/Tag:Vocabulary

Activities for Teaching Context Clues in the Primary Grades

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Let’s dive into activities for teaching context clues in the primary grades. I also have a post that breaks down how to teach vocabulary strategies that you can find here.

 

activities for teaching context clues

Activity #1 Picture Journal for Vocabulary

Many young learners are very concrete and visual. You can let students keep a picture journal to illustrate unknown words they find in the text. Encourage students to use the context clues or a vocabulary strategy to decipher the meaning of the unknown word as they read. Let students record the newly discovered word in a journal and create an illustration of the word. This will pair very well with words that have visual descriptions in the text as context clues. Illustrating will help them to understand the meaning of the new word more by making it more real and concrete.

Now if you already use a vocabulary journal, this can simply be a section in their notebook dedicated to illustrating words. For some students who are still developing their writing, you may want to start with just having a picture journal all together until they are ready to be pushed with writing the word’s meaning.

You can also extend this by having students also write their interpretation of what the word means. Bonus: You may need to read these for a good laugh every now and then. 😂

Activity #2 Clue Into the Word

With this activity, students revisit a word they wrote in their vocabulary journal or picture journal. If your students do not have a vocabulary journal, simply challenge them one day to find an unknown word and use context clues to decipher the meaning. Then have students write their word with its meaning and/or illustration on a sheet of paper. Students will mainly just need access to a word they have discovered on their own and figured out the meaning through context clues. Have students write the word in a sentence on a sheet of paper or even type it up on an iPad. With their new sentence handy, let students visit with other students, share their sentence, and ask the other student what it means. Let students switch partners as much as you like. You can also extend this a bit more by having students write down the words that were shared with them on a sheet of paper, and then hold a class discussion of the new words that were learned. It is a fun way to collaborate and learn new words in context. After all, they say the ones that learn the most are the ones that teach it, and this activity lets the students teach with something they have learned.

Activity #3 Digital Mystery Stories

Mystery themes and context clues go hand and hand, so why not let students read a mystery story and look to uncover unknown words with context clues? To make the reading more engaging, let them read digitally. I actually put together these task cards that have a story being told across from card-to-card. Students solve the unknown word, slide the magnifying glass to the word’s meaning, and answer some reading comprehension questions at the end that involves more higher-order thinking. It is good practice to build up their confidence by using context clues so that activities like Clue Into the Word can be done with confidence. You can find the context clue cards by clicking here for the digital ones or here for the printable ones.

context clues for Google Classroom digital task cards

I hope you found these activities helpful to help deepen the use of context clues! Context clues and vocabulary strategies are something I am very passionate about because I really do believe that is a big gap missing with students struggling with reading in the older grades and even adulthood. If you would like access to a resource library full of free teaching resources and a free course on using technology in the primary grades, make sure to sign-up here.

activities for teaching context clues

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Candy Class for Teaching Resources and Ideas

Jolene Mathew from The Candy Class 🙂

 

Ideas for Teaching Prefixes in 2nd Grade to Strengthen Vocabulary Skills

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Students need opportunity to work with words and manipulate the parts of them. In primary grades like 2nd grade, students can start to dive into prefixes to strengthen their vocabulary skills. There are many ways for students to work with prefixes, and you will find a few ideas for teaching prefixes below.

Ideas for Teaching Prefixes in k-2

Idea #1 Sorting Prefixes

Have students sort words by the prefix. Simply write the words on index cards for students to sort by prefix. You can laminate for durability. Another way is to type them up, print on card stock, and laminate. Making prefix sorting mats provides a visual for students to place the words on top of as they sort. Simply type the prefix on a single sheet of paper. I recommend putting the prefix meaning on the mat too, so students can really learn that prefix.

 

Idea #2 Creating and Decoding Words with Prefixes

Let students figure out the meaning of words by providing a small list of prefixes and a root word. Include the meanings of the prefixes with this list. Let students form a new word from the list, and use the root word and the prefix meaning to define the new word in their own words. This activity is great because it pushes students to use some higher-order thinking. Now you can always create the lists and root words yourself, but if you would like to save time, I have a paperless resource for that here or by clicking the picture below.


