Lesson Plan

Using Context Clues to Understand Word Meanings

This lesson will help your students use sentence level context clues to decode challenging words in a nonfiction text. Students will enjoy learning about maps and figuring out tricky words along the way!
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using Sentence Level Context to Decode Text pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Using Sentence Level Context to Decode Text pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to determine the meaning of words and phrases in a grade appropriate text.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
Vocabulary Partner TalkLearning About Maps!
  • Explain to students that today they will be reading a short nonfiction text and figuring out what tricky words mean.
  • Write the following learning objective in student-friendly language: "I can figure out the meaning of tricky words using sentence level context for support!" Read the learning objective aloud and ask the students to choral chant it back to you.
  • Write context clues on the board. Say, "It is often helpful to look at what comes before and after a tricky word. The words before and after a tricky word can give readers helpful context clues about the meaning and structure of the new word, as well as how it is used. Today, we are going to figure out tricky words by reading the sentences before and after the word we are trying to figure out. We will be focusing on finding examples and using logic to determine what they mean!"


  • Prior to the lesson, define the following words in student's home language (L1): nonfiction, located, created, measure, label, context clues.
  • Provide a mini-lesson on using context clues prior to the lesson.


  • Provide students with a bilingual word bank with important words and phrases.
  • Allow students to sit near the front of the classroom during the lesson.