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Increasing Comprehension When Reading
Words written around an unknown word that
helps the reader figure out what the unknown
word means.
 Synonyms
 Antonyms
 General
 Examples
Using context clues is a wise, or sage
reading strategy.
Synonyms are words that have the same or
nearly the same meaning as another word.
Synonym Signal Words:
 or
 that is
Antonyms are words that have the opposite
meaning of another word.
Antonym Signal Words:
 but
 however
 in contrast
 instead
 not
 on the other hand
When synonyms or antonyms are not provided
you will have to rely on the words around the
unknown word to figure out its meaning.
Jamie speculated about how much weight he
wanted to gain during the three-month
bodybuilding program he was beginning.
In many cases, the author may demonstrate
the meaning of a difficult word by providing
an example.
Example Signal Words:
 for instance
 for example
 such as
 including
Knowing the meaning of parts of words help you
understand difficult words when you see them
in context.
Root- the basic or main part of a word.
Prefix- a small word part added to the beginning of a
word (root) to make a new word.
Suffix- a small word part added to the end of a word
(root) to make a new word.
Sal is taking a history and a biology class in college.
He is having difficulty comprehending the reading
material because his textbooks contain many
unfamiliar words. He feels that college is difficult
enough without all of those new unfamiliar words.
What tips can you give to Sal to increase
comprehension of unfamiliar words in his college
This week you will choose a sentence based on the first letter of your last name.
Then answer the questions that follow the sentences.
1. What does the italicized (underlined) term mean?
2. What method did you use to find the meaning of the word, for example, did you
use context clues, synonyms, antonyms, or word parts?
3. Use the word in a sentence of your own. Your sentence can be creative and
humorous, as long as it is appropriate for our classroom Discussion Board.
(Optional) Just for fun…
Many sites such as the NY Times have “Word of the Day” activities. Click on the
following link:
Write a sentence using your new word. Include this sentence in your discussion so
that we may try to guess what its meaning is.
Read: Chapter 2, pp. 47-104 in the text, The Effective Reader
MRL Vocabulary Practice Test: Graded
MRL Vocabulary Practice Exercises: Not Graded
Seminar: Option 1 or Option 2
Discussion: Identify an unknown word; discuss the method you used to find its