Lessons & Units :: Vocabulary in Context 4th Grade Unit

Lesson 1: Choosing the Right Strategy

Lesson Plan

Learning Goal
Use multiple strategies to determine the meaning of a word in context.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Direct Teaching Vocabulary Strategies Chart; Direct Teaching and Guided Practice Passage, “Free Speech at School;” Direct Teaching and Guided Practice Example Chart; Independent Practice Worksheet
Not Provided: Chart paper, markers, articles, Independent Reading books
  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain that when I am reading a text, I can use multiple strategies to understand the meaning of a word that I don’t understand. I will share a chart of strategies previously learned. (Direct Teaching Teacher Example Chart is provided in the Teacher and Student Materials section.) (Note: Please refer to Vocabulary in Context 3rd Grade lessons if a further review is required.) I will read the first paragraph of “Free Speech at School” aloud (provided in the Teacher and Student Materials section) and use each strategy on my chart to illustrate how to learn the meaning of a word. (Direct Teaching and Guided Practice Teacher Example Chart is provided in the Teacher and Student Materials section.) For example, “right” must mean a power or privilege someone is fairly entitled to. The author defines the word in the sentence, so I used an appositive to figure out what "right" means. In addition, “just” must mean fair. I know this by identifying a contrasting statement in the sentence. If there are no clues in the text, I will use a dictionary to find the word’s meaning.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How do I find the meaning of unknown words in texts? Students should respond that you use contrasting statements, appositives, prefixes, context clues, and dictionaries to find the meaning of unknown words.

  • Guided Practice

    will read the remaining paragraphs of “Free Speech at School” and use prefixes, contrasting statements, context clues, and appositives to determine the meaning of the words in bold. If we cannot figure out a word’s meaning from the text, we will look it up in the dictionary. We will chart the words, their meanings, and the strategies we used together.

  • Independent Practice

    will select an article from a magazine or newspaper, or use your book for Independent Reading to identify the meaning of difficult and unknown words. You will fill out the Word Journal (Student Independent Practice provided below) by recording difficult words in the text, what they mean, and which strategy you used to figure out their meaning.

Build Student Vocabulary express

Tier 2 Word: express
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story "Freedom of Expression is an important right to express your opinions, religion, or beliefs without fear of punishment."
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) To express means that to share your inner thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Freedom of Expression guarantees your right to share your inner thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
Students repeat the word Say the word express with me: express.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts I express my feelings in my diary. When I’m in a good mood, I express myself by giving everyone lots of hugs – that’s how I show how I feel. The president’s speech expressed his ideas on education.
Students provide examples When you’re in a bad mood, how do you express yourself? Students should say, “I express myself by…”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? express
Additional Vocabulary Words represented, mission

Build Student Background Knowledge

After reading the passage, show students where Vietnam is on your world map. Explain that Vietnam is part of the continent of Asia. In the 1960s and 1970s (1957-1975), the United States was involved in a war between North and South Vietnam. The U.S. defended South Vietnam against North Vietnam. It was the longest war in which the United States took part. During this time, televisions were becoming popular in American homes, and for the first time in history, Americans could watch the war on TV. This influenced many young people to protest, or object to, the war in Vietnam. Tinker, the high school student we just read about, was one of these young protesters.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

(To see all of the ReadWorks lessons aligned to your standards, click here.)

User Comments

amazing plan! great for differentiation

Thanks! Great vocabulary lesson for students with learning disabilities.

This website is awesome...Thank you so much....

Thanks for this very well chalked out plan, I was teaching my class how to use the context clues to figure out the meaning of a word/s they do not understand. This additional practice will definitely help them.

Thank you

This site provides me with the resources that I need to make quick interventions with my Strategic Reading Groups. I always know that I can find what I need to target a needed skill without having to spend tons of time searching through texts and on line.

I love,love,love this lesson. Just what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

Finding this site is timely. Thank you so much for these great lessons!

This site helps out a great deal. Thank you to all of the contributors.

I am looking through your site and plan on using a few of the lessons I have discovered. I thank you for the format of your plans and the availability of so many great lessons!

Submitted by Diane 11/6/14

Love this site!! Thanks to all that have shared .... you make me love teaching reading!!

I really like this web site. I am just learning about the Gradual Release format and the way lessons are laid out with the I do, We do, You do really help, plus everything is aligned to the standards!!! Way to go Read Works!!! Thank you!!


Readworks is such a teacher friendly site that enables us to teach effectively. In an age of accountability where instruction often is compromised by mindless paperwork, Readworks places quality materials within our reach. Resources and materials that allow us to effectively do what we do best- instruct our students.