Lesson Plan: Connotation – Critical Reading

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Understand the Implications

Our language is rich with nuance. It’s part of what makes English so challenging—and rewarding. But you can help your students unearth these subtle differences by teaching them about the concept of connotation. And we’ve made a free lesson plan to help you do just that! You can find it here.

About the Lesson Plan

The objective of this lesson plan is to help students identify and examine the concept of connotation. The first way they’ll do this is by categorizing words as positive, negative or neutral. Then, they’ll rank synonyms in order of semantics from weakest to strongest. Finally, they will analyze a text for connotative words and phrases in order to create a reading presentation. As with all of our plans, this lesson adheres to relevant standards in ELA.

Have student pairs start by reviewing the Categorize the Connotation worksheet that’s provided. Here, they will either be introduced to or have their memory refreshed on connotation and semantic gradients. Once they’ve finished the worksheet, reconvene and display the provided Read Ahead AI presentation. Students will then work in pairs to read the selection and identify the connotations, strong or weak, of the emphasis words picked out by the Smart Skimmer. To finish, have students present their choices and describe their rationale.

The lesson was designed with 6th – 10th graders in mind. It is adaptable to fit into 50-minute class periods, a longer class block (if available), or divided into at-home and in-class work. Students can keep track of time spent reading in this lesson plan in their reading log.

How to Use

Both you and your students should be familiar with creating a Read Ahead AI presentation. Students should also know how to apply and modify the Smart Skimmer’s word choices and export a wordlist in Read Ahead AI. You can either use the provided selection, choose another from our free library, or create your own in Read Ahead AI and share it with your students.

Download the Read Ahead AI Lesson Plan and let us know how you’re using Read Ahead AI to boost student literacy!

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