Ch 4: Determining the Meaning of Words: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4

About This Chapter

Use our fun and informative video lessons to teach the Common Core State Standards for literacy related to word meanings in history and social studies texts to your 11th and 12th grade students. Assign the short quizzes to see how they're doing and pinpoint any problem areas.

Standard: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10). (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4)

About This Chapter

In support of strong reading skills, students must have the tools for determining the meanings of words found within the context of writing. The following lesson topics will help them develop that 'toolbox' of skills.

  • Understanding words through context and relationships
  • Choosing the best words to suit the needs
  • Effects of structure on word meanings
  • Types of foreshadowing
  • Ways to introduce and shape the definitions of terms in text

You'll know that your students have mastered these concepts when they're able to use the related abilities in oral or written responses to reading. When they begin to use these tools in their own writing, you can be sure that the skills have been internalized. All students who plan to attend college or pursue careers requiring strong vocabulary skills will benefit from attaining control over this standard.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

If you're looking for a few more ways to reinforce this standard in the classroom, you might consider some of the following suggestions.

Out of Context

Share the video lessons pertaining to context and word relationships. Display a list of possibly unfamiliar words in class that are taken from several different sources. Challenge students to brainstorm their meanings. Then show those same words within the context of their sources. Ask students to again decide on the meanings for the words. Discuss the comparative ease of understanding when the words were viewed within context.

In the Shadows

View and discuss the foreshadowing video lesson. Share several text examples with clear examples of foreshadowing. Ask students to choose which among them would be examples of direct, subtle or symbolic foreshadowing. Students should be ready to defend their answers.

Blue Ribbon Words

Watch the video lesson about selecting the best words for messages with your class. Share several examples of texts that contain weak or ineffective words choices. Challenge them to decide whether each example could be considered cliché, buzzword or corporate jargon. Lead your students in effective use of a thesaurus, either online or in book form, to find alternate vocabulary for the selected words.

9 Lessons in Chapter 4: Determining the Meaning of Words: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Context? - Definition & Application

1. What is Context? - Definition & Application

In writing, context is the information surrounding the information. Without context, information can be misinterpreted; with context, information can be understood.

How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

2. 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.

Understanding Words By Their Relationships

3. Understanding Words By Their Relationships

Many words in the English language have multiple meanings. To really understand a word, we have to understand the relationship between particular words. In this lesson, we will examine this through connotations, denotations, synonyms, and analogies.

Selecting the Best Words for Your Message

4. Selecting the Best Words for Your Message

Workplace communication depends upon delivering messages effectively through the use of professional writing. It is critical to understand how to select the best words for your message.

What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

5. What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

In this lesson, we will define the role of structure in literature. From there, we will look at the different ways to structure fiction and how it affects the meaning.

What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

6. What is Foreshadowing? - Types, Examples & Definitions

Learn about how authors use foreshadowing, both subtle and direct, as part of their storytelling process. Explore many examples of foreshadowing, from classical plays to contemporary stories.

Practicing Critical Reading Strategies

7. Practicing Critical Reading Strategies

Your teacher gives you an assignment. Maybe you're preparing for a test. You're told to practice critical reading. You already know how to read, right? Then what does it mean to read critically? In this lesson, we'll review some great strategies for deep, reflective reading that are sure to help you ace the assignment or test.

Strategies for Introducing Terms in Writing

8. Strategies for Introducing Terms in Writing

In any type of paper or genre of writing, you might need to introduce key terms to your audience. In this lesson, you'll learn some strategies for doing so.

Discussing and Refining the Meaning of a Term

9. Discussing and Refining the Meaning of a Term

In this lesson we explore a few methods in how to discover and refine the meaning of a term, through using the dictionary and our critical thinking skills, and how best to commit it to memory.

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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