All of a sudden I came across a word I didn't know the meaning of in my actual book and I found myself instinctively touching the word to have its meaning pop up. Uhhhhh. Yikes! That doesn't work on a non-electronic device- who knew?? :) It made me realize just how much I rely on immediate gratification in the sense that I don't even take the time to consider figuring out the word on my own while reading on my iPad. It's just done for me with one simple click. Which is fantastic- I think it's a great feature, however it got me thinking... so many of our students know things through the use of technology- they are heavily reliant on things just being told to them. I still want them to be able to think for themselves though personally!
Since I interact directly with students on a daily basis as they read in my guided reading groups, I also realized this year just how little my readers understand at times. The books we were reading were actual books. For my 3rd and 4th graders, I usually only had them read a short bit of the text aloud to me. The rest they would read on their own, but one way I could tell if they were really reading/understanding was by asking questions about the text that they didn't read aloud for me. I would turn to page with a word that I knew was challenging and would ask them to explain the meaning. That's when the conversation above would occur...nearly every time. I was kind of shocked just how easy it is for kids to just keep on reading, but then again, I know I've done the same thing myself as a reader! Of course, I would then continue the conversation by guiding the reader to figure out the meaning of the word through these questions:
You can grab this freebie here for your classroom- I recommend leaving it in your guided reading basket. Perfect spot for easy access to use with readers as they are struggling to figure out the meaning of words!
I did a quick video with a few examples of how to teach context clues- you can check it out below!
Have a great day!