What are Context Clues?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. By becoming more aware of the words around a difficult word, readers can make logical guesses about the meanings of many words.
1. Synonym/Definition Sometimes a synonym of the word is given and follows a comma, a dash, or words such as or, is called, that is, and in other words. Also, it might be right there separated by the word ANDExamples: Most castles had high walls and were surrounded by a water-filled ditch called a moat. She hated and detested spinach.
2. The OPPOSITE ClueSometimes the text will have the opposite of the word.Signal words: but, although, in contrast to/with, neither/nor, on the other hand, despite, however, nevertheless, unlessExamples: When Mike bought the motorcycle, he was ecstatic; his parents, however, were furious. The trees were visible through the rain, but the mountains were obscured. Ducks can be ferocious, despite their reputation as gentle creatures.
3. The EXAMPLE ClueHere no direct meaning of the word is given, but the meaning is evident in other words.Look for the following signal words:lists or chains, a series of commasSignal words: like, such as, also, for example, including, to illustrate, for instance, are examples ofThe professor was known for his many publications such as pamphlets and newspaper articles Government expenditures, like welfare payments and social security come from taxes. Characteristics such as eye and skin color are inherited from our parents.
4. The DEFINITION ClueSometimes the text tells you outright what the word means.Signal Words: means, refers toExamples: Inherit means to receive from your parents.Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of Earths near-surface.
5. The COMMA clueSometimes a comma will separate the word from its definition. The pesticide, known as DDT, was a harmful chemical that killed both insects and weeds. The Roman triumvirate, a governing body of three men, made decisions carefully.
6. The AKA ClueOften the word might be explained by other terms.
Signal Words: is/are called, also known as, otherwise known as, also called, more commonly known asExamples:An animal that hunts another for food is known as a predator. Lions are called predators because they hunt other animals for food. Streptococcus, more commonly known as strep throat, is a contagious infection.
7. The PUNCTUATION FLAG ClueSometimes you may see punctuation marks that signal the meaning of a word.Signals: parenthesis, hyphen, slashExamples: Tilling (turning over the soil) leaves it loose until the spring planting. Sally Ride used a shuttle a spaceship with wings to go into space. Many places experience blizzards/snowstorms during the winter.
The EXPERIENCE StrategySometimes you have words in your speaking vocabulary that you may never have seen in print.Ask yourself, Where have I heard that word? What was the situation?Example: Slaves were prohibited from learning to read and write. There are no clues. Where have you heard this word before? Thats right! Students are prohibited from chewing gum in school.
The READ MORE StrategySometimes reading ahead will give you more information about the word. Circle the word and continue reading.Example:The newspaper quoted the Governor as saying that employers should not indiscriminately fire employees. The termination of employees without rhyme or reason is a bad practice.
Context Clues PracticeDear Diary,
I overslept this morning. I had to eat my bowl of poof-poofs very quickly, and I almost missed the tramzam. When I got to school, I realized I had forgotten my zilping. Luckily, Ms. Jutzi is very zoosh, and told me I could bring it tomorrow.After school, some friends and I played plimming. Its a new game I am learning. We scored 7 points and they only scored 5 points, so we were the zoiters!Dad says that next weekend were going to the fladder. I cant wait! I love to swim and play in the sand. I hope I dont get a sunburn though.Well, I better go to bed soon. I dont want to wake up late again and miss my tramzam!
Your friend Ryan has moved to a new country and is learning a new language. Read what he wrote in his diary and see if you can figure out the meaning to the underlined words.
On Your Own ActivitiesQuia Context Clues Activityhttp://www.quia.com/pop/117579.htmlStudy zone lesson and activityhttp://www.studyzone.org/testprep/e4topic.cfm?TopicID=24TV 411 Activityhttp://www.tv411.org/lessons/cfm/reading.cfm?str=reading&num=7&act=1Word Clues Activityhttp://wps.ablongman.com/long_licklider_vocabulary_1/0,1682,11855-,00.html