Jabberwocky Jive

I can no longer find the original of this brilliant reading lesson that helps students use the dictionary, read creative writing, and learn to grasp the meaning of a text without knowing all the vocabulary words in a startlingly fun and very authentic way. But this is my favorite lesson plan in the world to teach!

It was called Jabberwocky Jive and I got the idea from the Cablevision education site, powertolearn.com. If you Google those things you find sites that claim to have copies of the .pdf file, but I haven’t found any that work. So I’ll summarize it here and how I use adapted it to an ESL class, but this is by no means my own original idea.

Note: This works best with advanced or high intermediate students. And the twist in this lesson is all of Carroll’s portmanteaus (portmanteaux?) that they couldn’t possibly know the real meaning of so they will be forced to guess from the context and the sound. Until you reveal that, you must play this as any other reading lesson with difficult words. It is really quite fun, but you have to measure their frustration. This can go well or it can be devastating to their confidence as they may think that their English is extremely lacking not to know these words. It’s a good lesson to do late in the term.

I have moved this lesson on the famous Lewis Carrol poem, the Jabberwocky to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can purchase and download it there. Liked this post? Check out some of my books on

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