Teaching context clues can be tricky with first and second graders. I personally love to use a mentor text to help students with understanding different reading comprehension skills. I’ve compiled a list of 7 pictures books for teaching context clues.
#1: Baloney (Henry P.)
This text, Baloney (Henry P.) is my favorite for teaching context clues. I typically use this book on the first day as the introductory lesson during reader’s workshop. In the book, Henry tells a very tall tale about why he is late for school again. What is fun about this book is there are 20 different Earth languages included. Students will have to use their schema to determine these unknown words.
#2: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a fun read! It is about a donkey who finds a magic pebble and then turns into a rock! It has a lot of unknown vocabulary for students to listen to and use the context clues to figure out. Some of the words include: fetlock, extraordinary, remarkable, ceased, etc. This book has so many words to discuss and determine that you could split it into a two day lesson with your students.
#3: Word Collector
The Word Collector is about a boy, Jerome, who collects words. Each page shows the different ways he finds these words and also the words he is collecting. This is a fun read to show students that they can find unknown words everywhere!
#4: The Spider and the Fly
The Spider and the Fly has interesting illustrations and lots of great vocabulary for students to use context clues. Some of the words include appetite, cunning, parlor, etc. Your students will definitely enjoy this tale.
This text, Pinduli, is about a hyena who just wants to disappear. Not only are the illustrations beautiful, but the text is filled with full vocabulary. Some words to use are: waterhole, erupted, trotted, exquisite, etc.
#6: Thank You, Mr. Falker
Truthfully, I think you could choose any text by Patricia Polacco to use for teaching context clues. All of her books are filled with such rich vocabulary. This book is about Trisha, who could paint and draw beautifully, but had a difficult time with reading and writing. However, she had one very special teacher who helped her and recognized her dyslexia.
#7: The Boy Who Loved Words
In The Boy Who Loved Words, Selig collects words and helps a poet come up with the perfect words for a poem. Then, Selig helps others learn new words. Students will enjoy learning new words from Selig in this book.
Try Our Context Clues Reading Unit
I hope you will add these picture books for teaching context clues to your reading lessons this week! You can also teach context clues to your first or second grade students with this complete reading unit. This reading unit contains everything you could need for teaching context clues to your first or second graders. There is a contest clue sort, reading passages, reading centers, small group work, an airplane craft, and more!
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