How do we 'look around' the word for clues to meaning?

Clarifying is a monitoring skill that ensures a reader notices when something does not make sense and tries to resolve the issue. It is one of the four skills taught in reciprocal reading (Palincsar and Brown 1986): predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. It may be words that need clarifying in a text but it can also be a sentence, paragraph or more.

Research (Clay, 2013¹) tells us that if readers cannot understand 10% of the words in a text, they lose meaning. These ‘unknown’ words interrupt a reader’s fluency and as a result meaning breaks down with the reader not able to make the links between parts of the text and ideas.

Read the text below:

“After pages of thrasonical twaddle sprinkled with fawning photos, charts and esoteric columns of numbers I learned only of the flawless perfection of the university… “ — Peter B. Fletcher, Ann Arbor (Michigan) News, December 16, 2003

What do you think ‘thrasonical’ might mean? Don’t look it up yet. What clues did you use in the text?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


References
  1. Clay, M. (2013) An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, Third Edition Heinemann Educational Books, revised edition

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Teaching Vocabulary

Babcock Education