Additional Use of Context


With our Additional Use of Context lesson plan, students learn how to determine the meaning of words using context clues as well as how to include high-level vocabulary words in their own writing by including their own context clues.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to use current reading or other content for students to practice determining unknown word meanings using context clues.

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What our Additional Use of Context lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Additional Use of Context teaches students how to both interpret and create context clues for better understanding. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase. This lesson is for students in 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the green box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can pair students for the activity and copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One optional addition to this lesson is to use current reading or other content for students to practice determining unknown word meanings using context clues. You can also have students identify unknown words and context clues in the practice or homework passages.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


What is Context?

The Additional Use of Context lesson plan includes four pages of content. The lesson begins by explaining that, sometimes, it’s hard to figure out why someone is acting in a particular way. It would be easier to figure out why someone is sad or angry if you had some hints or clues. If a friend is angry, and you saw them argue with their parents, you might be able to infer that they’re mad because of that argument. This would give you context for their behavior.

Similarly, we can use context to determine the meaning of a word or phrase. Students have likely heard this word before. We find context written or spoken before or after a word or passage. Context helps clarify the meaning of the word or passage. It can include the overall meaning of a word, phrase, or paragraph; it can also include the word’s position or function within a sentence, which can be a clue that helps you figure out the meaning. We call these context clues.

If you know a word is a verb, instead of an adjective, that can help you figure out the meaning of that word. Also, if the word is spoken in a negative context, that tells you something important about the meaning. If you know the main idea or theme of the paragraph the words appear in, you can use that information to help you figure out the meanings of unknown words in that paragraph.

Context Clue Strategies

We use many different strategies to determine the meanings of new or unknown words. Students might already know some of these strategies. You can use some or all of these strategies to help you determine the meaning of unfamiliar words. The lesson covers three main strategies.

The first strategy is to use the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph. If you’re reading a sentence or paragraph related to a specific topic, it’s likely that unknown words will be related to that topic. You can use that context to help you figure out the meaning of a word. The lesson includes an example paragraph about slavery in the United States and mentions the Emancipation Proclamation. To figure out what that is, you can use the context of the paragraph. The paragraph mentions that Lincoln signed the proclamation, which tells you it was a document. Because the paragraph is about slaves gaining their freedom, we can determine that emancipation means freedom.

The next strategy is to use experience clues. When reading, you might be able to use your personal experience with a subject or topic to determine the likely meaning of unknown words. The lesson includes an example paragraph about people arguing. The unknown words in this paragraph are uncouth and eschew. If you’ve heard people arguing before, you know that people often say unkind things during arguments. Knowing this, it’s likely that language described as uncouth means that it was foul of mean language. The person in the paragraph wanted to avoid the argument but couldn’t, and was unable to eschew the situation. Given the context, and based on personal experience, we can determine that eschew means to avoid.

The third and final strategy described in this lesson is to use inference or mood and tone clues. Inferences are educated guesses. Sometimes, you can simply guess the meaning of an unfamiliar word. Sometimes, the mood, tone, or feeling of the sentence or paragraph can help you figure out the meaning. The lesson includes an example paragraph about people enjoying themselves at a party. Because that’s the tone of the paragraph, you can infer that the unknown words reflect that tone. The word euphoric must mean happy.

These are not the only kinds of context clues that might help you figure out the meaning of an unknown word or phrase. You can also analyze the structure of a word, identify antonyms or synonyms, or look at examples given in relation to the word.


The Additional Use of Context lesson plan includes two worksheets: an activity worksheet and a combined practice/homework worksheet. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will work with a partner to complete the activity worksheet. Each pair will use five vocabulary words (either provided by the teacher or identified by the students) in a story or nonfiction passage. They will define the five words using a dictionary before writing their passage. Each passage should include context clues that will help another pair of students determine the meanings of the five words in context.

Students may also work either alone or in groups for this activity.


For the practice/homework worksheet, students will read the provided story and use context clues to determine the meaning of the words in bold. They will also tell what clues specifically helped them determine the meaning of each word.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes an answer key for the practice/homework worksheet. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


6th Grade


Language Arts

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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You make math come alive!

Nice, but I needed more depth.

Donia T.


The plan was self explanatory and straight forward. A BIG THANK YOU!!