This is part two of a two day lesson. The students seem to feel really comfortable about guessing an appropriate replacement word for new or tricky words in the texts they are reading. However, I want them to be more meta-cognitive about the context clues they are using to determine what an appropriate synonym would be. When students are aware that they don't understand a word, they can stop and use strategies to correct their mistake.
In this lesson, I use a read aloud to describe different type of context clues. A read aloud gives students example from an actual book and shows them the type of work that I will eventually expect them to do in their own reading. The three different types of context clues I teach them are: where the text gives an example matching the new word, where the text directly defines the word, or the text gives an antonym. I chose these types because they are the most common context clues that show up in the books that students read.
I model how I figure out which type of context clue it is by paying really close attention to the words around the tricky word in the sentence. For example, I talk out loud how I use the italicized parts of these sentences to help me understand the bold words.
1. (Example): The weather is in the south is so humid that when I go outside during the day my skin gets sticky and the air feels heavy.
2. (Definition): I love wearing moccasins, a pair of flat shoes made out of leather, whenever I feel like relaxing.
3. (antonym): The mall was humongous, not like the tiny department store we have in our town.
After I model my thinking about how context clues help me understand a new word, I ask them to do it. I have three more sentences from the class read aloud. I attempted to find sentences that showed the three different types of context clues.
We went through the thought process by first suggesting a synonym and then explaining why that was the most appropriate word. For each sentence, I called on three-six students.
While they are reading an independent book , they are to find a sentence with a tricky word, look to a few sentences before and after to determine what kind of context clue is supporting their understanding of the word. They are to write a few examples in their learning journals.
When they are finished, I ask for a few students to share. Other students may chime in to explain why the speaker might be wrong if they can support their ideas.