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Lesson Plan

To, Too, or Two: Developing an Understanding of Homophones

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To, Too, or Two: Developing an Understanding of Homophones

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time One 60-minute session
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Site or sight? Write or right? Because there are many words in the English language that sound the same but are spelled differently, students may struggle to write the right spelling for certain words. These word types known to complicate spelling and vocabulary are called homophones. An integral part of students' vocabulary and spelling development is to learn and understand the meaning of these homophones. In this minilesson, students begin by generating a list of homophones with which they are familiar. Students then listen to a song, identify homophones in the song, and discuss their meaning and spelling. Finally, student groups create a skit that depicts the meaning of a homophone. As the group performs the skit, their classmates attempt to guess the homophone that is on display. Groups finish the lesson by creating a comic strip version of their skit to be compiled into a class "homophone book."

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Bear, D.R. & Templeton, S. (1998). Explorations in developmental spelling: Foundations for learning and teaching phonics, spelling, and vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 52, 222242.

This article discusses the stages of spelling development and explores how those stages translate into appropriate instruction. Bear and Templeton touch on several aspects of vocabulary and spelling development including homophone instruction. The authors make the following observations:

  • Homophone instruction is an important transition in students' spelling and vocabulary development as it marks the point where "vocabulary development and meaning patterns increasingly become major aspects of word study instruction."

  • Instruction in the meaning and spelling of homophones also helps students realize that the spelling of a word "can represent its meaning as well as its sound."

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