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Context Clues: Reading for Understanding


Context Clues: Reading for Understanding

Logo for Context Clues: Reading for Understanding
This is a lesson to be used as a student-directed practice on context clues.  The websites and are used, and have free excess for everyone. The lesson is targeted for students with a 4th through 5th grade reading level. The lesson focuses on inferential context clues.
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Material Type: Assignment
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: January 28, 2012
Date Modified in MERLOT: July 07, 2016
Keywords: inferential context clues, unfamiliar words


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
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  • User review 4 average rating
  • User Rating: 4 user rating
  • Discussion (2 Comments)
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Primary Audience: Grade School, Middle School
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements: Adobe Reader, Java

Language: English
Cost Involved: no
Source Code Available: unsure
Accessibility Information Available: yes
Creative Commons: unsure


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Discussion for Context Clues: Reading for Understanding

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Avatar for Lonna Hill
4 years ago

Lonna Hill (Teacher (K-12))

This is a great activity that allows students to practice a necessary reading skill. Taking the time to first use context clues and then looking the words up in the dictionary can give students the confidence that they really can be successful using context clues to decode meaning in text. This confidence is important for when they are later reading on their own. It is also an activity easy for teachers to use no matter the content. If the teacher is picking the sentences and words, it can easily fit into any unit and with any reading material. The flexibility of this activity is definitely a strength. I also like how the lesson gives a resource for teachers to go to if they choose to use pre-selected sentences that fit specifically for this activity. Scaffolding during class is needed. The teacher would need to do a number of examples with students before having them try it on their own.

Technical Remarks:

I like how an online and free resource is available for teachers who would like to use pre-selected sentences that fit will with this activity. Kids are able to use an online dictionary. Using computers will give students a little extra motivation and teaches them multiples ways they can find definitions for words.

Time spent reviewing site: 20 minutes

Avatar for Liz Klein
5 years ago

Liz Klein (Teacher (K-12))

From a technological teaching perspective, students are using websites to look up unfamiliar words to understand meaning of text. I think by providing students with websites, instead of paper text increases a students’ motivation to learn. Being a 21st century learner, it is also important to teach students skills that they will use in the real world. Providing students with these online resources can really benefit students.

From a pedagogical and content teacing perspective, there are clearly stated objectives and goals. This lesson also does a great job of connecting to a students’ real life to provide more meaning and motivation for learning. I like how students are given the choice of the text they want to interpret. It gives students the freedom they need when learning and makes them feel more of a want to complete the lesson. By giving students the choice of websites allows more avenues for learning to occur by allowing different types of learners to be successful.

Technical Remarks:

I feel like I would provide more scaffolding throughout the lesson. I think students need to have this process modeled first and there needs to be some support for students who cannot figure out the meaning of the words from the websites. Also, maybe having some peer collaboration towards the end of the lesson could be effective for students. Maybe students could discuss their meaning of the text with their peers to see if they agree with each others’ responses. This might provide for a higher level thinking activity. To add more technology, maybe you could create a Wiki page to have students share their interpretations of their text on so that they could see all their classmates responses. Additionally, that would make it really easy for teachers to assess their students’ understanding of reading for meaning.

Time spent reviewing site: 20mins