In this video, we'll take a look at a graphic organizer that helps students use context clues to build vocabulary. It's called a word detective graphic organizer.
It may seem pretty simple to us but reading is actually a very complex task and it consists of five components: Phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. That last component, reading comprehension, is achieved when the other 4 are combined with an ability to think and solve problems. One problem that every reader is sure to encounter is the foreign word in a sentence. By foreign I mean the word’s definition is unknown to the reader. That one word can be the difference between comprehension and confusion. Fortunately, this problem can be solved by using context clues to decipher the meaning of unknown words. Using context clues is a skill that requires practice and one way to help students develop this ability is to use a Word Detective graphic organizer.
Let’s try it out. I’m reading a book called Sold [by Nathan Zimelman] and I’ve come across the word Gross. I don’t know what gross means so I’ll write it down. The next thing I’ll do is write the sentence where I found the word. The sentence was “The first thing I bought was a gross of quill pens, complete with a quart of green ink.” Even though I don’t know what the word means, I can see that it’s a noun so I’ll record that in the graphic organizer also. Now I need to put on my detective hat and look for clues that will help me understand what gross means. In the sentence it says the boy bought a gross of quill pens. Pens is plural so perhaps gross means more than one. I don’t see any other clues in that sentence so let’s take a look at the next one. It says, “I figured that 144 pens would last a long, long time.” According to that sentence, he actually bought 144 pens. So I could change the sentence to read, “The first thing I bought was 144 quill pens…” That makes sense so here’s my definition of a gross. A gross is 144, which is the same as 12 dozen..
The last thing I’ll do is include a picture to help me remember what gross means in this context.
So As you know, context clues play a crucial role in reading comprehension so as you work with students on developing their ability to use context clues, consider utilizing a word detective graphic organizer.