Context clues
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Context Clues. How do we figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words? . Some questions will ask you what a word or phrase means. .

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Context Clues

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Context clues

Context Clues

How do we figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words?


Some questions will ask you what a word or phrase means

Some questions will ask you what a word or phrase means.

Jack was new in the neighborhood. One morning he decided to take a walk. During his stroll through the neighborhood, Jack passed an old, decaying house on Mill Road. The windows of the house were broken, the roof appeared to leak, and it seemed that no one lived there for many, many years. The wood was starting to rot. There was grass growing on the doorsteps of the house and out of the broken windows.

Read this sentence from the paragraph.

During his stroll through the neighborhood, Jack passed an old, decaying house on Mill Road.

When the author says the house is decaying, she means that it is

A. newly builtC. falling apart

B. very crowdedD. made of stone


Sound out the word

Sound out the word

  • Is it a word you already know?

  • Break it down into syllables. Do any parts sound familiar?


Use context clues

Use Context Clues

  • Sometimes the sentence the word is in, or nearby sentences will give you a clue.


Context clues defining clues

Context Clues: Defining Clues

  • Clues that tell you exactly what the word means

  • Example: John saw Mrs. Jones, the superintendent, who was in charge of all three of the town’s elementary schools.

  • A superintendent is someone who is in charge of schools.


Context clues contrast clues

Context Clues: Contrast Clues

  • Tell you what the word is not.

  • Look for words like unlike, but, however, although, instead)

  • Example: Unlike the idleMr. Adams, Ms. Smith was busy every day

  • Idle is the opposite of busy. It means not doing anything.


Context clues common sense clues

Context Clues: Common Sense Clues

  • Sometimes you have to look through the entire paragraph to find context clues.

  • The passage may give you examples of what the word is.

  • Use your common sense to put all of these clues together to figure out the meaning of the word.

  • Let’s look at the paragraph from earlier


Context clues

Jack was new in the neighborhood. One morning he decided to take a walk. During his stroll through the neighborhood, Jack passed an old, decaying house on Mill Road. The windows of the house were broken, the roof appeared to leak, and it seemed that no one lived there for many, many years. The wood was starting to rot. There was grass growing on the doorsteps of the house and out of the broken windows.

Read this sentence from the paragraph.

During his stroll through the neighborhood, Jack passed an old, decaying house on Mill Road.

When the author says the house is decaying, she means that it is

A. newly builtC. falling apart

B. very crowdedD. made of stone


Try each answer choice

Try Each Answer Choice

  • Try each answer choice in place of the unfamiliar word to see which one fits.

  • Think about what the author is trying to say.

    During his stroll through the neighborhood, Jack passed an old, decaying house on Mill Road.

    When the author says the house is decaying, she means that it is

    A. newly builtC. falling apart

    B. very crowdedD. made of stone

    • Jack passed an old, newly built house.

    • Jack passed an old, very crowded house.

    • Jack passed an old, falling apart house.

    • Jack passed an old, made of stone house.


Practice

Practice

1. Read this sentence from the article.

Jumping spiders are dissimilar from other spiders.

This sentence means that jumping spiders are

a. better than other spiders.

b. the same as other spiders.

c. strong than other spiders.

d. different from other spiders.

This question tests your understanding of the word dissimilar.

  • Sound out the word. [dis-sim’-uh-lar]

    • Do you recognize this word?

    • Have you heard it before?

  • Look at parts of the word. dis-similar

    • Do any of these word parts remind you of any words?

    • What does similar mean?

    • What does the prefix disdo to similar?

  • Use context clues

  • Try each answer choice.

    • Read each of the choices in place of dissimilar from other spiders in the sentence. Which answer fits best?


Practice1

Practice

Read this sentence from the article.

Instead, they use their silk as a safety line when they plunge to the ground while jumping.

When a spider plunges, it

a. jumps up.

b. falls swiftly.

c. eats other spiders.

d. sees a great distance.

This question asks you to figure out the meaning of the word plunge. To answer this type of question, you should focus on the surrounding sentences for context clues.

  • Use context clues

    • Based on these clues, what do you think plunge means?

  • Try each answer choice.

    • Read each of the choices in place of plunge to the ground while jumping in the sentence. Which answer fits best?


Practice2

Practice

Read these sentences from the article.

Because jumping spiders are hunters, their vision is extremely good. They have two large eyes on the front of the head and three smaller eyes on each side.

What does the word vision mean?

a. ability to see

b. ability to jump

c. ability to spin webs

d. ability to use silk as a safety line

  • Use context clues

    • Based on these clues, what do you think vision means?

  • Try each answer choice.

    • Read each of the choices in place of vision in the sentence. Which answer fits best?


Context clues

WorksheetWhat is the meaning of the crazy, make-believe word that is bolded in each sentence? - Circle the correct answer choice, and underline the context clues that helped you choose that answer. - Complete the challenge on the back.


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