Ch 9: Determining Meaning with Context: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.4A-D

About This Chapter

Show these videos to your students in class to help them develop strategies for determining word meaning. Practice the concepts taught in the video with the activity suggestions below.

Standard: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 7 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2)

Standard: Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word's position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2.A)

Standard: Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., belligerent, bellicose, rebel). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2.B)

Standard: Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech. (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2.C)

Standard: Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.7.2.D)

About This Chapter

As your students watch these videos and work through the quizzes and test, they will become familiar with multiple methods for discovering the meaning of unfamiliar words. They will be able to examine context and clues within the words themselves to develop an idea of what a word means. The lessons in this chapter cover:

  • Using context, prior knowledge, and word structure to determine meaning
  • Finding meaning through examining affixes and roots
  • Looking up word meaning in reference materials
  • Discovering meaning through inference

Students with highly-developed skills in these areas will demonstrate competence through their analysis of reading material in the upper end of their grade band. They will be comfortable reading complex material in spite of regular instances of unknown words within the text. They should be able to articulate how they arrived at a given meaning for a word, particularly when using context and word structure to evaluate its meaning.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Try using these activities for ideas on how to include these videos in your regular classroom instruction.

Small group exploration

After completing the lessons on using context and word structure to determine meaning, break students into small groups and provide each with a list of upper-level words used in an appropriate context. Instruct students to work out the meaning using the context and word clues, discussing amongst themselves related words and other clues. Encourage them to use reference materials to determine Greek and Latin root meanings, but ensure they don't use dictionaries to arrive at the meaning. When everyone has completed their list, read the dictionary definitions of each word aloud. Which group defined the most words correctly?

Dictionary races

Bring a little competition into this area of language use by creating a word list and having students, alone or in small groups, find the meaning of each one in a dictionary. The first student/group to complete the entire list correctly wins! Don't forget to watch the video on using reference materials before getting started.

Journaling exercise

Have your students journal about new words by having them listen/watch for new words as they are talking to others, watching television, and reading. For each new word they should explain the context, what they initially thought the word meant in context, and whether the dictionary confirmed or denied their initial understanding. Be sure to explain that some words may be used incorrectly by the speaker and to annotate when they think the word was used incorrectly. You can also provide a quota of words to encourage students to actively look for new ones.

5 Lessons in Chapter 9: Determining Meaning with Context: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.4A-D
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

1. How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

With diligence and intrepid ingenuity, you can use context to ascertain the purport of a word. In other words, in this lesson, we'll find out how to use context to figure out what words mean.

Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

2. Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

In this lesson, you will learn how readers use prior knowledge, context clues and word structure to aid their understanding of what they read. Explore these strategies through examples from literature and everyday life.

Using Affixes and Roots to Find the Meaning of Words

3. Using Affixes and Roots to Find the Meaning of Words

In this lesson, we will learn how to understand the meaning of words by breaking them down into the parts that form them. This requires knowledge of the Greek and Latin roots, and affixes, which are parts we add to roots to make new words.

Using Reference Materials for Vocabulary

4. Using Reference Materials for Vocabulary

In this lesson, we will explore various reference materials that will allow you to increase your vocabulary. Common reference materials include dictionaries, glossaries, and thesauruses.

What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

5. What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

In this lesson, we will define the terms inference and intended meaning. We will then discuss what steps to take when making inferences in literature.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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