Strengthen Vocabulary Skills with these Ideas for Teaching Prefixes in 2nd GradeLink Here

Idea #3 Prefix Interactive Notebook

Use an interactive notebook template for students to write a prefix on top and a group of words with that prefix under the flap. You can get a FREE interactive notebook template by clicking here to use for this activity.

I hope you find these ideas for teaching prefixes helpful to use with your students, so they can strengthen those vocabulary skills! If you would like some helpful tips, ideas, freebies, and sales announcements sent to your email, make sure to subscribe here. You can also view my privacy policy here.

Ideas for Teaching Prefixes in the Primary Grades

Thank you for stopping by the Candy Class!

Candy Class for Teaching Resources and Ideas

Jolene 🙂

Tips for Increasing Vocabulary and a Free Sample

By | |Reading, Vocabulary|0 Comments

Hi everyone! Today, I am going to share some tips on how to increase vocabulary during reading. Vocabulary is so important for deepening reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. It is an essential ingredient for improving student literacy.  Once students know how to decode those words phonetically, it is so very important to be able to grasp the meaning of the words they decode to better understand the text. I also have a free vocabulary strategies resource!

Tips for Increasing Vocabulary and a Free Sample
 

Tip #1: Teach Vocabulary Strategies

Research Tip about vocabulary strategies

Vocabulary instruction should include both direct instruction of words AND vocabulary strategies. This is actually research-based. It can be easy to teach the direct instruction part. We pull out those vocabulary lists alongside the spelling lists each week, and we read some authentic literature while putting a focus on those new vocabulary words from the book.

It is often the other half, vocabulary strategies that do not get a whole lot of needed attention. Sure, there are the occasional lessons on context clues, but it is not enough to get students intentional every day as they read.

Students are reading books and being exposed to SO MANY new words that they might not be exposed to within their own homes, and those moments to learn those new words are lost if students are not fully equipped to apply vocabulary strategies to crack the code to those unknown words.

Now, some might think that vocabulary strategies are simply context clues. However, vocabulary strategies include other strategies besides context clues. They are like a bag of tools students can pull out to crack open those unknown words.

Tip #2: Teach Vocabulary Strategies During Guided Reading or Reading Workshop

Vocabulary strategies Next Step Tip

Vocabulary strategies are the next step in teaching reading after word decoding. Think about it. Once students know how to phonetically open each word or use other decoding skills to read known words, the next step to being a good reader is to be able to interpret those unrecognizable words that they now have the ability to sound out. I actually broke the strategies into 24 different ones, so students have a bag of tools to help them crack open those words. These strategies can be taught during guided reading, reading workshop, or other small group activities.

Tip #3: Encourage students to Use Vocabulary Strategies During Independent Reading

 Vocabulary Strategies Means to Cracking Open New Words Tip

Vocabulary strategies are the means to gaining the skills needed to crack open new words during reading. In addition to guided reading, students should be applying the vocabulary strategies during independent reading too. If you do a reading workshop format, you can actually incorporate the vocabulary strategies there too. What is great about this is you are potentially tapping into their natural curiosity as they stumble across unknown words while reading. This is such an authentic, relevant way to learn new vocabulary. Not only that, but they are going to have a deeper understanding of what they are reading. It’s a two-for-one deal that you can’t beat. 😉

Tip #4: Teach More than Just Context Clues

Vocabulary Strategies encompass more than just context clues

Vocabulary strategies include primarily context clues, but they encompass more than that.  Vocabulary strategies are like a tool bag that students can pull out and apply, so they can determine the meaning of unknown words. It includes starting from the basics of just paying attention to those unknown words on up to using various context clues to using dictionaries and online resources.

Tip #5: Break Down How to Use Context Clues Step-by-Step

Vocabulary Strategies Tip to Break Down Context Clues

 

Breaking down how to use the context clues into steps helps students to apply them appropriately. There is more than one type of context clue, and students need time to let each type of context clue sink in and be applied. An example of a strategy that breaks things down is named “The Case of the Appearing Rabbit”. With this strategy, students are taught the strategy, which is, “Poof! It may appear as an example.” Then a tip is given for students to look for specific word clues that are signals that an example might be present. By looking for wording like “for example” and “such as,” students know where to look for the example.

