We have been working hard on context clues in the classroom. Students are doing a great job of using clues and inferences to understand the meaning of an unknown word. We have completed a variety of activities and lessons to reinforce this important skill.
At the beginning of the week, we reviewed context clues by making an interactive “foldable” that students were able to use as a guide throughout the week. This foldable encouraged students to go beyond simply using clues around the word to find the definition of an unfamiliar word. We worked on identifying ways in which we could figure out what a word means using different skills such as synonyms and antonyms, cause and effect, and reading words in a list. Students were then given dozens of examples of unfamiliar words in sentences and were asked to sort them into different groups depending on how they discovered the meaning of the word. This part of our lesson was rather rigorous and effective. The students had fun challenging themselves!
Toward the end of the week, after much more practice with context clues, students worked with a partner to show what they’d learned. The pairs began by reading a nonfiction articles about skunks (gross!). Throughout the article, unfamiliar words were underlined. While reading, students discussed the meaning of these unknown words with their partners using their knowledge of context clues and recorded their own definition of the word in a chart. After reading, they used a dictionary to find the real definitions of the words and confirm or reject their own definitions.
I was amazed at how many students were able to use context clues to find the meaning of a college-level vocabulary word. Many of their definitions closely matched the definitions in the dictionary. Talk about some reading geniuses! I am proud!