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Context Clues Games for 4th Grade

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

When students know how to use context clues, they can figure out new vocabulary on their own. This lesson gives you some ideas for games that will teach context clues to your fourth grade students.

Why Context Clue Games?

Fourth graders are often independent readers and writers with a strong sense of the importance of developing their vocabulary. One of the best things you can do for your fourth grade students is to help them become independent at learning and incorporating new words. Teaching students to use context clues is a great way to help; context clues are hints in a sentence or paragraph that help a student understand what an unfamiliar word means. Learning to use context clues properly takes practice, and games can be a great way to get this practice without resorting to dull rote learning. The games in this lesson will get your students enthusiastic about using context clues.

Speaking Games

The games in this section are designed for oral language and will help students get used to using context clues in speaking and listening.

  • Listen to My Story

To play this game, you will want to prepare a story about your life. It can be contemporary or from when you were a child. Tell the story out loud to your students, incorporating three to five tricky words. Ask students to work with partners to try to figure out the meaning of your words, and give points to the partnerships that get them right. The pair that has the most points wins. You can also modify this to let students tell their own stories using new vocabulary words.

  • Clue Me In

For this game, you pair students up and give each student three cards with different words and definitions. Partner A should say a sentence that uses one of his words and gives enough context for Partner B to adequately guess the definition. Then, Partner B gets a turn to do the same with one of his words. After each partner has gone through all the words, they can work together to tell a story or have a conversation incorporating their new vocabulary.

  • Context Clue Jeopardy

For this game, you will want to set up a Jeopardy board, either using a Smartboard or a whiteboard. The categories can be parts of speech, like nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Under each category, write five sentences of increasing difficulty; each sentence should include a new vocabulary word and enough context to figure it out. Team your students up and have teams take turns selecting a clue. If they are able to figure out the word's definition from context, they get points for that round.

Reading and Writing Games

Context clues are also an important part of reading and writing. The games in this section give your students a chance to work with context clues as part of literacy.

  • Letter to a Character

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