Illustration: How Context Clues Work

One technique for learning about students’ reading comprehension also provides a way for a paraprofessional or teacher to help a student use context clues to figure out the meaning of a passage. The technique is known as the “Cloze procedure.” It involves selecting a reading passage and omitting every fifth or sixth word, replacing that word with a blank space. Then the student reads the passage and tells the paraprofessional or teacher what word should be placed in the blank. As a teaching technique some reading teachers and tutors give students a list of words to choose from in filling in the missing word in each blank. The two examples below show use the same passage to show the different approaches to using the Cloze procedure.

Example 1

Although the sky was filled _____ threatening clouds, the rain had not yet _____. Swimmers were gathering their _____ quickly and running toward the _____ or toward their cars. Some _____were lagging behind, hoping to _____ a few more minutes to _____ sand castles or to _____ a few more shells. Parents ____ waving and telling them to _____ up. Thunderstorms at the _____ were not something to _____. The parents were right to _____ cautious, even though it would _____ the children.

Example 2

Although the sky was filled [by, with, above, into] threatening clouds, the rain had not yet [started, stopped, splashed, fallen]. Swimmers were gathering their [clothes, toys, friends, belongings] quickly and running toward the [beach, ocean, cabana, umbrellas] or toward their cars. Some [children, adults, helpers, guards] were lagging behind, hoping to [see, run, win, get] a few more minutes to [build, uncover, clean, examine] sand castles or to [locate, gather, invent, draw] a few more shells. Parents [are, stopped, start, were] waving and telling them to [clean, hurry, straighten, scoop] up. Thunderstorms at the [lake, river, farm, ocean] were not something to [ignore, avoid, see, happen]. The parents were right to be cautious, even though it would [stop, frighten, disappoint, delight] the children.