What Is a Vocabulary Context Clues Lesson Plan?

Teaching vocabulary is not always dry and dull; however, it certainly can be at times. Try employing a lesson using context clues to spice the lesson up a bit.

What Is a Vocabulary Context Clues Lesson Plan? What Is a Vocabulary Context Clues Lesson Plan?

Context Clues Lesson Plan


  • "Mad Libs" game handout (1 per student)
  • Paragraph with missing words (1 per student)
  • Paragraph without the missing words (1 per student)


  1. Students will create a nonsensical paragraph writing assignment through Mad Libs.
  2. Students will fill in the blanks for a paragraph, based on the words surrounding the blank.
  3. Students will offer their own definitions of context clues.


1. The teacher will hand out the Mad Libs assignment to the class. The students will be given approximately five to seven minutes to complete the Mad Libs, and they will be instructed to follow the directions exactly, so that they do not see the words surrounding the blanks.

2. Students will be broken up into groups and asked to share their Mad Libs assignments with one another.

3. A discussion will ensue in which the following questions are asked:

  • How many of your stories made sense?
  • Why do the stories not make sense?
  • What are some ways this story could make sense?

4. The teacher will distribute the paragraphs with blanks to the class. However, this time, the students will be instructed to guess the missing word based upon the words around it. Students will have approximately seven to ten minutes to complete this portion of the lesson.

5. Once all of the students have completed the assignment, distribute the paragraph as it was written without the missing words. Ask students to compare the words that they used with the words that were actually used.

6. A discussion ensues in which the following questions are asked:

  • What is the difference in how you handled these two stories?
  • How does having the words around the blank help?
  • Were the words that you selected fairly accurate?
  • Do you know what we call this method?
  • Can you offer a definition of context clues?

7. A brief lecture ensues in which the teacher describes how students can use this method with words that they do not know. Even though there was no word, the students could figure out what should be there based on the clues around the space. Therefore, if students do not know a vocabulary word, they can use the words around it to decipher it.

8. Homework: Ask students to create their own paragraphs with missing words. They should have a copy with the correct words too. The next day, students will have other students fill in the blanks.

Suggestions and Tips

  • You may shorten or lengthen time limits for each of the tasks, depending upon the level of the class.
  • Instead of handing out the paragraph with the correct words to the students, ask them to guess what the correct word was in a large group discussion, if you have the time to do so.
  • For older or more advanced students, allow them to have discussions within their small groups.
  • If there is time in the classroom, allow them to start the homework there so that you can assist the students with any difficulty or troubles. Furthermore, doing so will allow for a "writing workshop" type of atmosphere in the classroom.

Like many lesson plans, this one can be tweaked in order to fit your individual needs. However, this model is a framework for you to use in its entirety or to take bits and pieces of to create a lesson plan on context clues that is appropriate for the students in your class.

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