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Lesson Plan

Vocabulary With Franklin: Helping Students Become Word Wizards

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 30 to 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Candice Wells

Burlington, New Jersey


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois, illustrated by Brenda Clark (Scholastic, 1986)

  • Franklin in the Dark DVD (JWL Sales, 2006) (optional)

  • Cardstock

  • Computers with Internet access

  • Highlighters

  • Index cards

  • Poker chips or checkers

  • Stuffed turtle or picture of a turtle

  • Television/DVD player (optional)

  • Writing supplies

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Word Wizard

Grades   K – 2  |  Student Interactive  |  Learning About Language

Word Wizard

Word Wizard uses themes from four popular U.S. children's books to create word puzzles that students solve by unscrambling letters and considering related clues.


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1. Obtain and familiarize yourself with the book that you would like to use. This lesson uses Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois. This is one of the books featured in the online Word Wizard tool, which students will use to unscramble vocabulary words. Other books in this tool include Corduroy by Don Freeman (Viking Children's, 1968); The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Philomel, 1987); and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (HarperCollins, 1991).

2. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve Session 4 in your school's computer lab. Visit and familiarize yourself with the Word Wizard tool. (You will need the free Flash Player to run this tool; download it at the Site Tools page.) Add the tool to the Favorites on the computers students will be using.

3. Choose five to ten vocabulary words from the book. Words can be taken from the Word Wizard tool or they can be different. (To see what words the tool uses, select Franklin in the Dark, play all four exercises, and then print your results.) Possible words for Franklin in the Dark include problem, turtle, water, afraid, and dark.

Gather two blank index cards per word for each student to use during Session 1 (see Step 4), and also write each word on an index card for students to use during Session 5 (see Step 2).

4. If you choose to show the video during Session 2, get a copy of the Franklin in the Dark DVD from the library. Arrange to use a television and DVD player and make sure you know how to turn on the captioning feature.

5. Review the Script for Franklin in the Dark and decide if you would like to use it with your students; if not (or if you are using a different book), prepare your own script. Aaron Shepard's RT Page is a helpful resource that provides tips and worksheets for creating scripts and for helping students with Readers Theatre. Make one copy of the script for each student in your class.

6. Review the Franklin in the Dark Word Match cards, which are used in Session 4. Copy the cards onto cardstock, making enough of each one so that every student will have a card. Write a definition of each word and gather poker chips or checkers for students to use as markers when playing the game.

If you are using a different book, make your own set of four or five cards. You will need 16 vocabulary words from the book (the ones you chose during Step 3 and a few more) and should place them in a different order on each card; you will also need to write definitions of the words.

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