• What are Context Clues?

    Context clues are hints in the sentence that help good readers figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words. When we look at the “context” of a word, we look at how it is being used. Based on how these words are used, and on our knowledge of the other words in the sentence, we make an educated prediction as to what the challenging vocabulary word may mean.

     
    Context clues come in various forms. They may be:
    • a definition of the word embedded in the text
      The factory supervisor demanded an inspection, which is a careful and critical examination of all of the meats processed each day.
    • a synonym or antonym in a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph around the word
      The boxes weren't exactly heavy, just cumbersome, unlike the easy-to-carry bags with handles.
      (Here cumbersome can be figured out from its antonym, easy-to-carry.)

    • an example that helps define the word
      The builder decided that the house could be built on a number of sites, for example, along a wooded path, near the ocean, or atop a mountain.
    • a restatement of the word or idea
      Gary Paulsen writes books that appeal, or are of particular interest, to young adult readers.
    (Content-Area Reading Strategies for Language Arts, Walch Education, 2002)
     
     
    Example Worksheet:
     

    Context Clues 2.1

     

    Directions: readeach sentence and determine the meaning of the word using cross sentence cluesor your prior knowledge.  Then, explainwhat clues in the sentence helped you determine the word meaning.

     

    1.   Detest: Everyone else at the partywanted garbage pizza but Tim because he detestedvegetables.

                   

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    2.   Alter: Grandpa didn’t know that Suziewas coming along on the fishing trip, and now he had to alter his plans.

                   

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    3.   Melodramatic: When Kiki got a tiny cuton her pinky finger, she got all melodramaticand began sobbing and demanding a doctor.

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    4.  Remorse: As Tommy walked home with themoney from the church he had stolen in his pocket, powerful feelings of remorse bubbled in his stomach.

                   

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    5.  Inquiry: When the other moms heardabout how Charlene had won the baking contest, her email box was flooded with inquiries for her award winning muffinrecipe.

                   

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    6.  Perch: The children were perched on the edge of the sofa arms,waiting to hop off and land on the next unlucky passerby.

         

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

    7.  Earnest: Jeremiah joked around so muchthat when he told the others about the accident that had occurred, they didn’tbelieve that he was being earnest.  

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    8.  Jovial: Unlike Bob, who treated othersrudely and kept to himself, Bobby was jovial,friendly, and outgoing.   

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    9.  Demeanor: My grandma’s demeanor was such that people oftenthought she was being rude when she was just being honest.

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    10.  Beckoned: The lady decided that it wastea time and so, by jingling a tiny silver bell, she beckoned her servants to attend. 

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    11.  Dismal: With the field torn up by theplayers’ cleats, and the cold rain falling in waves, conditions on the playingfield were dismal. 

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?

     

     

     

    12.  Immense: Lula would have attempted thewalk home, had it not been for the immensemountain that stood between her and her destination.

     

    Definition:___________________________________________________________________________

     

    What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?