Context Clues Vocabulary Strategy

Finally, students need to develop the strategy of using context clues.  Often times, books will provide deeper clues to words that may be less than familiar within the text.  Students must be taught to find these clues in their specific book.  Context provides the following types of information: synonyms, what a word is not like, something about location or setting, something about what the word is used for, what kind of thing or action it is, how something is done, or a general topic or related ideas to the word (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2006).

Strategy Steps

  1. Select a passage and make one copy of it visible to the class.  (This can be done with an interactive white-board, a transparency, or even PowerPoint.)  Omit a contextually explained word.
  2. Direct students to:
  1. Discuss--discussion is critical.
  2. Reveal the author's word choice.
  3. Discuss further the types of information provided by context clues.

(Blachowicz & Fisher, 2006, p.32)

After students have discussed the information that context clues may provide, create a wall chart with the different categories of information.  As students complete their own reading, they can post examples of different types of context clues in action.

  1. Synonyms- Culture provides perceptions or world views.
  1. What a word is or is not like- Although culture is learned, it is not taught like geography in school.
  1. Something about location or settings- Many cultural traditions are learned at home.
  2. Something about what a word is used for- Culture represents a set of beliefs and values held by a group of people. 
  3. What kind of thing or action it is- Cultural norms define roles and make people’s behavior predictable within a group of people.
  4. How something is done- The immigrants began to acculturate when they began to adapt to the communities values and traditions.
  5. A general topic or ideas related to the words- Culture involves values, traditions, beliefs, language, and food.

    (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2006, p.29)


Implementation Guide

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