Ch 3: Word Choice & Meaning: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4

About This Chapter

Find lessons for 11th and 12th grade English based on the Common Core Reading Literature standard for word choice and meaning (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4).

Standard: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

About This Chapter

Students who have mastered this standard will be able to read and analyze text that is complex in meaning, structure, and word choice.

Lessons in this standard cover concepts such as:

  • Using context clues to determine the meaning of a word
  • Grasping connotative vs. denotative meanings
  • Distinguishing between figurative and literal meanings
  • Understanding tone and mood

Students demonstrate mastery of these concepts by identifying clues that are helpful in determining the meanings of words within a text. Content mastery is also evident when students incorporate literal (as well as figurative) language in their own writing.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Here are some tips for how to use these lessons to support instruction in the CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 standard:

Using Context to Determine Meaning

Watch lessons on using context to determine the meaning of words. Follow the video with a fill-in-the-blank activity that, based on provided clues, students must fill in the words. When students have finished, go over the activity as a group, compare the words students chose, and discuss how much word choice affects the meaning of the text.

Connotation and Denotation

Complete a lesson on connotative and denotative definitions. Provide a few words that have rich connotations (for example: love, safety, fear), then have students brainstorm and list words that they associate with the terms. Next, look the words up in the dictionary for their denotative definitions. (Write the ideas on large paper that you can save and use for another lesson).

Mood and Tone

Using the terms and the connotative definitions brainstormed in the previous activity, discuss how words can affect mood and tone. Ask students how the words they came up with make them feel. Next, have students write a paragraph that incorporates one of the discussed terms, making sure they use the term to develop mood in the piece.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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