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ESL Family Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

In this lesson, ELL's will learn about vocabulary that is used to describe members of their families. First, they will listen to a text that exposes them to this vocabulary. Next, they will engage in a game where they will listen for vocabulary words and discuss them with peers. Lastly, they will create a family tree of their own.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify family members using appropriate vocabulary
  • Describe their families using appropriate vocabulary
  • Create a family tree using appropriate vocabulary


45 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4.a

Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.5.c

Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at school that are colorful).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.6

Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.


  • Mother
  • Father
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Twin
  • Grandmother
  • Grandfather
  • Cousin
  • Stepfather
  • Stepmother
  • Stepsister
  • Stepbrother
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Niece
  • Nephew


  • Read aloud text about families
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Lesson Instructions

Read Aloud

  • Gather the children close to you for a read aloud. Explain to them that today they are going to learn about families. While families come in all different sizes, there are words that we use to describe the people in our family.
  • While the students are listening, tell them that it is their job to listen for words that describe people in a family.
  • Here are a few suggestions for the read aloud:
    • Families, Families, Families by Suzanne Lang
    • All Families are Special by Norma Lang
    • Me and My Family Tree by Joan Sweeney
  • As your reading the book, pause to jot down vocabulary words that come up in the story on the board or chart paper. If there are leftover words from the vocabulary list, add them at the end.
  • Point to each word and say it aloud.
  • Ask students to repeat the word.
  • Add an illustration next to each word to help students remember its meaning.

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