Contextual Analysis

  • 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

Strategy steps:

  1. Teacher explains to students why they will be learning this strategy.
    1. They will learn how to recognize clues to help add meanings to words they don’t understand in the text.
    2. The clues will help them comprehend.
  2. Teacher demonstrates contextual analysis from examples in their text.
    1. Teacher reads aloud/signs a sentences 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.)
    2. Teacher tells class: “I’m not sure what the word dieted means. I’ll reread the sentences and see if I can find any clues. It says that 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.”
    3. Tell the students that as you read on in the text, you usually find out if you are right. If not, rethink the information and possibly try another repair strategy.
  3. Model two or three more examples.
  4. Provide guided practice to students as they work with two or three more examples. (Teacher and students work together to locate clue words/phrases in the sentences that will provide clues to the meanings of unfamiliar words.)
  5. Provide independent practice for the students.
    1. Students can work individually or in pairs.
    2. They read a passage and write the clue words and approximate meanings for unfamiliar words.
    3. The unfamiliar words can be words the teacher has highlighted or words they find as they read.
    4. Students share their work with the class.
  6. Provide students with two or three sentences one of which contains the new vocabulary word.
    1. Students work individually or in pairs to determine the meaning of the new word.
    2. Students write the clue words and what they think the new vocabulary word means.
  7. Students share their work, discuss their ideas, reach a consensus on what the clues are and what the new vocabulary word means.