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Lesson Plan

Viewing Vocabulary: Building Word Knowledge Through Informational Websites

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

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Hallie Kay Yopp

Fullerton, California

Ruth Helen Yopp

Fullerton, California


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students identify 10 important words in an online article about biodiversity and record their selections on sticky notes. Students then build a graph of word selections, discuss the reasons for their selections, and write a sentence summarizing the article. Several words are then selected for closer study. Students are given prompt cards that ask them to interact with those words in various ways. Finally, students read related articles and identify how target words are used in those texts. This strategy is called Ten Important Words Plus, and it facilitates vocabulary development and comprehension.

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Find the Word!: Have your students use this helpful handout to investigate words at different websites and record sentences that contain that word.

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Yopp, R.H., & Yopp, H.K. (2007). Ten Important Words Plus: A strategy for building word knowledge. The Reading Teacher, 61(2), 157160.

  • Word knowledge is highly related to comprehension and should receive focused attention across the curriculum.

  • Wide reading, explicit instruction of words and word-learning strategies, and the establishment of an environment that promotes word consciousness are key ways to enhance students' vocabulary.

  • The strategy Ten Important Words Plus, based on principles of effective vocabulary instruction, can be used with any type of text and with readers of nearly any grade. The strategy consists of the following steps:

    1. Distribute a text and 10 sticky notes to each student.
    2. Introduce the text. Ask students to read it and, while reading, to identify and record on the sticky notes 10 words in the text that they consider key to the content.
    3. Have students construct a class bar graph with their sticky notes. As identical words are contributed, vertical columns are constructed. Each different word begins a new column.
    4. Engage students in a discussion of the graph.
    5. Have students each write a single-sentence summary of the content. Ask students to share their sentences with one another.
    6. Distribute prompt cards that have students engage in further exploration of the words, such as identifying synonyms, noting contexts in which the words may be found, telling other forms of the word, or acting out the word

Listen to a podcast that describes this strategy.


Yopp, R.H., & Yopp, H.K. (2000). Sharing informational text with young children. The Reading Teacher, 53(5), 410-423.

  • Students must be given opportunities to interact with informational text.

  • One of the distinguishing features of informational text is the use of specialized vocabulary, which can be a source of difficulty for readers.

  • Informational texts include content area textbooks, trade books, magazines and newspapers, and multimedia materials. All should be shared with students.


Yopp, H.K., & Yopp, R.H. (2006). Literature-based reading activities, 4th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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