Context Clues in Sentences


With our Context Clues in Sentences lesson plan, students learn how to use context clues in sentences to determine the meaning of words and phrases.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to hold a “Context Bee” where you use a word or phrase in a sentence and have students take turns defining the word and giving clues for learning its meaning.

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What our Context Clues in Sentences lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Context Clues in Sentences teaches students strategies for determining the meaning of a word or phrase using context clues. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. This lesson is for students in 1st grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the green box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only supplies you will need for this lesson are the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can copy the handouts and pair students for the activity.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One optional addition to the lesson activity is to add more words or phrases. For an additional activity, you can hold a “Context Bee” where you use a word or phrase in a sentence and have students take turns defining the word and giving clues for learning its meaning. Finally, you can use your current reading material and choose unknown words for students to define using context clues.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Clues in Sentences

The Context Clues in Sentences lesson plan includes two pages of content. The lesson begins by stating that the word clue might make you think about a person trying to solve a mystery or a puzzle using clues. If you see dirt on your kitchen floor, for example, you might wonder where the dirt came from and ask yourself how you can learn more about it. To do this, you might look for clues. You might see a dog in the living room who has dirt on his feet. This is a clue! If it’s the same dirt that is in the kitchen, the dog is likely the source of the dirt on the kitchen floor. You used a clue to find out what happened.

We can also use clues to learn new words or phrases, by looking at how the word is used and thinking about the meaning of the other words in the sentence. Sentences are full of clues that can help you learn new words and phrases.

The lesson shows an example of a sentence with a made up word. Even though it’s not a real world, we can still guess its meaning using the context clues in the sentence: My mom gave me an umbrella because she said it might gagle today. To figure out the meaning of the made up word gagle, we need to look at the rest of the sentence. This fake word means rain! We know this because of the word umbrella. This word is a clue because we know that we need umbrellas when it rains.

The lesson includes another example using a made up word and asks students to guess what it means based on the context clues. When you see a new word that you don’t know, you should try to find some clues in the rest of the sentence that can tell you what the new word means. Other sentences in the same paragraph or text can also give you clues. The more clues you can find, the more words you will learn!


The Context Clues in Sentences lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete this activity. Each pair will discuss the meaning of the bold phrases in each of four passages included on the worksheet. They will then discuss what they think the meaning is with the class.

Students can work either alone or in groups for this activity if you’d prefer.


For the practice worksheet, students will use clues to guess the meaning of the made up words in each sentence. They will also write down which clue helped them figure out the meaning of the made up word.


Students will work with a parent or other adult family member to complete the homework assignment. They will read the fable included on the worksheet and will try to guess the meaning of the bolded words, writing the meaning and the clue that helped them figure it out in the space provided on the worksheet.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade


Language Arts, Video

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.