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Carly Williky


Teaching Reading: Mini Lesson Format (Calkins, 2001)

Targeted Literacy Strategy or Skill: Inferring the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words
Grade level: 3rd grade
Objective: The student will be able to use context clues to help them figure out the vocabulary words they
dont already know that appears in their reading.
Common Core State Standard/ PASS Standard: Common Core State Standard L.3.4: A- Use sentencelevel context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
Prior knowledge: (What students already know): Students will already know how to read and how to
use context clues. They will also know how to use the dictionary just incase context clues dont work that
well for them.
Observations/Rationale: (Before Lesson) What did you notice in your students work that let you
know this lesson was necessary? (This will be an approximation this semester.): They were having a
hard time with the words in the reading that they didnt know. They werent sure how to figure out what
the words meant and didnt know how to use their context clues to help them.

Materials Needed: a book with bigger vocabulary words

Lesson from (Name your source including page number): Strategies that Work, page 139-140
Mentor Text: Fly High: The Story of Bessie Coleman, by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger
Materials: Think Chart
Student Groups (whole/small group/partners): Whole Class and then individual work
Mini Lesson Format:
Connect (AKA~ Anticipatory Set, Engagement/Pre-reading): Good Morning Class!

Teach (Model/Explain): I am now going to introduce a four-column think sheet headed

Word/Inferred Meaning/Clues/Sentence to help figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. I will
read aloud Fly High: The Story of Bessie Coleman and create a four-column lesson chart with
headings identical to the ones on the think sheet. As I read this book aloud, I will ask the students
to raise their hands when I come to a word that they have never heard before. A few pages into
the book there is a sentence that says He had moved to Chicago years before when Bessie was
little. Now Walter was a fine Pullman porter. Multiple students raised their hands as they didnt
know the meaning of the term Pullman Porter. I will write Pullman Porter in the first column
of the chart and we will discuss how to determine the meaning by using our context clues. If we
look at the book, there is a picture of a man in a uniform carrying a suitcase and helping a young
woman off the train. We can infer that Pullman Porter is a railroad worker who carried bags for
people as they got on and off the train. I will fill in the chart with the word, inferred meaning, and
the clue (the picture) and then as a class we will write a sentence. We will continue to do this
throughout the book. When we finish this book, each student will be given their own think sheet

and they will practice this in their own reading.

Active Engagement (AKA~ Check for Understanding: students try it out, teacher observes):
When the class understands how to fill in each of the columns, I will call on students to fill in each
column after we come across a word we dont know. I will assist them if they are stuck, but most
of the work will be done as a class. After the book is finished, they will be given their own think
sheet and they will practice inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words.

Link (AKA~ Closing the Lesson [with accountability for the skill/process]): This should become
a regular practice in our classroom as we come across unfamiliar words that we are trying to
determine the meaning.