Using context clues to help determine the meaning of words

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  • Slide 1
  • Using context clues to help determine the meaning of words
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  • What is a Context Clue? Context clues are bits of information from the text that, when combined with prior knowledge, allow you to make an intelligent guess about the meaning of unknown words
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  • Example Here's an example: Sue's boss was a callous man. He did not react to her tears and apologies. From the context you know that a callous man does not react to tears and apologies. Callous means hard-hearted or "insensitive to emotion."
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  • Your turn When Harry's boss went on a maternity leave, Harry became the interim department head. He handled employee payroll for the three months she was away. What do you think interim means? What clues helped you to guess at the meaning?
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  • Types of Context Clues 1) DEFINITION: The meaning of the unfamiliar word is stated in the sentence. A person who is afraid of crowds has agoraphobia. 2) EXAMPLE: The unfamiliar word is explained through examples. He was zealous. Once, he sat on the courthouse steps for a week to get the city to change a law. 3) RESTATEMENT: The unfamiliar word is shown to be similar to a familiar word. She was adroit at her job in that she could finish it in half the time of her coworkers. 4) CONTRAST: The unfamiliar word is shown to be different, or the opposite, from a familiar word. Some liked his laconic speeches. Then again, others preferred longer and more detailed orations. 5) CAUSE & EFFECT: The unfamiliar words meaning can be inferred from cause-and- effect relationships in the text. He had a proclivity for getting into trouble, resulting in frequent detentions.
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  • SCUBA WORD MEANINGS S Sound it out. Say the word out loud to yourself a couple of times. Does it make sense in the sentence? C Check the Clues in the sentence and paragraph and think about what word would fit best in place of the unknown word. U Use the texts main idea and the pictures to make a good guess for the words meaning. B Break the word into parts that you recognize, and/or think of similar words that you know. A Ask for help from a peer or adult, or use the glossary or dictionary.
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  • Practice: Using Context Clues with Lord of the Flies Task: Complete the worksheet provided for each chapter of the novel. For each chapter: a) Determine the meaning of the word provided b) Record one sentence that contains an unfamiliar word and try to determine its meaning