Reading Context Clues Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Reading Context Clues

In this lesson, you'll discover that authors give clues in the text to help you understand what you read. You just have to be a word detective and find them!

SOMETIMES AUTHORS NEEDor want to use words they know will be unknown by their readers. So authors slip in other words or phrases to help readers figure out the unknown ones. Authors may define the word, give examples of similar things, or restate the idea to make it clearer. And authors may put the clues in the text itself or in nearby pictures. Readers use these context clues to make good guesses about what unknown words mean.


He played the harpsichord, a piano-like musical instrument.


The largest group is arthropods, like spiders, insects, and lobsters.

Restate to clarify

She ran to the escarpment. Could she climb down the steep hill in time to escape?

Sometimes an author just wants readers to understand the context of a word, not necessarily the exact meaning.

Dan was surprised that he hadn't won the election. "That's implausible!" he whined.

Now you may not know exactly what implausible means, but you can get the idea that it's not good because Dan whines, so he's not happily surprised! (Implausible means unbelievable.)

Look for all kinds of context clues to help you as you read.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Reading Context Clues Practice Exercises

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