Lessons & Units

Vocabulary in Context 1st Grade Unit


Lesson 1 Visual and Meaning Cues Use visual cues to read unknown words.Use meaning cues to read unknown words.
Lesson 2 Structure and Meaning Cues Use meaning cues to read unknown words.Use structure cues to read unknown words.
Lesson 3 Strategies for Determining the Meaning of a Word Use visual, meaning, and structure clues together to determine the meaning of a word.

Unit Extension Ideas

  • Have students determine the meaning of new vocabulary words during read aloud sessions, shared reading, and guided reading by using visual, structural, and meaning cues. See below ('More Books for Teaching Vocabulary in Context') for additional read aloud opportunities.
  • You can play a memory game with new vocabulary words learned in reading. Write the vocabulary word on an index card and have students tell you what it means or use it in a sentence.
  • Write new vocabulary words on index cards. On a separate set of index cards, draw a picture for each word. Have students match the word to the correct picture and sentence that describes each word.
  • When students are reading and come to a word that they have a hard time decoding or do not understand, have them cover parts of the word, such as the prefix or suffix, to see if there are any parts of the word that they do know. Use the part of the word that they know to read the word and figure out the meaning of the word. Teachers should model this strategy for students using Direct Teaching, Guided Practice, and Independent Practice so students can fully understand how to use this strategy.
  • Have students brainstorm words with a root word. Place a root word in the center and have students brainstorm words that contain the root word. (See Additional Activity A in Teacher and Student Materials below.)
  • When students encounter a new word, have them complete a graphic organizer with the word, a sentence using the word, and an illustration of the word. (See Additional Activity B in Teacher and Student Materials below.)
  • Have students complete a cloze activity to practice new vocabulary words. (See Additional Activity C in Teacher and Student Materials below for an example.) You can also create your own cloze activities by photocopying pages of a book and covering words that you would like students to practice.
  • Use a bookmark or create a poster of strategies to hang in the classroom that students can use to read new vocabulary and understand the meaning of words. You can add any ideas to the bookmark/poster included in this unit. More advanced students can create their own bookmarks or posters of strategies they find useful. (See Additional Activity D in Teacher and Student Materials below.)
  • During shared writing, rewrite sentences with new vocabulary words.  For example, “It was funny” can be rewritten as “It was hysterical.”
  • Make a class vocabulary book. Have students use the new vocabulary words from a book in sentences and illustrate what they mean.
  • Have students write a sentence with each new vocabulary word learned in the lesson.
  • Group words by topic. When learning new vocabulary during social studies and science, have students keep a list of words in journals specific to a topic or subject area. They can illustrate each word and use it in a sentence. Discuss how topics provide us with meaning clues to unknown words.