Lesson plan

Exploring Homographs

There's no shortage of homographs in the English language, making them a fun topic to explore with your fourth graders! In this lesson, students will become experts on distinguishing the different meanings of homographs.
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Students will be able to determine the meaning of common homographs using context clues and write sentences showcasing their various meanings.

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students if they have noticed that some words have more than one meaning. Invite them to share any examples they know, and discuss the multiple meanings. As they share their ideas, and throughout the rest of the lesson, write each homograph (just the word) on a sticky note and place it on the board to be used later as an assessment.
  • Inform students that today they will learn about a type of word called homographs.
  • Show students the video on homographs (see related media).
  • Ask students to turn to a partner, name a homograph they noticed in the video, and describe each meaning.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students the word homograph has Greek origins because "homo" means same and "graphos" means drawn or written in Greek. In other words, homographs are words that are spelled or written the same but have different meanings. Sometimes the pronunciation is the same, and sometimes it is different.
  • Ask students how they think people distinguish between the homographs when they read. Record student responses on the chart paper (i.e., by using context clues or listening to what makes sense in the sentence).
(15 minutes)
  • Write the following sentences on a piece of chart, highlighting the homographs:
  • "He rose from a deep slumber."
  • "My friend gave me a single rose."
  • "Get that pesky fly out of here!"
  • "I would rather fly than drive."
  • "That wind feels refreshing."
  • "You have an awesome wind-up toy!"
  • For each sentence, draw a quick sketch of the meaning of the homograph, and discuss the differences with the students (i.e., rose is the past tense of the verb to rise or to get up—draw a person lying down and an arrow pointing up, and rose is also a type of flower—draw a rose).
  • Create a chart with three columns on a separate piece of chart paper. Label the middle column homograph. The column to the left and to the right are for drawing and writing an example of each meaning of the word.
  • Collaboratively with the students, complete the chart by writing more homographs not mentioned in the lesson so far, along with an illustration and a sentence to go with each meaning.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute a copy of the Words with Double Meanings worksheet to each student.
  • Tell students they are to consider the meanings of the homographs on the worksheet and write a sentence to go with each meaning.
  • Walk around to assist struggling students.


  • Students who need more time working with homographs may complete the Double Meaning: Practicing Homographs worksheet in a small group, with the help of a dictionary.
  • Read aloud the book by Gene Barretta entitled Zoola Palooza: A Book of Homographs so they may see more examples of homographs with visual aides.


  • Encourage students to write a comical poem, using homographs, that they can share with the class.
  • Invite students to research puns that use homographs as an extension activity.
  • Give your early finishers and advanced learners the worksheet Hold the Homographs which challenges them to come up with a homograph when given two separate definitions of the word (see optional materials).
(5 minutes)
  • Provide students with a sticky note with a homograph on it from earlier in the lesson.
  • Instruct students to either write on the sticky note the definition of both meanings of the homograph or write a sentence using both meanings and use it as their exit ticket.
  • Evaluate the quality of their definitions and sentences to gauge their level of understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Challenge students to teach their families at home or a younger student during recess the definition of homographs, along with a few examples.
  • Invite students to come up with a single sentence, using both meanings of the homograph to share with their families or other students, such as "It is only fair for you to let me go to the fair" or "I object to that object being placed in my room."

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