Objective: Learn to identify context clues and use them to determine word meaning
Worksheet on following page
Time needed: 30-45 minutes
1. Ask if any students know the meanings of the words "gaunt," "aloof," "forlorn," and "commercial vehicle." Likely, none will. Tell them that you are going to reveal a powerful detective technique that will sometimes allow them to figure out what these words mean, as well as others, without ever looking at a dictionary.
2. Give out the worksheet. Review the definition of context clues.
3. Explain that there are different types of context clues. Explain that students can use this tool in all of their reading. Explain that when the context-clue approach doesn't work, students should either keep reading or look up the word in the dictionary. Work through examples with the class. Have students underline the part of the sentence that gives a clue, and then write out a definition.
4. Students can practice with examples 1-4 on the worksheet, or you can skip to step 5.
5. Now apply these context-clue skills to the Word Up songs. Note that the most common type of context clue used in the songs is the synonym type. Play the first Word Up unit song. Ask students to underline context clues and determine the word's definition. Then you will reveal if they were correct, and reinforce definitions with vocabulary instruction strategies.
The attached handout was adapted from Joffe, Irwin L. Opportunity for Successful Reading, 8th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth, 1997.