Context Clues as a Reading Strategy

Context Clues as a Reading Strategy

Author: Rebecca Oberg

To understand and be able to apply:

-The definition of context clues
-How to use context clues to discover the meaning of unknown words while reading
-Five types of context clues
-Examples of context clues

This learning packet offers informative slide shows, engaging audiovisual clips, and helpful text to introduce students to context clues. For struggling readers and non-native English speakers in particular, context clues offer a lifeline for students trying to comprehend reading passages, whether on a test, in class, or at home.

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What are Context Clues?

Sometimes you won't understand every word in a reading passage. One thing you can do to figure out new words is to use CONTEXT CLUES.

The CONTEXT is the words, sentences, and ideas that come before and after a word or phrase.

When you read a passage, circle any new words that you don't understand. Then, look in the context to find clues--words or phrases that hint at what the new word means.

Remember, you don't have to understand every word in a reading! Circle only the new words that are key to understanding the passage.

Source: Rebecca Oberg, McDougal Littell Reading Toolkit

Context Clues 101

This slide show offers definitions as well as helpful examples and an activity for understanding context clues.

Source: See slide show presentation for source, modified by Rebecca Oberg

Context Clues: The Musical

This song offers quick and memorable information about context clues, using specific words as examples.

Using Context Clues

There are five easy steps to becoming an expert at using context clues:

1. Circle the word or phrase you don't understand

2. Underline key phrases and ideas in the sentence. Look for words that give synonyms, antonyms, examples, etc.

3. Give the main idea of the paragraph the new word is in.

4. Say the sentence in your own words.

5. Guess at what the new word means. Use what you underlined to prove your guess is right.

Source: Rebecca Oberg, McDougal Littell Reading Toolkit

Five Types of Context Clues: Looking for More Specific Info on Different Kinds of Context Clues?

This informative slide show gives definitions and examples of five common types of context clues: synonyms, antonyms, definitions, descriptions, and examples.

Source: Rebecca Oberg, McDougal Littell Reading Toolkit