Looking for Context Clues?
Context Clues What Are They?Context clues are bits of information from the text that, when combined with prior knowledge, allow you to decide the meaning of unknown words in the story or article you are reading.As a reader you must act similar to a detective and put together clues from sentences surrounding an unknown word in order to make an intelligent guess as to what the definition of a word is.
Context Clues How Do They Help You Read New Words?Textbook writers and authors include words or phrases to help their readers understand the meaning of a new or difficult word.These words or phrases are built into the sentences around the new or difficult word. By becoming more aware of the words around a difficult word, readers can make logical guesses about the meanings of many words.
Types of Context CluesAuthors use many different types of context clues when writing texts. Three of these types are:
Direct definition context cluesSynonym context cluesAntonym context clues
Direct definition context clues are words that say, Stop - dont touch that dictionary. The definition of the word you dont know is right here in the text!"
There are many theories, or ideas, about what made the Ice Ages happen. In this sentence the word ideas tells us that theories are different thoughts people have about something.After a time, glaciers, or slowly moving rivers of ice, formed over many parts of the Earth. In this sentence the words slowly moving rivers of ice tell us what glaciers are.
Synonym context clues are words around a difficult word that mean the same or nearly the same as the word.
After seeing the picture of the starving children, we felt compassion or pity for their suffering. In this sentence the word pity tells us that compassion means to have understanding for.Mary admonished her students and they knew they were in hot water for their actions. In this sentence the words in hot water tell us that admonished means cautioned or scolded.
Antonym context clues are words around a difficult word that mean the opposite or nearly the opposite as the word.
Joe was reluctant to take the job of captain of the team. He was afraid that the time it would take would hurt his grades. On the other hand, Billy was eager for the chance to be the team captain.In this sentence the words on the other hand and eager tell us that Billy feels the opposite of Joe, therefore, reluctant means uncertain or cautious.
Now it is your turn to be a detective and follow the clues!
Use what you have learned about context clues to complete the activity on the next 8 slides.
Context Clues Practice ActivityYour friend Maria has moved to a new country and is learning a new language. Read what she wrote in her diary and see if you can figure out the meaning to the underlined words.
Dear Diary,I overslept this morning and I missed the metro. So my host family had to take me to school in the LaSalle. We stopped at Mickey Ds and they bought me take away. I had to eat very quickly, and I barely came to school. I almost missed the opening bell. When I got to school, I realized I had forgotten my planner, a calendar in which we write all our assignments and homework. Unfortunately, it was show your work day, and the director chose our class to inspect. I thought I was a post toastee, and was certain that I would lose my classmates points.
Context Clues Practice Activity Someone from the first row shuttled their planner covertly across the classroom to me. They wanted me to flim-flam the director, by passing someone elses planner off as my own, so we wouldnt receive demerits.The director was only a few seats away, and rapidly approaching, so I had to think chop-chop wiki-wiki what to do? I remember what they taught me about character at my old school, and being caught as a liar at my new school would be terrible; I we would be thought of badly. I put the planner away and told the director that I was new to the school and had forgotten my planner.
Context Clues Practice Activity The Director handed me my planner and said not to worry about it, my host babushka found it on the backseat of the Lasalle.My babushka is my host Dads Mom. I guess honesty is the best policy.Well, I better go to bed soon. I dont want to wake up late again and miss my metro!
DirectionsIts time for some detective work. Take each word from Marias diary that is written in her new language and use the context clues in the text to figure them out!
What could the word metro mean?The sentences tell me that she missed the metro and her host family had to take her to school. It must be a bus or train. What do you think it is?
What could the word LaSalle mean?The sentence tells me that Maria was taken to school in the familys LaSalle. What do you think it is?The most logical guess would be a type of transportation.
May the force be with you..What could the phrase take-away mean?The sentences tell me that she had to eat very quickly. I am guessing she had to eat while they were driving to school. What do you think it means?The most logical guess would be food to go.
What could the phrase barely came mean?The sentence tells me that she almost missed the opening bell. What do you think it means?The most logical guess would be she just arrived at school as the bell was ringing.
Youre doing terrifickeep going!
What could the word planner mean?The sentence tells me it is a calendar they write all of their assignments and homework in? What do you think it is?The most logical guess would be an Agenda.
What could the phrase flim-flam mean?The sentences tell me that Maria was going to pass someone elses planner off as her own. What do you think this expression means?The most logical guess would be that it means to trick someone into believing something that is untrue.
What could the phrase chop-chop wiki-wiki mean?The sentences tell me that the director was rapidly approaching, so it must mean to hurry up. What do you think it means?
And, lastly a babushka, is a grandmother.
You did it!You have successfully completed a study on context clues!Go out into the world and see what you can do with your new knowledge of how to decode words!