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Teacher Tips and Answers

Understanding Vocabulary

When you read an unfamiliar word, you need to figure out its meaning based on how it is used. You can use the following context clues to guess a meaning.

Word parts

can reveal meaning.

A stop sign is an octagon.

(The prefix octa means “eight” and gon means “side,” so octagon must mean “eight sided.”)

Cause-and-effect

clues hint at meanings.

A good cardio workout gets your blood pumping.

(“Blood pumping” means cardio must have something to do with the heart.)

Definitions

in the text can help you understand.

Deer are herbivorous, eating just plants.

(Herbivorous means “eating just plants.”)

A series

groups an unknown word with known words.

The shelter had a tabby, a Siamese, and a calico.

(Since tabby and Siamese are cat breeds, calico must be a cat breed as well.)

Examples

give a specific version of a general idea.

The jacket was embellished with sequins and fringe.

(Sequins and fringe are decorations for a jacket, so embellished must mean “decorated.”)

Synonyms

have the same meaning as the unfamiliar word.

A suspension bridge hangs from cables.

(The word hangs is a synonym of the word suspension.)

Antonyms

have the opposite meaning as an unfamiliar word.

Herbivores eat plants, unlike carnivores.

(If the antonym herbivores refers to plant eaters, then carnivores must refer to meat eaters.)

Tone

reveals the writer’s thoughts about a word.

The pastoral landscape featured picnic blankets and children chasing kites.

(The presence of picnic blankets and children with kites means that pastoral must refer to a wide-open and pleasant landscape.)

This lesson is a part of the Reading and Writing for Assessment unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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