To begin, the students and I discussed ways to figure out unknown words in text. We came up with the following: use the pictures, what we already know, and other words in the text. I recorded these ideas on our anchor chart.
Then, I read aloud the book The Knight Who Was Afraid of the Dark. This book is full of wonderful, descriptive words for students to infer with. It is also very funny, which the kids really enjoy.
As we read, we identified unknown words in the text and added these to our anchor chart. We inferred the meaning of these words and identified what clues we used to infer. The students correctly inferred the meanings of most of the words.
The graphic organizer can be found at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Inferring-Meaning-of-New-Words. Here is a look at one student's work after the first day:
For independent practice, students read the short story "Just a Girl." (found at www.infohio.org) This story describes how a young girl in Yemen proves to her father that she deserves to attend school. Students completed the graphic organizer to infer the meaning of unknown words independently with this story.