Using the context as a clue: As a reader we use the context as a clue to figuring out unknown words. Context clues are words or phrases built into the sentence around the difficult word. Sometimes authors offer very direct clues in the sentence or surrounding sentences. If you become more aware of the words around the difficult words you encounter while reading, you will save yourself many trips to the dictionary. You will be able to make logical guesses about the meanings of many words.
The clues come in 5 different types definition/explanation clues restatement/synonym clues contrast/antonym clues gist clues example clues
Definition/Explanation Clues: The most direct clues authors provide. The author actually defines the word for the reader generally in the same sentence. Example: The soft, bouncy surface cushioned his landing.
More Examples of Definition Clues: 1.My mother was candid, honestly sharing her ideas on the subject. 2.We could tell by the rotten smell, that something putrid was in our garbage can. 3. The class was chattering, talking noisily, during the lesson on context clues.
Restatement/Synonym Clues: These clues explain unfamiliar words by restating them in simpler terms. These clues explain unfamiliar words by using synonyms. These clues are not always located in the same sentences. You may need to reread the sentence before or read the sentence after the word to understand it’s meaning. Example: The man was sent to the penitentiary, or prison, for stealing cars.
More Synonym Clues: 1.When it was proven the senator had taken a bribe, he relinquished his position in Congress. He believed it was best for the country to give up his job. 2.Mom made a delicious chocolate cake for us. The combination of dark chocolate and whipped cream created a scrumptious dessert. 3.It is better to allow someone to make up their own mind about something, than to feel the need to coerce, or force, them over to your side
Contrast or Antonym Clues: Offer an opposite meaning for a word. These clues often require that you catch and understand the signal word. These types of clues may appear in the same sentence or a subsequent sentence, a sentence before or after the difficult word. Example: The audience appreciated the brevity of the final speech. Many of the others were quite lengthy.
More Examples of Antonym Clues: 1.The lead dog was so incompetent that he had to be replaced by one that was more useful to the pack. 2.I could not recollect where I put my favorite baseball bat, but then I remembered that I let Dillon borrow it last weekend. 3.Mary always brought a sense of serenity home with her because of her calm ways, while Max brought a sense of chaos with him.
Gist Clues These clues are the most subtle an author can offer readers. With these clues, the meaning of a particular word must be inferred from the general context. Sometimes a reader must read an entire passage before they understand the meaning of the word. Example: He looked over his notes again and again-the first English dictionary, the growth of the English language, William Shakespeare, words from French and German, new words, old words, new inventions, Anglo-Saxon words, Latin and Greek roots, American English-it all became a big jumble in his mind.
More Examples of Gist Clues: 1.He stood next to the giant dictionary on its little table, and Mrs. Granger walked to the back of the classroom and sat primly on a tall stool next to the bookcases. 2.He was being treated like– like the teacher’s pet. And he had the feeling she was doing it on purpose. His reputation was in great danger. So he launched another question.
Example Clues: Using examples or illustrations, an author tries to show what the word means. A writer may give just one example or several. To identify this type of clue you should look for words or phrases like “such as,” “including,” or “consists of”. Example: In the Fall, bright foliage is a delight to see. Red, orange, and yellow leaves and vegetation paint the world for our enjoyment.
More Example Clues: 1.There were many diminutive items in the dollhouse including tiny chairs, petite beds, and little pictures. 2.Kayla indulges her daughter in many ways-buying her everything she asks for, taking her everywhere she wants to go, and letting her do whatever she wants. 3.Projectiles included those items that are shot forward such as a cannon shell, bullet, or rocket.