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Beginning ReadingBeginning-Reading?

  • Subject: Reading
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: 1-2 class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Student Objectives

  • Define the terms antonym, synonym, and homophone.
  • Identify pairs of antonyms.


  • Beginning Reading video
  • Writing paper
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Index cards, 20 per student
  • Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
  • Pencils and erasers


  1. Watch "Your Word Bank," a segment of Beginning Reading with your class as an introduction to synonyms, antonyms, and homophones. Then discuss these types of words. Ask students to define the terms synonym, antonym, and homophone. Ask them how homophones differ from synonyms and antonyms?
  2. Ask each student to share at least one example of a pair of synonyms, antonyms, and homophones. Write examples on the board or on a piece of chart paper and discuss them. Discuss any questionable examples with the class. Are the words actually (synonyms, antonyms, homophones)? Why or why not? Assess the students' understanding of the types of words and make sure they understand the differences before moving on.
  3. Next, tell them that they will create a game called Antonym Match-Up. Have students quietly and individually create lists of 10 pairs of antonyms. Tell them not to share their lists with one another. Students may use a dictionary or thesaurus.
  4. Give each student 20 blank index cards: They will write one word from their list on each card and draw a picture representing it on the same card. If they have difficulty drawing images of certain pairs, allow them to come up with new antonyms that might be better suited to the game.
  5. Next, have students pair up and play their games by mixing up their antonym pairs and laying the cards on a surface in rows of five so their partner can see all the cards. Partners must correctly match all the antonym pairs. Each partner should take a turn. If time permits, allow students to play with a different student. Walk around the classroom and assess student behavior and understanding while they are playing.
  6. After students have finished playing, discuss some of the antonyms. Which were easier antonyms to match? Which were difficult? If any antonym pairs did not seem clear, discuss them with the class to see if they are actually antonyms.
  7. Have students keep their match-up games in their desks to play during free time. If time and resources permit, allow students to create match-up games for homophones or synonyms.

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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points:  Students easily and clearly defined the terms synonym, antonym, and homophone and provided clear examples of all three types of words; created unique and colorful match-up cards with 10 pairs of true antonyms; were able to easily determine all 10 pairs of antonyms in the game with little or no assistance.
  • 2 points:  Students sufficiently defined at least two of the terms synonym, antonym, or homophone; provided adequate examples of at least two of the types; created somewhat unique and colorful match-up cards with at least eight pairs of true antonyms; were able to determine at least six pairs of antonyms in the game with some assistance.
  • 1 point:  Students were unable to define the terms synonym, antonym, or homophone and did not provide examples of any of the types of words; created incomplete or incorrect match-up cards with four or fewer pairs of true antonyms; were unable or unwilling to determine the pairs of antonyms in the game without a great deal of assistance.

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Definition: A word having a meaning opposite of another word
Context: Hot and cold are antonyms because they are opposites.

Definition: One of two or more words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling
Context: The words see and sea are homophones.

Definition: Something that one wishes to convey, especially by language; sense or significance
Context: Synonyms are words that have the same meaning.

Definition: A word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words
Context: Fast and rapid are examples of synonyms because they have the same meaning.

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Academic Standards

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks,
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Language Arts - Reading: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process; Uses reading skills to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts; Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
  • Language Arts - Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching the English language arts. To view the standards online, go
This lesson plan addresses the following English standards:
  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts
  • Students use spoken, written and visual language to accomplish their own purposes
  • Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works
  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts
  • Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities

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