Lesson: Decoding/Context Activity

Author: Marc Sheehan

Subjects: Reading

Instructional Level: 1-6

Skills: Decoding words, reading in context

Time: 15 minutes

Source of Idea: Marla Assouan, Lake Dolloff Elementary

Materials: Whiteboard, large paper on easel or chalkboard, writing utensils

Objectives: Students will be able to identify possible words that make sense in a sentence or passage. Students will learn to read through an entire word and ask themselves if the word they identify makes sense and fits spelling criteria.

Introduction: This activity was used in a Resource Room setting. My main goal was to teach my students not to make guesses after only reading one or two letters, but to try to offer a word that made sense based on the context of the sentence or passage and also was spelled correctly.

Procedure: A sentence or short passage is written on the board or paper with a blank space in it. The blank space contains the first letter of a target word. Students are asked to offer words that use a specific beginning letter. Once the words are listed, they listen to the teacher read the sentence using that word. They are asked to state if the sentence sounds correct. Words that make sense stay, words that do not are erased or crossed out. The next letter is given and words that do not include both of the first two letters are eliminated. The process continues until one word, the correct word remains. Students like to guess what word will be correct, so it helps to emphasize that this is only an activity, all suggestions are welcome, and you're not looking for a winner at that point in time. (If you choose to use this as a competitive game, skip that last part)

Closure/Modifications: The activity ends once the correct word is identified. Students may want to participate again, so it may help to have a few ideas ready to go or be a quick thinker. Students usually will understand if you ask them to give you a moment or two to think of a sentence. Modifications could include using or drawing pictures to accompany certain words, focusing on vocabulary words, and using word or letter cards or tiles.

Assessment: Does the sentence make sense? Does the word fit the spelling criteria?

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