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Context Clues


What are Context Clues?
Sometimes when you are reading, you come across a word you do not know. How can you figure out what the word means?  Look for context clues.  Context clues are the words and sentences around the word.  They can help you figure out the meaning of the word.

1.  Read the words and sentences around the word you do not know.  Sometimes the author tells you what the word means.

2.  If not, use the words and sentences to predict a meaning for the word.

3.  Try that meaning in the sentence.  Does it make sense?

Strategies to Use
Homonyms (Multiple-Meaning Words) Sometimes when you are reading, you may see a word you know, but the meaning you know doesn't make sense in the sentence.  How can that be?  The word might be a homonym.  Homonyms are words that are pronounced and spelled the same, but have different meanings.  For example: "bat" means "a stick used to hit a ball."  "Bat" also means "a flying animal."
  • If a word you know doesn't make sense in the sentence, it might be a homonym.
  • Look at the words around it.  Can you figure out another meaning?
  • Try the new meaning in the sentence.  Does it make sense?
Selection Examples in Reading Street:
  • "Gold Rush,"pages 14-15
  • "Money," pages 88-89



(Source: Scott Foresman Reading Street, 3rd Grade)

Context Clues Games

Use context clues to help solve the mystery of the missing hat!

Read the sentences and choose the best answer by clicking on the drop-down menu.

Read the sentences and choose the best definition for the underlined word by using context clues.  This game is designed like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  You have three "hints" that are your lifelines, and you move up the chain of money as you answer questions correctly, starting at $500 and ending at $1,000,000 (one million dollars).  But don't answer a question with the wrong word - if you do, your game is over and you have to start over!

Read the sentence, then use the context clues to decide the best meaning for the word highlighted in red.  Click on the dancing duck that has the right definition, then throw a pie at him to score!
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