EL Support Lesson

How Pictures Can Help Us Read

In this lesson, students will learn how to decode unknown words in a texts using context clues. Students will be introduced to the idea of opposites and will practice identifying opposites. This lesson can be used on its own or as support for the lesson Is It the Same?
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Is It the Same? lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Is It the Same? lesson plan.

Students will be able to use context clues to read and define unknown words in a text.


Students will be able to decode grade-level words using illustrations and visual cues for support.

(5 minutes)
  • Show students the front cover of the book Big Bear, Small Mouse without telling them the title of the book.
  • Instruct the class to turn and talk to a partner about what they see on the cover. Ask each pair to think about what they think the book might be called.
  • Invite several pairs to share their ideas and explain why they chose the title they did using the sentence frame, "I think the book is called ____ because ____."
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Vocabulary Cards to the class on the board (or using a SMART board).
  • Use the cards to introduce and define each word by saying it aloud, pointing to the associated picture, and asking students to turn to a partner to explain what the word means in their own words.
  • Explain that there are many different opposite words. Ask students to stand up and then sit down. Tell them that these are opposite movements. Repeat with other examples of opposites (e.g., slow/fast, big/small, over/under, etc.).
  • Define a picture as either a painting or a drawing, then refer back to the cover picture you looked at during the introduction.
  • Explain that pictures can give clues when we are reading and can help us to read new or challenging words.
  • Tell students that in this lesson they will use pictures to help them read a book about opposites.
  • Read aloud the book Big Bear, Small Mouse pausing as you read to notice the opposite words.
  • Write each word on an index card and place it on the board.
(5 minutes)
  • Read each of the words on the index cards aloud.
  • Ask students to think about what each word means and to turn and talk to share what the word means with a partner.
  • Display the read aloud and reread the story, this time pointing to the images and asking students to think about what word might be next in the story.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Opposites worksheet and go over the instructions.
  • Pass out a worksheet to each student, encouraging them to use the pictures to read the words.
  • Instruct students to turn and talk to a partner to share their opposite pairs when finished with the worksheet.


  • Allow students to define opposite word pairs in English or their home language (L1).
  • Have students work in a teacher-led small group to practice identifying new words using illustrations.


  • Encourage students to use more complex sentences to define the new vocabulary words.
  • Have students identify opposite word pairs in teacher-selected books.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess student understanding by noting if there are any areas of confusion during the lesson.
  • Collect students' work and assess if students were able to use the pictures to read each word accurately.
  • Ask students the following question and provide the corresponding sentence starter to further assess their understanding:
    • How can pictures help you figure out new words in a book?
    • "Pictures could help me figure out new words by ____."
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together. Pass out one of the index cards with an opposite word written on it to each student.
  • Instruct the students to draw a picture to explain or show what the word means.
  • Tell the students to trade their finished card with a partner to share their work.
  • Display the finished cards on the board and review any confusing definitions.
  • Close by saying, "Today we learned that pictures can be clues to help us find the meaning for a new word in a book."

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