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Contextual Analysis
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  • Upper elementary and above

  • Narrative and expository text

  • Vocabulary development

  • Use context clues

  • Monitor reading comprehension

  • Apply repair strategies

  • Make inferences

  • Writing

  • Apply metacognitive skills


  • Tell the students:

    • They will learn how to use clues to add meanings to words they don't understand in the text.

  • Demonstrate contextual analysis from examples in the text.

    • Read aloud/sign a sentence containing an unfamiliar word.

      • Example: Wilma had dieted for the last two weeks. She stepped on the scale and was disappointed. She had not lost any weight.

    • Tell the students: "I'm not sure what the word dieted means. I'll reread the sentences and see if I can find any clues.

      • 'Wilma was disappointed because she had not lost any weight.'

      • That tells me that she wanted to lose weight. I think dieted means that you don't eat very much--and you don't eat fatty foods--so you can lose weight and become thin."

    • Tell the students that as you read on in the text, you can find out if you are right.

    • If not, rethink the information and possibly try another repair strategy.

  • Model two or three more examples.

  • Provide guided practice to students as they work with two or three more examples.

    • Work together to locate clue words/phrases in the sentences that will provide clues to the meanings of unfamiliar words.

  • Provide independent practice for the students.

    • Students read a passage and write the clue words and approximate meanings for unfamiliar words.

    • The unfamiliar words can be words the teacher has highlighted or words students find as they read.

  • Students share their work, discuss their ideas, reach a consensus on what the clues are and what the new vocabulary word means.

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