Overview: Free context clues english lesson plan for elementary school. Readers practice decoding the meaning of unfamiliar words by using context clues to “unlock” a word's meaning, leading to stronger comprehension skills and increased fluency.
Subject: English Language Arts: Language, Vocabulary, Reading Foundational Skills
Grades: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Duration: 45 minutes
Related Concepts: Reading Literature, Reading Informational Text, Reading Strategies, Vocabulary Strategies
Students will be able to:
- Use context clues to identify the meaning of unfamiliar words in a class discussion, group activity, and individual practice.
Essential Questions: How can we use information from the text to figure out the meaning of unknown words? How can we use prior knowledge of word structure to figure out the meaning of words we do not know?
Vocabulary: context clues, definitions, meanings
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Language:
- L.2.4, 4a
- L.3.4, 4a
- L.4.4, 4a
- Student reading material (stories, picture books, informational articles, etc.)
- Internet Access
- Projection System
Begin the lesson with a word written on the board, covered with a piece of paper. Around the word write clues about the word. For example, the covered word could be “elephant.” Words around the covered word such as; animal, huge, trunk, Africa, etc. Tell student they are going to be “word detectives” today. Explain that if they come to a word they do not know while they are reading, there are things they can do to figure it out. They can be like a detective and look for clues!
Direct learners' attention to the board. Ask what they could do to figure out what word is under the paper. Have the students use the other words on the board for hints. Once the figure out the mystery word, tell them this is how they use context clues while they are reading. They use what they know about the words around the unknown word to figure out the word. Depending on the grade level of the students, share one of the following Powerpoint presentation with the class:
Explain to the students they can find clues before or after the mystery word. There are several different types of context clues. Students should be on the lookout for word definitions or examples, synonyms, antonyms, or some other type of explanation.
Pass out copies of the books, news articles, or any type of text that would have words that the students may not know. Have the students work in pairs or small groups. Instruct the groups to find words they do not know. If they say there are not any, encourage the students to find words that other students may not be know. Once the words have been located, the students should write the word, then write what they believe the meaning of the word to be, and what clues they used to determine the meaning. Once the students have located a bank of words, gather back together as a group. Ask for volunteers to share their mystery words and the clues they found to solve them.
Have the students return to their desk, or continue to work with their partner or group. Depending on the level of the students, distribute one of the following activities for the students to complete.
To end the lesson, bring everyone back into a group. Revisit with the students how to use context clues to be word detectives. What clues can you look for in the text? How can they help themselves solve their mystery word?
- Observe while the students participate in the opening lesson, and while they are working with their partner or group and complete word activity. Ask what clues from the text led them to the decisions for their word solving.
- The final product of each activity can be used to assess understanding of the activity.
- If the above resources were not used for independent practice, they can be used as assessments.
Provide individual and/or differentiated reading passages for struggling readers and English learners.
Give higher-level texts to advanced readers, challenging them with more challenging words to solve.
Form student pairs based on student knowledge levels and proficiency.