Context Clues and Its Impact to Students' Learning

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Learning how to guess words you don't know is an important skill. Nobody wants to look every word up in a dictionary! If you learn how to guess the unfamiliar words in sentences, then you won't have to read with your dictionary open all the time!

1. Examples
2. Synonyms and definitions
3. Antonyms and contrast
4. Experience or sense of the sentence


The snake slithered through the grass. He was hunting.
You must discover what slithered means by using logic. Here are your choices, and the analysis A) stopped moving  
INCORRECT: the sentence above says THROUGH the grass. 'Through' means there is some movement. B) slept in the grass 
INCORRECT: the sentence above says he is hunting. Snakes don't sleep when they hunt. C) ate something 
INCORRECT: the sentence above says he is hunting. Snakes don't eat when they are hunting. They eat AFTER they hunt. D) moved or traveled  
CORRECT ANSWER: the sentence above says THROUGH the grass. 'Through' means that there is movement.

Some students are able to sound out words although they do not know what the words mean. In the real sense, this is not reading. What the students do is nothing but word calling. When one reads, there must be comprehension; otherwise, no reading takes place.

Comprehension takes place when there is communication between the author and the reader. In plain language, it is understanding of what the author has written.

Noting Details
Noting details is a factual type of reading comprehension in which the reader is directly concerned with remembering items within the passage.

Practice in Noting Details

1Today I visited the zoo in my front yard. 2Many people pass by this zoo without ever seeing it, because you have to get down on your knees. 3I looked under the bush by my front door and saw an ant marching along carrying something white. 4The ant passed a flower, and I looked on the leaf of the flower and saw a caterpillar having lunch. 5The caterpillar was so fuzzy it reminded me of a bear. 6Now I'm going to go over to the bush by the fence to see the main event. 7The best zoo attractions are always over there.

1. What was the first thing seen at the zoo?
a. Lady bugc. Bear
b. Antd. Alligator

2. Where was the caterpillar found?
a. the dirtc. a flower leaf
b. the grassd. the backyard

3. The caterpillar '...was so fuzzy it reminded my of...' a. a squirrelc. a cat
b. a beard. a caterpillar

4. The best attractions are found...
a. in the dirtc. by the door
b. with the antsd. at the bush by the fence

5. What was the ant carrying?
a. Cornc. Something white
b. A flower petald. Dirt

READ each sentence and select the letter of the correct answer. 1. The tiger's roar could be heard in villages far away.
a. Food a tiger eats c. Tiger’s dream
b. tiger’s ear d. A sound a tiger makes

2. The thought of eating a rat is abhorrent to most people. a. Fun, livelyb. horrible, repugnant 
c. delicious, tastyd. sweet, sugary

3. My absent-minded teacher loses his keys, his book and his chalk almost every day! What does it mean to be absent-minded?

a. be hateful c. be intelligent 
b. not pay attentiond. not like someone

4. You can trust the salesmen at that store because they always conduct business in an aboveboard manner. What does aboveboard probably mean? a. honestly, openly c. sneaky, dishonest 
b. horrible, repugnant d. strange, unusual 

5. Petra has so many friends because she is a gregarious person. What does gregarious probably mean?  a. introverted, self-containedc. shy, quiet 
b. friendly, outgoingd. rude, hostile

6. The...
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