Vocabulary Attainment – Context Clues

In our previous posts, we discussed the importance of vocabulary instruction before, during, and after reading complex texts for increasing students’ reading comprehension. We also dived into the idea of making words significant for learners (Boyles, 2012; Mudambi, 2013 & 2015). The five components of vocabulary instruction are: Word Connections, Significance, Context Clues, A Word Rich Environment, and Evaluation. In this post, we will discuss context clues.

Conext Clues


Context Clues, as most educators already know, refers to the text around a word that helps students decipher the word’s meaning. However, research demonstrates that a single exposure to each word is insufficient. Multiple opportunities to encounter context clues within authentic situations that are enhanced with explicit instruction, practice, and feedback, have been shown to aid learning. An example of an authentic situation is a long narrative or passage where words can be found in the context of a story or informational text rather than on a worksheet of independent sentences.

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