Context clues without reading? Yes! You can build vocabulary using pictures to teach how to use context clues in speech and language therapy!
As students get older, we need to find ways to teach them strategies to compensate for their weak vocabularies. Context clues is a great strategy to do this. We need to explicitly teach it to them. We cannot assume they know how, know how to locate clues, and know how to do all of this independently with any unknown word they come across. One way I like to demonstrate and practice is using pictures. Why? There are a couple reasons!
- It makes it fun!
- It takes the reading piece out. Many students are weak or reluctant readers which can impact their interest in practicing let alone demonstrating their abilities with a skill. Take the stressful piece out while teaching a new skill and you will see more success!
- Using the pictures as clues is a great strategy in itself! Students should know that illustrations are important. They can help them figure out unknown words.
- There are so many ways you can use what you have or find for free/cheap to do this!
How to pick the words to use
I recommend using Tier 2 words since they are challenging and can be found across various subject areas. Where do I come up with these words?! You can totally Google Tier 2 vocabulary words and find various lists. One list I use often is from Flocabulary which you can find HERE! They provide various grade levels.
Using Wordless Picture Books to Practice Using Context Clues
I love wordless picture books. There are so many possibilities and they are motivating! I have a huge stash in my therapy room and I love using them to work on a variety of goals. Students love that there isn't reading involved and so much language is elicited. You can easily come up with some sample sentences that incorporate some unknown words to practice determining what they mean using the pictures and the sentences.
I just wrote on a sticky note so I can put it in the book (but when I am done I can take it off and save it in the inside of the book to use again!). Quick and cost effective! To see my list of favorite wordless picture books..CLICK HERE to check out that blog post!
Using You Tube Wordless Mini Movies to Practice using Context Clues
Ok..so it isn't “pictures” but moving pictures! Still can be done! Just like I did above with the book, I used Edpuzzle to stop and pause videos at certain spots. You can either give students the sentence with unknown word like above or just prompt them to come up with their own sentences and figure it out using the clues of the movie. What is the movie about? What is happening right then? Have you heard this word before? What do you think it means? I also prompt them to ask me for a hint which then I give them a sample sentence using the context of the video!
Check out the full video sample that I made below and feel free to use it with your students!
To learn more about EdPuzzle…CLICK HERE to read my blog post all about it!
Using Giphy to Work on Context Clues
Students love memes and GIFs! You can have them make their own or you can make them and show it to them to practice using context clues! It is super easy to make using Giphy.com! You can easily search for ones or click the “create your own.” I recommend….search for a gif…copy the link to it and paste it into the “create your own” tab. Then you can edit and add a sentence that has the tier 2 vocabulary word! Use TV shows and movies that are motivated by! (warning…if you are letting them create their own, preview some search terms ahead of time to make sure appropriate GIFs show up!).
Other ways to build vocabulary using pictures!?
You can use any Google Image or photos the same way! Just search!
Don't want to find your own…I have an entire resource that can help save you time! CLICK HERE to learn more about it!
Unsure where to go after working on context clues using pictures?! I have a free game resource that can help!
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