 Tip #6: Teach Students When to Use Other Resources

Vocabulary Strategies Tip on Using Dictionaries

 

It’s important for students to lean in on those context clues first to help improve fluency and to gain more understanding of the word in its actual context. However, sometimes, they will have to break out a dictionary or use an online resource because the context did not offer any clarity to the meaning. When should students turn to other resources to determine the meaning of unknown words? I recommend letting students know to use other resources if they can not find any context clues, or if they are still unsure of the meaning of the word.

Tip #7: Use Visual Prompts of the Vocabulary Strategy

 Vocabulary Strategies Prompt Tip

Give students visual prompts of the vocabulary strategies. If students only employ vocabulary strategies when they are reading to you, they are not practicing them enough. They need to be using vocabulary strategies when they are doing independent reading. Visuals are great reminders to use the vocabulary strategies, and it also helps make them more concrete to understand. You can do this easily with some index cards or anchor charts printed four to a page.

Vocabulary Strategies Cards in Black and White

Tip #8: Students Can Show Their Thinking with a Graphic Organizer

 Vocabulary Tip to Show Thinking on Paper

Students can show how they used a vocabulary strategy with a graphic organizer. Not only does this give some accountability, but it creates an environment for more critical thinking and gives room for the meaning to resonate more with them.

Tip #9: Use a Vocabulary Journal

Vocabulary Strategies Journal Tip

Vocabulary words are meant to be reused and recognized when seen again. A vocabulary journal is a great tool for this purpose. Graphic organizers can be placed in the journal too!

Tip #10: Use Extensions for Discovered Vocabulary Words

Vocabulary Strategies Extension Tip

Give extension activities for students to apply the words they gleaned from using vocabulary strategies. This way, students can revisit those words later down the road. This actually ties in with the tip above. You want students reusing those vocabulary words, so have them break out their vocabulary journal for some extension activities.

Tip #11: Use Fun Incentives

 

Vocabulary Strategies Incentive Tip

To keep students motivated with practicing those vocabulary strategies, offer incentives.  We are all prone to get off track with our goals, so trackers help students to stay focused with using the vocabulary strategies throughout the year.  You can also celebrate their progress along the way when using a tracker. Reward them for their accomplishments. You can differentiate this easily, so everyone is successful with it. They will all make progress in their own way, so set reasonable goals for each student. Make it a big deal. Incentives need not cost a lot of money. The main ingredient is to make them feel special and to cheer them on. I also like to think this helps students to become mature adults who work toward goals and can self-monitor their progress to stay motivated.

Tip #12: Make it Engaging

Vocabulary Strategies Engagement Tip
Make it fun. Engage them from the start. Remember, they will always remember how we made them feel more than what we said (my paraphrase of Dr. Maya Angelou).  I set-up a fun intro where you can get into character as you introduce students to the unit with a fun script and visuals. It is a sure way to make them laugh some and ultimately get their interest in learning those vocabulary strategies.

Official vocabulary detectives spend their entire lives using vocabulary strategies to break cases of unknown words.

Engage students with a fun detective introduction

Let’s make it a lifelong adventure of reading and discovering vocabulary. Unlike direct instruction that is limited to the words being taught, vocabulary strategies transcend into skills that can be used throughout life. These are skills that students can carry from grade to grade, and this will enable students to succeed in leaps and bounds in their educational journey.

Of course, you can venture out on your own with these ideas from this post.  It took me quit a bit of research to come up with catchy names for the 24 vocabulary strategies that I identified through a lot of my own analysis and through various research-based books. Each strategy is very catchy, so students can easily remember them.  If you would like to save time on researching strategies to teach and creating resources, I have everything you need to teach vocabulary strategies throughout the year. It also has a fun detective theme, and covers all the tips I included in this blog post.
 You can click on the image below or click here to link to the resource.
Vocabulary Strategies Resource Overview
 You can also test drive the free sample below.
Vocabulary Strategies Free Sample
                                                                                                    Click on the picture or click here to link
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new logo 2-01Jolene Mathew from The Candy Class 🙂