How Many Homographs?
Students will be able to understand multiple meanings of common homographs.
- Tell students that today they will be learning about Homographs.
- Remind students that homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Homographs may be pronounced the same (these are called homonyms) or pronounced differently (heteronyms).
- Point out that the word "homograph" is made up of the root word "graph" which means "to write" and the prefix "homo" which means "same." Thus, the word is literally translated as "to write the same."
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Label a piece of chart paper with the heading "homographs" and make two columns below the heading.
- In one column, write a homograph (e.g. "bat"). In the second column, list two meanings for the word and draw a quick picture for each meaning (i.e., a small flying mammal/a long wooden object used to hit a ball).
- Repeat with several examples, making sure to list at least six different homophones (e.g., "sink," "park," "nail," "foot," "row," "rose," "tear").
- Invite students to suggest additional homographs for the list.
- Keep the list posted throughout the lesson.
Guided practise(15 minutes)
- Display a list of common English homographs (see related media). Give students a few minutes to read through the list.
- Hand out eight blank index cards to each student.
- Instruct students to write matching homographs on two of their cards. For example, they might write the word "scale" on two different cards. Remind them to use large print and to only write on one side of the cards, leaving the other side blank.
- Then have them repeat with their remaining cards, so that they have four sets of different homographs (e.g., two cards with the word "bank," two cards with the word "post," and so on).
- Have students partner with two other students and tell each group to mix their cards together so that, as a group, they have 24 cards (12 sets of homographs) altogether. (Note: if a group has several copies of the same homograph, have them take out some repeated cards so that there is only one set of each homograph.)
- Tell students that they will be playing the game "homograph memory" with their cards. They should turn all of their cards facedown. Then they will take turns flipping over two cards, trying to make a match. If a student makes a match, they should use the homograph in two sentences to illustrate two different meanings of the word. If they are able to use the homographs in sentences successfully, they can keep the matching cards in their pile. The player with the most cards wins!
- Collect all the game cards to use later in the lesson.
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Hand out the Hold the Homographs! worksheet and read the instructions aloud.
- Complete the first question as a model for the class. Then, instruct students to finish the worksheet independently.
- Circulate and offer support as needed.
- Allow students to draw a picture on their card during the assessment instead of writing the meaning in words.
- Provide a word bank for the homographs in the Hold the Homographs! worksheet.
- Extend this homograph lesson by talking about context clues and how to recognise the intended meaning of a homophone while reading. Use a worksheet on context clues to provide practise (see optional materials).
- Use the homograph cards from the memory game and hand out one card to each student.
- Tell students to write two meanings for the word on the back of their card and write a sentence for each meaning.
- Collect the cards as exit cards.
- Optional: hang each card from a string and display, so that both sides can be seen (like a homograph mobile).
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask and discuss:
- What makes homographs confusing?
- How can we understand which meaning is intended when we see homographs while reading?