Close Reading Skills Meaning and Context Questions
Lesson Focus: To be able to work out the meaning of words by looking at the words around them.
Context Questions: What is context? The dictionary definition of context is: • Context is the surroundings, circumstances, environment, background, or settings which determine, specify, or clarify the meaning of an event. In an exam situation, this means that you must look to the surrounding words to help you find the meaning of a particular word.
Examples of context Look at the pictures on the next couple of slides. What contexts are these pictures set in? How do we know this?
The Meaning of Words In the Close Reading exam you will be asked about the meaning of words and the meaning of ideas. It is important to remember that all words exist in a context and their meaning will come from that same context For example: The word link • 1. one of the rings or separate pieces of which a chain is composed. • 2.anything serving to connect one part or thing with another; a bond or tie: The locket was a link with the past. • 3.a unit in a communications system, as a radio relay station or a television booster station. • 4.any of a series of sausages in a chain. • 5.a cuff link. • 6. a ring, loop, or the like: a link of hair. • 7.Computers. an object, as text or graphics, linked through hypertext to a document, another object, etc. What are the varying meanings/contexts for the word show?
The exam question... The exam question will usually ask you to a) give the meaning of the word and then b) show how the context helped you arrive at the meaning. Let’s look at a couple of examples...
Examples Example 1 “Most of the stuff earmarked for Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the New Mexico desert is plutonium-contaminated detritus which emits relatively low quantities of radio activity – gloves, bits of drill, flasks, valves, rags, test-tubes, pipes, sludge, shoes, lab coats, and so on.”
Examples The question for example 1 Show how the first sentence provides a context which enables you to understand the meaning of the word “detritus”. Three techniques are used and could be identified in order to work out the meaning.
Examples Answer to Example 1 • The contaminated should help you to understand that detritus is pollution or industrial waste. • The use of the list gives you examples of detritus • The dash before the list suggests that the list will explain what detritus is.
Examples Example 2 “If you read a wonderful new book by sociologist Frank Furedi – Paranoid Parenting – you will see the story of a teacher who quit the profession after a school trip was cancelled. Some parents were worried the trip would involve their children in a 45-minute journey in a private car. Would the cars be road-worthy? Were the drivers experienced? Were these no-smoking cars?”
Examples The question How does the story told in the first paragraph help you to understand the meaning of the word “paranoid”?
Examples The answer: Paranoid means fear or suspicion The parents questions make clear their worries about the cars and how reliable/road-worthy they are. The parents “fears” are over-exaggerated
Group Task: Words in Context Each pair or three will work together to find the meaning of 2 words. You will receive two paragraphs of an article in the X factor which you will need to read before noting down: • The meaning the words • How the context of the article extracts helped you come to this decision. YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES TO READ AND RESPOND!!
Individual Task Work through the examples on the sheet provided. This is independent work and should be completed at home for next Wednesday 10th Nov.