Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Follow the Clues

Janice Jowers
Okaloosa County Schools


The students read a story and predict words that make sense in replacing the nonsense words based on context clues. They choose appropriate words to match the meaning of nonsense words in sentences based on the context clues of the sentences.


The student extends previously learned knowledge and skills of the third grade with increasingly complex reading selections and assignments and tasks (for example, decoding, context clues, predicting, variety of word structure, constructing meaning, purposes of reading).


-The story about manatees (see Associated Files).
-Overhead projector
-A chalk board or white board for the teacher to record student responses
-The Context Clues worksheet with sentences that contain nonsense words and three choices of synonyms for those words (see Associated Files). The children are to select the words that fit the meaning of the underlined words by using context clues in the sentence.
-A pencil for the children to record their responses.
-Art supplies for the children to illustrate one of the sentences.(optional - see extensions)


1. Make sure the overhead projector is in position to project on the screen.
2. Prepare the board to record the studentsí responses of the words that would replace the nonsense words in the manatee story (see Associated Files).
3. Make a copy of the manatee story to use on the overhead projector (see Associated Files).
4. Make copies of the Context Clues worksheet (see Associated Files) for the studentsí responses. Make enough copies for each student to have one.
5. Make a teacher copy of the answer key.
6. Make sure each child has a pencil and art supplies.(optional - see extensions)


1. Prepare the chalkboard or whiteboard ahead of time to record the studentsí responses for the three nonsense words found in the story. (see Teacher Prep)

2. Position the overhead projector ahead of time so all the children can see the story projected on the screen. (see Teacher Prep)

3. Project the story about the manatee (see Associated File) on the overhead projector.

4. Explain to the students that this will be a lesson showing them how to determine the meaning of words using the context of the stories in which they are written.

5. Read the story with the students and discuss the nonsense words, asking the children what words they think would make sense in the blanks.

6. Discuss with the students how to determine what word/words would make sense in the sentences.

7. Give the students a few minutes to confer with a partner to determine what three words they would write in place of the nonsense words.

8. Ask the children to share their responses and record them on the board.

9. Read the story using the different words that were suggested by the students, commenting on whether the words make sense in the story.

10. Ask the children why they chose the words they did.

11. Accept all answers while emphasizing the strategy of using context clues to determine which words would fit the meaning of the sentence.

12. Pass out the Context Clues worksheet with the practice sentences (see Associated Files).

13. Model for the students how they are to read each sentence and determine what the underlined nonsense word means using the context clues from the sentence.

14. The students complete the rest of the sentences, recording the words that mean the same as the underlined nonsense word based on the context clues of the sentences.


Look at the sheet with the nonsense words that the children have to comprehend using context clues (see Associated Files). The students should complete this paper with 80% accuracy for mastery.


Have the students illustrate one of the sentences from the Context Clues worksheet at the bottom of the paper.
Have the students turn their Context Clues worksheet over and write three nonsense words. Write three sentences of their own using these words, making sure the meanings they have in mind for the words fits the context of the sentence. Illustrate one of the sentences. Give their paper to a friend to see if they can determine the meanings of the words from their sentences.
The students who have difficulty reading should work with a partner to make sure they read the words correctly enhance their comprehension of this reading skill.

Web Links

Web supplement for Follow the Clues
Inferential Context Clues

Web supplement for Follow the Clues
What Are Context Clues?

Web supplement for Follow the Clues
Vocabulary Drill

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