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Multiple Meaning Words: Lesson Plan and Activities

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 9/11/2012

This vocabulary lesson plan on multiple meaning words is a great to teach homographs to students. Using picture books, sample sentences, and real-life contexts can help students to fully understand this important concept.

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    Introduction to Vocabulary Lesson Plan on Multiple Meaning Words

    To start off the lesson, read a book on multiple meaning words, such as “The Dove Dove” by Marvin Terban or “The King Who Rained” by Fred Gwynne. Make sure that students understand the concept of multiple meaning words from the book as words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Explain that pairs of multiple meaning words may have the same or different pronunciations. Then tell the students that you will reread the book again, but this time you will all search for pairs of multiple meaning words. Write these pairs on the board as you find them.

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    Sample Sentences

    Give out a list of multiple meaning words to students. Have each student choose five pairs of multiple meaning words and make sentences with each word. Then encourage them to break into pairs and discusses the different usages of the multiple meaning words in their sentences.

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    Connect to the Curriculum

    Understanding multiple meaning words is essential for many academic subjects, especially science. Have students look through the glossaries of their science textbooks for examples of words that are used one way in a conversational context and another way in a science context. For example, the word “wave” normally refers to a hand gesture, or possibly a movement of water. In a science context, however, the word “wave” can refer to energy waves or heat waves. The same would be true of the words “force,” “table,” or “fault.”

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    Review

    As you teach other objects, stay on the lookout for ways to point out multiple meaning words often. For example, in a class about U.S. history, you might talk about what the words “house” or “bill” mean in the context of government. In a math class, you might talk about the words “point” or “times.” The more that you bring up this vocabulary lesson plan on multiple meaning words, the more that students will be able to apply what they’ve learned to whatever subject they are studying.

Teaching Homonyms: Homophones and Homographs

The category of homonyms contains two subgroups: homophones and homographs. This series on teaching homonyms includes lesson plans and activities for teaching homographs (multiple meaning words) and homophones.
  1. Reading Lesson Plan: Learning About Homophones
  2. Fun Activities for Teaching Homophones
  3. Multiple Meaning Words: Lesson Plan and Activities