Reading Lesson Plan: Become a Word Detective

Learning Objective:

  1. Learn reading skill of finding small words within a larger word.
  2. Practise reading skill of finding small words within a larger word.


  1. Poem with words that have ‘secret’,  ‘hidden’ smaller words within them.  Copy poem on overhead sheet.
  2. Overhead projector and marker in at least 2 colours.
  3. Pointer stick or metre stick for students to point out the smaller ‘secret‘ words they find ‘hiding‘ in the larger words.
  4. Shrink copy of poem so that 4 copies of the poem fit on one 8 1/2″ X 11″ sheet of paper.  Keep this Master Copy to use next year.  Make 6-7 copies for students.  Cut out copies of poems for each student.
  5. Students each have a Poem Book.
  6. Several light-coloured smelly markers (yellow, pink, orange, light blue, light green) for each student, to use in reviewing the  skill of finding smaller words.  If the marker is too dark, the word will be hard to read.
  7. White glue for the students to glue their poem in their Poem Book.
  8. Pencil and eraser, if they wish to make a numbered list of all their “secret” words.
  9. Additional worksheet, for now or review later, entitled “Word Detectives” .  Make 2 on each page.  Decorate with a picture of a spy with a big magnifying glass.  “Grade 1 Reading Skill:  Finding small words within larger words.  Name:_______________________  WORD DETECTIVES     There are some words hiding in this word. __________________   Here they are!  ________________    ________________   ________________    ________________”       Make the Master Sheet of the worksheet blank.  Make one copy of it.  Print the word on the line on the 2 parts.  Copy enough for the class.  Cut them in half.  Make another Master Sheet for Grade 2’s with a harder word.
  10. ***Some example words for worksheetsmathematics–math/the/mat/tics; geometry–geo/met/try; patterning–pat/tern; probability–rob/ability; sharpen–sharp/pen; thinking–think/think/thin/in/ink/king; butterfly–but/butter/fly; caterpillar–cat/pill/pillar; metamorphosis–met/am/or/is …(I find this really good to use with words from science, math,  and social studies.)


  1. Give students a copy of the poem.  Have them glue it in their Poem Book.  Keep Poem Books open to dry the glue.
  2. Turn on overhead.  Students can let their copy dry while they read from the overhead.  (They can read from their copy as long as they pay attention and keep up with the class.)
  3. Explain the reading skill they will be learning (finding smaller words inside larger words in order to be able to figure out what they say).  Tell them that they will be Word Detectives today, finding the secret words hidden in some larger words.
  4. Show them a larger word and ask them if they can see any smaller words within it.  Take answers and circle the smaller words on the overhead sheet, while students use the pointer or metre stick to point out the “secret” words they find.  Work through the poem, looking at any words that students cannot read.  Have them using their new reading skill to figure out the words.
  5. When all the words are known, read through the poem several times, until reading is fluent.
  6. Have students use the smelly markers to highlight the small words within the larger words.  If 2 small words are beside each other, such as in “to-get-her”, each word will be a different colour, “to” might be yellow, “get” might be orange, and “her” would be yellow again.  They can work on their own, or double-check the class overhead copy to make sure they have found all the words.
  7. Examples:  before–be, for, or.  (students choose the ones they want); letter–let; chair–air; start–art; think–in, ink; funny–fun; yellow–yell, low; party–part, art; around–round; flower–low; flow.
  8. Bonus:  you can have students compete to find the most secret words.  They will need to use a pencil to make a numbered list of the secret words that they find in a column beside their poem.  Example (using eg in #7 above):  1. be 2. for 3. or 4. let 5. air 6. art 7. in 8. ink 9. fun 10. yell 11. low 12. part  13. art 14. round 15. low 16. flow…Give students a sticker for their Poem Book page if they find more than 20 small words.  My class loved to collect stickers on the cover of their Poem Book.
  9. Show class the WORD DETECTIVE worksheet.  Explain how to fill it in.  Either hand out worksheet to do now, or put it in a learning centre to be done in free time.

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