Illuminated Letters Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students how books were made before the printing press, focusing on illuminating letters, with this lesson plan. Students will read an informational text, review content with a game, then create their own illuminated text.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the types of illuminated letters
  • explain the reasons for illuminated texts
  • create an illuminated text


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.


  • Copies of the lesson Illuminated Letters: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Stapler
  • Prepared factual statements about the types of illuminated letters for game

Key Vocabulary

  • Ornamented letter
  • Historiated letter
  • Inhabited letter

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Prepare for the lesson application activity by asking students to write a short autobiography, adding details such as their favorite food, activities, etc. Consider using a title such as 'My Life as a Fifth Grade Student'.
  • Set texts aside for later.

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