Thanks to its partnership with publisher Eye on Education, EducationWorld is pleased to present this tip from Vocabulary at the Core: Teaching the Common Core Standards, by Amy Benjamin and John T. Crow. Because vocabulary is at the core of all learning and communicating, and because the Common Core State Standards emphasize word study in English class and across the curriculum, this sample lesson includes a chart that can be used to teach students how to use context to understand an unknown word.
Context—information that exists outside the word—is a major source to tap when analyzing new words. Quite often, students need some guidance and assistance in learning to look for clues in the language and events that surround an unknown word. Tell students not to stop reading as soon as they encounter an unknown word. Often, contextual clues come in sentences that immediately follow the new vocabulary item. Teach students to keep relationships from one sentence to another in mind as they read. Nurture in them the habit of linking the end of one sentence to the beginning of the next.
The single most important thing you can do to help your students see how to guess words from context is to show them how you do it by employing multiple strategies. The process takes very little class time. Tell them that you are going to pretend to be one of them, showing them how you find clues to words that you think might be problematic for them. Then read a short passage out loud to your students, stopping to think out loud as you process information. Remember that the purpose of this activity is not to teach specific words, but to demonstrate strategies that you use to figure out what words mean or how you derive meaning from a text.
After modeling the skill, practice the skill with the following classroom activity:
Copyright © 2012 Education World