Here a clue, there a clue, everywhere are context clues. “What is this sentence saying, Mom? I don’t understand what the story is talking about. I don’t know what this word means, Mom.” Have you heard this before?
Sometimes kids have problems figuring out hard or unexpected words in their reading. The first thing we do is either tell the meaning (lost opportunity for them), or tell them to look the word up. Looking the word up can be boring and a drag to many kids…very schoolish, isn't it? Understanding context clues is as vital to reading comprehension as is spelling and vocabulary.
Do your kids get tired of playing the same old spelling games over and over? If you marry context clues with spelling or vocabulary practice, you will have a whole new game for them to play. And we all know playing games is more fun than just looking up a word in a dictionary, plus, retention is much higher. Give online games a shot.
Your kids can practice using context clues to identify spelling and vocabulary words as they improve their reading comprehension. Sometimes kids have to dig a little deeper to understand what an author is saying. If they become more aware of the words around the difficult words they encounter in their reading, they will save themselves (and you) many trips to the dictionary. Your goal is to teach them how to find answers on their own, and their goal is to make very good logical guesses about the meanings of many different words.
If you or your kids need a little more background on context clues, this site does a great job explaining things.