How to teach homophones – 5 easy tips for the classroom

Widen your student's vocabulary with learning about homophones with these 5 easy tips.

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Table of Contents

What is a Homophone?

Homophones are tricky words that sound the same but have completely different meanings and sometimes spelt differently as well.  The word “homophone” comes from the Greek words “homo” meaning same and “phone” meaning sound.

  • Examples of homophones can look like “pair” and “pear” (two of something or a piece of fruit). 

Children have to learn a set of homophones under the national curriculum. Which are traditionally distributed for children to learn in spelling lists for homework.  

Teaching homophones can help widen student’s vocabulary by learning the meaning of new words and also provides an opportunity to practise and improve spelling.

The Homophone List

Set each of your students a list of homophones to learn that corresponds to their academic level of learning. In class ask your students to bring out their lists and explain that they are going to write sentences that use both members of the homophone’s pairs in the same sentence.  

Homophone Quizzes

Get your class to test their homophone comprehensions by finding online quizzes, this will expand their knowledge further along with light, fun competition in class through active learning.  

BONUS: Giving your students a list of sites with these activities will give them resources they can use in their free time to do further homophone study. 

Homophone Relay Race

homophones

Get your class active with this energetic homophone game.

Divide your class into two groups, one person from each group races to the front of the board. To read a sentence which uses one of a pair of homophones. The first student to correctly identify and write down the correct homophone on the board scores a point for their team.  

The first team to reach 15 points WINS! 

Homophone Alphabet

Using the worksheet provided explain to your students that they need to write as many homophone pairs they can think of for each letter.

You can also get your students to work in pairs or groups and see if any group can make a complete set of 26 homophone pairs.  

Picture the Difference

Simply link the different homophones to a key picture to help your class remember the difference.  This is like a word association game for example: 

  • A bear eating a pear  
  • A pair of chairs 

Children can distinguish the words and their meaning based on how the word is spelt differently and the context it is in.  

Homophones can be a fun and engaging topic for your class as long as you take your time. Talk about the unique word pairs in English, together as a class to make sure everyone understands. Try and reinforce the topic by doing one homophone activity each day or spend a few days on a homophone unit. 

With some experience, exposure and entertainment, homophones will be fun for your class rather than fearful! 

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