Solving word meanings

This is a fabulous ReadWriteThink lesson plan: Solving word meanings.


  • Develop student inferential comprehension skills
  • Expand word knowledge
  • Use semantic gradients and context knowledge
  1.  Introduce context clues

Context – authors will ‘leak’ clues

To establish the meaning of vixen – what are the clues that the author is leaking?

The vixen was not as fortunate.

The vixen was not as fortunate as her mate.

(clue: ‘her’)

The vixen was not as fortunate as her mate who was caught in a steel jawed trap.  Her red pelt would bring a good price.

(clue: animal trap, red pelt – must be an animal with red fur, female animal)

Entry task:  an example of GRR
Context clues – on board.
The teacher was ____________.
The teacher was ____ because the class behaved so well.
The teacher was ________ because the class was unruly.
Gradients of meaning
despondent                                                                                          euphoric
                                             happy elated unhappy
                                             glum               sad
despondent     glum     sad     unhappy     happy     elated                euphoric
Students work independently….
freezing                                                                                               scalding
Jamaal _______ down the street.
Jamaal frantically ______ down the street.
Jamaal ______ down the street.  He was extremely proud of the award that he had received.
raced     sprinted     ran     strutted     walked     dawdled     crawled     hobble
2.  Strategy LPR3
  • Look before, at and after the new word
  • Predict
  • Reason – use as many clues as you can
  • Resolve or recognise that you need other strategies eg look it up, ask a table mate
  • Re-do – go through the steps again.

Model  LPR3 example:

Billy’s reply was incoherent.

Due to a lack of sleep and severe nervousness Billy’s reply was incoherent.

What clues are provided?

Worksheets – these are great!

Types of context clues

Context clues worksheet

What are semantic gradients?

Semantic gradients plus context 1

Semantic gradients plus context 2

Word Matrix:

 Use this fabulous word matrix from ReadWriteThink to create deeper understanding of vocabulary