Homophones, or homonyms, are words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have different meanings. For example, “toad” and “towed” are homophones. When it comes to student writing, they need to be able to distinguish the difference in meaning and choose the correct spelling of the word. If they don’t, their writing won’t make sense!
(K12reader also offers free, printable homophone worksheets)
No worries, though. Most students think learning about and identifying homophones is fun. For teachers, the good news is it’s easy to incorporate engaging and interesting activities into a homophone lesson plan.
Before getting started, however, here is a useful list of several homophones you can use to increase student vocabulary and spelling skills.
Meet/meat Ad/add Eight/ate Blew/blue Toad/towed
Wait/weight Be/bee By/buy/bye Hour/our Know
There/their/they’re To/too/two Your/you’re Rose/rows
Here/hear One/won Bale/bail Board/bored Byte/bite
Bread/bred Break/brake Seller/cellar Censor/sensor
Chilly/chile Crews/cruise Days/daze Dear/deer Die/dye
Eye/I Find/fined Gate/gait Hay/hey Him/hym Hole/whole
Lie/lye Made/maid Male/mail Passed/past Piece/peace Peer/pier
Pray/prey Read/reed See/sea Sun/son Would/wood
Incorporating homophones into spelling and reading lesson plans.
Teachable moments appear all throughout the day, sometimes when you least expect it. Teaching homophones can easily become a part of a spelling and reading lesson. Here are a few suggestions:
Have students keep an ongoing list of homophones. When reviewing spelling words, if a particular word has a homophone, tell your student about it and asked them to add it to their homophone list.
Use pairs of homophones in a sentence. For example, “The maid made up the bed.” “Jennifer ate eight slices of pizza!”
Point out a pair of homophones, such as sun/son, and ask identifying questions such as “Which one is a big yellow ball in the sky?”
Incorporating a few mini lessons on homophones into your regular spelling or reading lesson makes the session more memorable, plus they’ll learn new homophones.
Student activities for teaching homophones
Homophone Concentration Game. This game is a take on the popular Concentration television show.
Access to computer clip art
To start, choose about 10 homophones pairs. For example, one and won. Using computer clipart find pictures that represent each word in the homophone pair. You’ll use these pictures to make the concentration cards.
The easiest way to make the cards is to first create a 10 x 4 table in Microsoft word. Inside each square of the table, cut and paste the pictures you located in clipart. Then laminate the table and cut out each picture to make individual cards.
You’ll need to repeat this process for however many groups of students you have playing the game.
Place the cards face down on the table. Students take turns turning over two cards at a time with the goal of finding a homophone pair. They’ll have to remember the location of each card as they try to pick out a pair of homophones. Once they’ve identified a pair, they keep the two cards. The student with the most pairs is the winner.
Homophone Class Book. After reviewing and generating homophone pairs, students work with a partner to illustrate pages of a homophone class book. Each student will have a pair of homophones. On one page they use the word incorrectly in a sentence and then draw a humorous illustration to go along with the sentence. For example, “Come see my rows garden.” The students could draw a picture of an outside area with rows of chairs amidst trees, flowers, and shrubbery. On a second page the student will use the word correctly with a corresponding picture.
Adding pictures not only reinforces the meaning of homophones, it makes it much more enjoyable as well. Try these activities with your students. When it comes to correctly identifying homophones, you’ll class will have it maid…err…made!