Using Context

Using Context with Vocabulary – This strategy helps students build vocabulary using contextual clues.

  1. The teacher selects a vocabulary word from a passage to be read by the students. The passage can be photocopied and distributed, or it can be made into an overhead transparency and projected onto a screen.
  2. Introduce the strategy to be used when encountering an unknown word.
    • Look – before, after, and at the word.
    • Reason – connect what you know with what the author has written.
    • Predict – what could the word possibly mean?
    • Resolve or Re-do – decide whether you know enough, should try again, or consult a reference material or expert.
  3. Discuss each step as you go through the process. Provide plenty of opportunities for independent practice. With time, this process should become automatic for them.


Blachowicz, C., & Zabroske, B. "Context instruction: a metacognitive approach for at-risk readers." Journal of Reading. 1990: 33, pp.504-508.

Next Strategy