EOC TUTORIAL
The Reading Process
Lesson 1 – Vocabulary
Twelve Tips
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
If you are like most people, the words you
see in your everyday reading fall into the
following three categories:
1. Words you know well and use often.
2. Words you sort of know, but rarely
use.
3. Words you have no clue about and
never use.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
You can’t be expected to know all the
words in the English language, but you
should have a plan to try to figure words
out if you need to. That is when CONTEXT
CLUES will help. The text that surrounds a
word will usually give you a hint to the
meaning of the unknown word. Here are
some Twelve Tips to help with context
clues…
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 1: Look for words or phrases with meanings
similar to that of the unknown word.
Synonyms are words that have similar meanings.
EXAMPLE:
Lily suspected Mr. House of knavery, though at
that point she had not yet seen any actual
evidence of mischief.
What words in the sentence give clues to the
meaning of knavery?
If you said mischief you would be correct. This
hints that knavery might have something to do
with getting in trouble or being secretive in some
way.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
So with that in mind, answer the following
question…
What is the meaning of the word knavery as
it is used in the sentence?
A. honesty
B. trickery
C. nobility
D. visibility
The correct answer is B – trickery!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 2: Look for hints about the opposite meaning of
the unknown word.
Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of
the unknown word.
EXAMPLE:
Carlita finally understood Pavel’s sadness when they
reached the pond of his parents’ old estate outside of
Cape Fear. The limpid pool of his childhood was now
clouded with mud and weeds.
What words describe how the pool looks now?
If you said clouded, mud, and weeds you are correct.
What would be the opposite of those words?
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
So with that in mind, answer the following
question…
What is the meaning of the word limpid as it is
used in the sentence?
A. shallow
B. cold
C. wavy
D. clear
The correct answer is D – clear!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 3: Look for causes and effects related to
the unknown word.
Cause-and-effect relationships can sometimes
give clues to the meaning of an unknown word.
EXAMPLE:
As the astringent liquid dried out my tongue and
puckered my lips, I thought, “This isn’t
lemonade—it’s pure lemon juice!”
What aspect of the liquid would make your
tongue dry out and your lips pucker?
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
With that in mind, answer the following
question…
What is the meaning of the word astringent as it
is used in the sentence?
A. wet
B. fruity
C. sour
D. yellow
The correct answer is C – sour. That would make
your lips pucker!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 4: Look for hints that the unknown word fits into
a category.
Sometimes the unknown word might be paired or listed
with other words that fit in a particular category. If you
can figure out the category, you might be able to make an
approximate guess at the meaning of the word.
EXAMPLE:
All along the shore, if you keep still and quiet, you can
watch seagulls, phalaropes, cranes, and the odd lost duck.
What do seagulls, phalaropes, cranes, and ducks all have
in common?
If you said they all fly, you would be correct!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now, answer the following question…
What is a phalarope?
A. a type of bird
B. a type of shell
C. a type of fish
D. a type of sand
The correct answer is A – a type of bird. They
all fly!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 5: Look for descriptions that hint at the meaning of
the unknown word.
The author might include details and descriptions in the
nearby text that will help you figure out the meaning of an
unknown word.
EXAMPLE:
Bjourn, the Icelandic exchange student, was unaccustomed to
the Missouri heat and spent the hottest part of the day
recumbent in the living room, stretched out on the couch in
the breeze of the old fan.
What details and descriptions may hint at the meaning of the
word?
If you said “stretched out on the couch,” you would be
correct!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now answer the following question…
What is the meaning of the word recumbent as it
is used in the sentence?
A. walking
B. reclining
C. watching
D. thinking
The correct answer is B – reclining. He was
stretched out on the couch!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 6: Consider the tone and setting of the selection.
The tone shows the author’s feelings toward a subject.
The tone can usually be described as positive or negative.
The setting is where and when the selection takes place.
EXAMPLE:
As Farley left the courtroom, free to hug his father and
sisters for the first time in months, he stopped to thank
Detective Chapel. The exculpatory evidence would not
have been found without the detective’s hard work and
belief in his innocence.
Where do the events in this selection take place?
If you said in a courtroom, you would be correct!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
With that in mind, answer the following two questions…
Which of the following best describes the tone of the
selection?
A. suspenseful
B. joyful
C. worried
D. sad
The correct answer is B – joyful. Farley is free to hug his
family and is thanking the detective, so the general tone
is a happy one.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
As Farley left the courtroom, free to hug his father and
sisters for the first time in months, he stopped to thank
Detective Chapel. The exculpatory evidence would not have
been found without her hard work and belief in his innocence.
What is the meaning of the word exculpatory as it is used in
the selection?
A. clearing someone of guilt or blame
B. showing the location of a witness
C. indicating involvement with a group
D. proving that a crime occurred
The correct answer is A – clearing someone of guilt or blame.
Since Farley is free for the first time in months, evidence
must have proved his innocence!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 7: “Plug in” the answer choices.
If you still can’t figure out the word’s meaning, try
plugging in all the answer choices to see which one fits
the best.
EXAMPLE:
In 1908, a meteorite entered the atmosphere over
Siberia, broke up into pieces, and hit the ground near the
Tunguska River. The crash flattened the forest for
hundreds of miles and sent shock waves through the air
all around the world. Subsequent studies have turned up
bits of melted rock from the meteorite.
