context clues Archives - Lexercise

How NOT to Teach Reading: Context Clues

I Guess Not!

Part Ten of a 12-part video series showing the flaws of common word reading strategies taught in schools– Moral: Do not teach struggling readers to guess!


Context CluesSkippy Frog

This strategy encourages a child to skip reading an unknown word and guess at it, based on context. A child is told to keep reading the sentence and, at the end, go back and guess what the unknown word might be. This approach not only encourages guessing, which research has shown rarely results in the child saying the correct word, but is also bound to disrupt fluency since the sentence has to be read and then re-read.

Rather than using context to guess at words, in Structured Literacy readers are encouraged to decode unfamiliar words. The reader’s mental resources can then be freed to use context to comprehend shades of meaning and to make inferences.