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Lesson Plan

Identifying and Classifying Verbs in Context

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Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Minilesson
Estimated Time 60 minutes
Lesson Author

Ellen Woolfolk

New York, New York


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Verbs are the glue that holds sentences together; without verbs, there can be no action in a sentence. In this lesson, students participate in an interactive read-aloud of Ruth Heller's Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs. As students listen to the story, they respond to guided questions that help them express their understanding of the three types of verbs—action verbs, state-of-being or linking verbs, and helping verbs. After the skills are introduced and demonstrated, students have the opportunity to work both in groups and individually to identify and classify verbs in context. Finally, students summarize what they learned about verbs during the lesson.

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Barnitz, J.G. (1998). Revising grammar instruction for authentic composing and comprehending. The Reading Teacher, 51(7), 608–610.

  • Syntactic ability can be acquired through social interaction with authentic texts. One strategy is "sentence collecting" (Speaker & Speaker, 1991), in which students read authentic texts at home and school and collect sentences interesting to them in meaning, function, or structure. These sentences are then used in the classroom to inspire reflections and discussions, thus situating authentic syntax in social contexts.

  • In-process questioning helps learners construct meanings for the texts and sentences within the texts they are comprehending or composing.

  • Authentic communicative situations in which students speak, listen, write, and read with other persons gives their linguistic and communicative abilities a chance to grow. Situated interactions, supported by direct or indirect instruction, help learners acquire syntactic aspects of literacy.

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