The Missing Word

Phonics Lesson Plan
Students will be able to predict possible missing words from a short story by using context clues and graphophonic clues.

Lesson Plan graphic

picture book with several words covered up (see sample); text set with enough books to give one to each table or group—some words should be covered or partially covered in each of the books

  1. Read the story aloud to the class saying the word "blank" where words are covered up.
  2. Have students suggest possible words that would complete the sentences correctly. Write all the suggestions on the board.
  3. Discuss why these words would work well or would not work and narrow the choices down according to what the class decides.
  4. Uncover the first letter and have students narrow choices down again or come up with another choice that fits.
  5. Do this same routine for each word that is covered up.
  6. Depending on the experience level and reading level of the students, you may want them to use pictures as clues for covered words, or you may want to even use a book without pictures.
  7. After students have finished decoding all of the covered words, have them form groups at tables where they will work together to do the same activity with another story.
  8. Have them write down all of their possible choices for the words.
  9. When the groups are done selecting their choices, give them hints by telling them the first or last letters of the word, or by giving them indications as to the consonant clusters or diagraphs found in the word.
  10. See which team predicted the most number of words correctly.

Ask the class some questions:
  • Do you have to read every single word in order to understand the story?
  • Does the use of synonyms make the story change?
  • When do you need the actual word used in a story in order to predict it?
  • How do you predict words?
  • What kinds of words were the hardest/easiest to predict?
  • How do the pictures help?

Which students were able to predict logical word choices? Who just randomly picked words, especially words that were not appropriate? When graphophonic clues were given (beginning letter, etc.) were students able to use them to figure out the actual word? Who was able to use pictures to really help in prediction? Which words were most commonly missed/guessed correctly?