Word Stress Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What is word stress and why is it important in language? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to explain critical facts about word stress. An activity gives students a chance to show what they've learned.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'word stress'
  • list and explain the rules for determining word stress


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.


  • Paper copies of the text lesson Word Stress: Definition & Examples
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Assorted photocopies of the lyrics from popular songs
  • Colored pencils


  • Begin by asking each student to compose a simple sentence on their own papers.
  • Have the students take turns reading their sentences aloud to the class. Pause after each student presents, asking the rest of the class to name the word or words that were stressed.
    • Why do we emphasize certain words when speaking?
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson, with each student receiving one copy or pull up the video lesson for the class to watch together.
  • Instruct the class to read or watch the introduction and the 'Word Stress' and 'General Rules and English' sections of the lesson.
    • Thinking back on the words we stressed in our sentences, is it true that only one main syllable per word was stressed?
    • Why do you think vowels are stressed instead of consonants?
  • Tell the class to read or watch the 'Word Stress in English', '2-Syllable Words & Word Endings', 'Compound Words', and 'Lesson Summary' sections of the text lesson.
    • Why doesn't the English language use accent marks to indicate word stress?
    • Let's practice saying 'sofa,' 'joyous' and 'begin' aloud as a class. Did we follow the normal patterns of English as indicated in the text lesson?
    • Why is it important to pay attention to word endings for accurate word stress?
    • How should compound words be addressed in terms of word stress?
  • Review key points from the text lesson with the class before continuing.
  • Pass out the quiz worksheets, one copy per student.
  • Instruct the students to work independently to complete the worksheet.
  • When all students have finished the worksheet, review each question and answer with the class as students follow along, checking their responses.

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