Today, I want to share five ways to teach multiple meaning words. Multiple meaning words are words that sound alike but mean different things. These can include homonyms, but it also can include words that have a noun and verb meaning too. Students will need to depend on the context to understand the intended meaning of the word.
Why teach multiple meaning words? Teaching multiple meaning words will help deepen reading comprehension and expand vocabulary use in writing.
Activity #1 Homophone Picture Match
Visuals are a great way to help your visual students to build a mental image of the homophones. Playing a game of cards that involves matching is a fun, easy way to accomplish this. Print some pictures of some homophones like pair/pear, hair/hare, ate/eight, etc. Attach the pictures to some index cards with the words written on the bottom. Laminate them. Students can use the cards to play a memory game or a round of go fish.
Activity #2 Homophone Sort
Word sorts are also beneficial to students. While visual pictures should be used too, it’s important to focus in on the spelling differences too. For this activity, write the homophones on some index cards and laminate them. Let students sort the matching homophones into pairs.
Activity #3 Illustrate Two Meanings
With this activity, students will draw two illustrations to represent the word with multiple meanings. Have students fold a sheet of paper in half. Then on each side, let them illustrate the meaning of the word. For example with the word bat, students will draw a baseball bat on the left side of the paper. On the right side, they may draw a flying bat.
To up enthusiasm, let your class use this activity to make the game cards for the picture match activity that was mentioned first. Instead of using paper, they can draw on index cards. Let students write the word under each illustration. Instead of it being folded, they will make two separate cards for the same word such as the word bat. Laminate them for durability. Place the cards in a center for them to use. They will LOVE this even more. I’m telling you, this will be a hit and have them very engaged and picking up on those multiple meaning words FAST.
Activity #4 Dig into Context
It’s important that students also be able to use context to distinguish the differences in multiple meaning words. Task cards are a fun way for students to determine the meaning of a multiple meaning word in context. Students can read sentences, and then select the meaning that fits the word.
Task cards can also be used for an assortment of activities. You can play a game of Scoot or combine them with a game board easily.
On a side note, these task cards pictured below actually tells a story about a bat that loves baseball for fun.
Click here or the picture to check out these printable task cards. These include color and black lined options. There are also two options for the recording sheets, so you can use 20 or 28 task cards with your students.
You can also save time with the digital format instead. That means no cutting, and it is engaging for students! Click here or the image to link to it.
Activity #5 Write it in Context
Once students have some experience with defining multiple meaning words in context, challenge them more by letting them come up with their own sentences that contain them. If your students have an interactive notebook, you can let them use one of these free templates linked below and write the multiple meaning words within the context of sentences under each word. Click here for the free template.
There you have it, five ways to teach multiple meaning words. I hope you found these ideas helpful! If you would like a free set of task cards for long and short vowels, sign-up for email here. You will also receive many other freebies, more teaching ideas, sales announcements, and more over time.
Thanks for stopping by the Candy Class! Make sure to check out my post about prefixes here and my post about vocabulary strategies here.
Jolene Mathew 🙂