Lesson Plan

Build Vocabulary through Reading Current Events

Vocabulary Development
Julia B.
Special education instructor
Ridge High School
Basking Ridge, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to:

  • Strengthen vocabulary knowledge through creating a personal dictionary on using the app dictionary.com flashcard and the website wordle
  • Utilize appropriate reading strategies to construct meaning for the text and demonstrate comprehension
  • Strengthen fluency by reading orally, materials at appropriate instructional level
English Language Arts
Grades 8 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

* Note this lesson is best done in small groups of 3-5 students. 

  1. Choose an article to read from CNN Student News, Channel One News, HuffPost teen, or any other news cite. Select articles based on student interest and instructional reading level 
  2. Provide each student with an iPad and have the article already pulled up on the screen.
  3. Explain to students the purpose of the lesson is to build their comprehension skills through applying reading strategies nonfiction text
  4. Ask students what they do when they are reading and come to an unknown word (i.e. look it up in a dictonary, ask the teacher for it's meaning, use context clues, skip over it)


2 Guided Practice

  1. Tell students we are going to use the strategy of looking up words in an online dictonary and creating online flashcards
  2. Tell students to scan the article in front of them and to raise their hand when they have found a word that is unfamiliar to them
  3. Compile a list of 2-3 words that students are unfamiliar with
  4. If all students have a Smart device (i.e. iPhone) ask them to take it out at this time and download the free app dictonary.com flashcards, if not use the classroom iPads and create a personal classroom dictionary. Have students take turns using it. 
  5. Choose one of the words from the list and ask students to look up the word and create a flashcard for it using the ditionary.com flashcards app.  Students should include the part of speech, definiton, a synonym, and a sentence for each word.
  6. Next, have students take turns reading the article stopping every two paragraphs or so to summarize the main points and add more words into their dictionary.
  7. After students are finished reading the article and have 3-4 words in their personal dictonary ask students to go to the website Wordle and explain that they are going to create a word cloud (map) for one of the words they just learned. Explain that the word cloud must include charastictics of the word (part of speech), and related words (synonmys) and phrases.

3 Independent practice

Free, Paid
  1. Walk around the room and monitor students as they create their word clouds on Wordle
  2. Once students are finished with their word clouds have them print them out and share them with one another
  3. As students are creating their wordle creat a vocabulary quiz using socratic and the words that students have learned 

4 Wrap-up

Free, Paid
  1. Review the lesson by asking students what they learned during this lesson and how they will continue to use the dictonary.com flashcard app to build their own personal dictionary
  2. Have students login to socrative, using their phones or the iPads you have provide to them, and talk a vocabulary quiz for the words they have just learned
  3. Close the lesson by having students post their wordle word clouds on a word wall in the classroom