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Inferring the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words

Using context clues to define new vocabulary words.

Kathleen Petrone

on 26 February 2011

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Transcript of Inferring the Meaning of Unfamiliar Words

Topic: Inferring the Meaning
of Unfamiliar Words Inferred Meaning Clues Sentences Readers are frequently frustrated when they meet unfamiliar vocabulary words as they read. Word But, jumping up and grabbing a dictionary takes too much time! Inferential thinking is one of the quickest and most effective ways of decoding the meaning of unfamiliar words. Readers need to take what they know
and gather clues in the text
to decode the meaning of vocabulary. Strategy:Vocabulary Think Sheet The purpose of this lesson is to use context clues to
define vocabulary words within text. Through modeling, students will become familiar with using a
"Vocabulary Think Sheet." In order for the 4th graders in my class to use this strategy,
the activity was first modeled using the picture book,
The Old Woman Who Named Things Written by: Cynthia Rylant Word hinges something that an
object swings on rusty, using the picture I used crude oil to lubricate the hinges. After modeling this strategy with a picture book, the students will use the "vocabulary think sheet" as they independently read their guided reading books. As our small groups meet, students can share the words they found to be difficult as well as decide whether they were able to decode the unknown word by using the content of the text. References
Harvey, Stephanie and Goudvis, Anne.2007. Strategies that Work. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Old Woman Who Named Things. New York, New York: Voyager Books Harcourt, Inc. Step 1: Students are asked to gather on the rug. The book is introduced to the class. The class is asked to listen closely to the story. If at anytime a word is read that they are slightly unfamiliar with, they should raise their hand. Step 2: Using the pre-made chart on the easel, as students raise hands, record the word onto the chart. Step 3: Using the other three columns of the chart, ask the class if they can come up with
1) "inferred" meaning,
2)the clues that led to their inference about the word, and
3)the sentence that helped them figure out the meaning. Example! tolerate put up with dog hair, house, "couldn't" My mother couldn't tolerate
the noise coming from my bedroom.
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