Lesson plan

Context Clue Detectives

Young detectives will have a blast as they find context clues and solve a mystery in this fun-filled lesson plan. By paying close attention to a story, students will figure out missing letters to decipher a hidden message.
Need extra help for EL students? Try theWord DetectivesPre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try theWord DetectivesPre-lesson.

Read the text and get a clue about what’s going on in this language arts lesson! Perfect for first graders, this reading activity helps kids identify clues like titles, illustrations, and surrounding words to help them understand a story. As they practise determining meaning using context clues, they will be ready to start filling in any missing information. The Context Clue Detectives lesson plan highlights skills every good reader will want to practise and features several engaging activities.

Students will be able to use context clues to identify words within different sentences.

(5 minutes)
Guess the First LetterClosing Activity
  • Introduce the concept of Context clues. Tell the students, "Good readers use titles, illustrations, and words in a book to help them make sense of what they are reading. An unfamiliar word you find is like a Mystery. Without that word, the sentence you read will not make sense."
  • Let them know that being a good reader is like being a good detective. One must pay close attention to all of the clues in the story, then reread to go over them.
(5 minutes)
  • Say to the students, "I need your help! When I went to get today's reading book, I found that some of the letters were covered up. I don't know what some of these words are. Today, I need you all to be detectives. As I read this book to you, I need you to tell me what letters is missing. Hopefully, with the letters, we can figure out the missing words."
  • Go over the guidelines for participation in this activity.
  • Tell the students that as you read each page from the story, you will show them the book. They will see that there are some letters that have been covered up. As you get to each missing word, if they think you know what the letter is, they can raise their hands to be called on. That letter will be plugged, then you will reread the sentence. If the word makes sense in that sentence, then that letter is a clue.
(10 minutes)
  • Draw lines on the board for each missing letter in your message.
  • Follow the Guess the First Letter activity instructions. As you read the book, have the students guess the letter, then reread the sentence. If they get the letter correct, fill in that space of the message on the board. Continue until you finish the book.
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute copies of the Closing Activity worksheet, and have students complete it independently.
  • Collect the worksheets once students are finished working. Review them later to assess students' understanding.
  • Enrichment:Challenge advanced students to make their Closing Activity story as wacky as possible. This will help them use words that they don't often use.
  • Support:For struggling students, make sure to only cover simple words in the story.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students, "What are some of the things you had to do in order to find out what the missing letters and words were?"
  • As the students respond, write their steps down on the chart paper to create an anchor chart for future reference.
(5 minutes)
  • Review how good readers use context clues as you thank the students for their help in discovering the missing letters.

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