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In an effort to build students ' academic language, educators are incorporating increasingly complex texts into their lesson plans. With College and Career Readiness standards emphasizing acquisition and use of general academic and domain - specific words and phrases, students are encouraged to find meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary by choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. One strategy is the use of a variety of reference materials, while another involves applying knowledge of the structure of words and parts of words, such as stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Here, we 'll focus on helping students develop their ability to use the context of unfamiliar wordi. E text surrounding itas Clue to word's meaning. Comprehension is an active process that involves purposeful interaction between reader and text. Strategic readers think about words in context, looking for meaning and sentences that frame unfamiliar word. With this in mind, students are often taught to follow a series of steps when they come across word or phrase they do not know: step 1: Reread and read ahead Stop and Reread words that come before and after unfamiliar word. Step 2: Identify Context clues Think about the meaning of words in text that surround unfamiliar word. Step 3: Decide on meaning Use what you know from the context to make an educated guess about the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Step 4: Check that meaning in Context meaning you decide should make sense in sentence and in relation to the main idea of the text. Even if your students are aware of these steps and have used them successfully in the past, using context clues is a strategy that improves with practice. Try activities here to give your students the boost they may need to make the most of their exposure to rich academic language. Display related sentences with blanks for missingbut not unfamiliarwords. For example: Raymond was the youngest _ in his family. He had two sisters and one _. Family _ in a little house. Encourage students to suggest words that fit in each blank, and talk about other words in sentences that help them make their suggestions. Providing scaffolded practice with words that students can pull from their mental word bank builds confidence and proficiency with strategy of looking for clues in surrounding text. Write sentences that contain fun, make - up words in place of focus word. For example: After dinner, I was so moozled from days of busy activities that I fell asleep two hours before my bedtime. I woke up feeling hungry the next morning and suddenly ate breakfast. Have students work in pairs to figure out likely meanings of make - up words and then replace make - up words with real words or words. Finally, ask students to explain how they use Context to figure out meanings of make - up words.
One clue that readers can use to decode unfamiliar terms is to break new words down into word parts. Often, words are challenging because they are lengthy. Their length may be due, in part, to how they are build. Many words have a root or base word to which prefix, suffix, or both may be attach. If you come across one of these word puzzles, try breaking word down into recognizable or familiar parts and considering the meaning of each part. For example, audiophile is an example of a root word and suffix stuck together. Identifying those parts and considering their meaning can help you create a meaning for the full word. The base word, audio, is from the Latin word for to hear; suffix * - phile suggests person who has attraction or fondness for something and is derived from the Greek word for love. Some words are bit more complicated, such as disappearance. This one can be split into prefix, root, and suffix: dis - + appear + - ance. As prefix, dis - indicate negative: something is not. Root portion, appear, is from the Latin word for to be visible or be see. Suffix, - ance suggests quality or quality. If we put it all together, we have a state of not being see or disappearing. Using word parts to unlock the meaning of strange new words does require a pretty strong understanding of Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes, but knowing some of the more common ones can really go a long way in helping you determine meaning of unfamiliar words.
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