant experience. Discuss students' prior knowledge surrounding the meaning of the word twinkle, ensuring students note it is often used to describe something precious or sparkly and that this adds to the idea that twinkle-acious means something positive.  
  • Draw student's attention to the fact the author has included multiple words that include the suffix -acious. Emphasise that knowing a suffix's meaning can also help make inferences about the meaning of a word. Look the meaning of acious up in the dictionary. Ensure students identify that it means having a tendency for something or being full of something. Discuss other words that feature this suffix, for example, tenacious. 
  • Place students in small groups and instruct them to discuss ideas for meanings of the other made-up words. For example: slurpacious (meaning licking their lips with a slurp), flartydirvlers (some part of a boat, as the word is joined with the word ‘and’ to the word ‘gaskets’, which are part of a boat) and otter-acious (meaning sounds an otter makes).  

Inform students that they will creating their own words and that they should use suffixes when composing their innovative words.  

Compose a list of suffixes students are familiar with and discuss the meaning of each. Examples include:  

  • -ed (past tense) 
  • -ous (of or the nature of something) 
  • -ing (present tense) 
  • -s (plural) 
  • -ish (near or around) 
  • -able (able to) 

Collaboratively select one of these suffixes, e.g. -ous. Compose several made-up words that include the suffix -ous. Tell students that the words should be something Bob might use and that they should include the meaning with the word. Examples include sailous (a boat with plenty of sails), fishous (a stretch of ocean with great fishing), gleamous (meaning the boat is gleaming).  

Collaboratively use these words in sentences, for example:  

  • I was relieved to see the boat was sailous, which is especially important on windy days.  
  • An otter will never go hungry in this stretch of ocean, it’s positively fishous.  
  • After all the work we’ve done on the boat, it’s gleamous.  

Place students in pairs or small groups. Students can also work independently on this task if they prefer. Instruct them to select one of the suffixes, to think of their own made-up words that include their chosen suffix and then to compose sentences featuring their novel words.  

Once complete, instruct students to swap their work with another pair. Tell students to read the work of their peers and to strive to identify the meaning of the made-up words based on the context in the sentences.