Now try the plug in technique on the following question…
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
What is the meaning of the word subsequent as it is used in
the selection?
A. false
B. often
C. later
D. earlier
Plug in the answer choices:
A. False studies have turned up bits of melted rock from the
meteorite.
B. Often studies have turned up bits of melted rock from the
meteorite.
C. Later studies have turned up bits of melted rock from the
meteorite.
D. Earlier studies have turned up bits of melted rock from
the meteorite.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
You probably noticed that some of these choices don’t
make sense in this sentence. Eliminate those choices and
take your best guess from what’s left.
The correct answer is C – later!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 8: Use context clues to understand figurative language
and technical vocabulary.
Figurative language goes beyond the dictionary meanings of
words. It isn’t meant to be taken literally. Here are a few
common types:
- Simile – a comparison of two ideas using like or as. (quick as
a bunny)
- Metaphor – a comparison in which one idea is said or implied
to be another. (the swollen sun)
- Personification – giving human qualities to an inanimate
object (the laughing moon)
- Pun – the humorous use of a word in which more than one
meaning is intended. (The orthodontist said, “brace
yourself!”)
- Idiom – a phrase not meant to be taken literally. (straight
from the horse’s mouth)
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Read the passage and answer the following questions…
Paul was a dark horse at the cross-country meet. It was his first race
and his first year on the team, yet he finished in first place.
What clues point to the meaning of “dark horse”?
If you said first race, first year on the team, and finished first place,
then you are correct!
What is the meaning of the phrase “dark horse” as it is used in the
selection?
A. a fast and experienced champion
B. a loner rather than a team player
C. an unenthusiastic and slow athlete
D. an unexpectedly successful participant
The correct answer is D – an unexpectedly successful participant. The
clues telling us that this was his first time being involved in a meet
helped us find the correct answer!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
You can also use vocabulary strategies to help you figure
out the meanings of technical vocabulary, or words that
are used in a particular field of work.
EXAMPLE:
Step 2: Check for injury. After removing any footwear,
look for damage to the metatarsal by gently pressing
between the toes and ankle.
What clues point to the meaning of the word metatarsal?
If you said remove footwear and pressing between toes
and ankle, then you are correct!!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now answer the following question…
What is the metatarsal?
A. part of the leg
B. part of the foot
C. part of the fingers
D. part of a shoe
The correct answer is B – part of the foot!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 9: Consider both the denotation and the
connotation of the word.
Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word.
Connotation is the emotional impact of a word
beyond its basic definition. Pay close attention to
the tone of the sentence in which the word appears.
EXAMPLE:
A smile slowly spread across Joey’s face. He knew
from the scent drifting up to his room from the
kitchen that his mom was baking pumpkin pie.
Is the tone of the sentence positive or negative?
If you said positive, you are correct! Joey smiled
when he smelled the pie.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now answer the following question…
What is the meaning of the word scent as it is
used in the sentence?
A. bitter smell
B. foul smell
C. burnt smell
D. sweet smell
The correct answer is D – sweet smell. Joey
smiled when he smelled something good!!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 10: Look out for multiple-meaning words.
Some words can have several meanings that are
completely different from one another.
EXAMPLE:
Mama and I continued to talk, though she hardly
looked up at me as she dredged each piece of
chicken with flour before dropping it into the
skillet.
How many different meanings can you think of
for the word dredged?
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now answer the following question…
Which of the following meanings of dredged
describes the word as it is used in the sentence?
A. made visible
B. sprinkled or coated
C. dug or pulled out
D. made slightly deeper
The correct answer is B – sprinkled or coated!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 11: Look out for words that sound alike but
have different meanings.
Two words can sound alike but be spelled differently
and have very different meanings.
EXAMPLE:
• Margaret was often complimented for her
beautiful yellow sweater.
• Margaret usually complemented her sweater with a
brown silk scarf.
• The word complimented (with an i) means “praised,
congratulated, or approved of.
• The word complemented (with an e) means
completed, made whole, or added to.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Look-alikes and Sound-alikes:
Homograph (same writing) – two or more words that
are spelled alike but have different meanings or
pronunciations (desert – a dry, barren region/desert –
to leave, go away from, abandon)
Homophone (same sound) – two or more words that
are pronounced alike but have different meanings and
spellings (their – possessive pronoun)/there –
indicating location/they’re – contraction of they are)
OR (desert to leave, go away from, abandon/dessert –
a sweet treat after a meal)
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now you try one…
Which sentence uses the word fare correctly?
A. The weather calls for clear skies and fare winds.
B. Kari feels that her parents are not being fare.
C. Mr. Robinson plans to attend the state fare.
D. To ride the city bus, you must have the exact
fare.
The correct answer is D. Fare, used in this sentence,
means the amount of money you have to pay to ride
city transit.
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
TIP 12: Learn common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
Words have families, based on their parts. Learning some
common word parts will give you insight into other words
of the same family.
Begin at the Beginning – A prefix is a word part that is
added to the beginning of a root word in order to make a
new word.
Get to the Root – A root word is the base word.
At the End of it All – A suffix is added to the end of a
root word in order to change its meaning.
Refer to your charts to learn common prefixes, suffixes,
and root words. Try to memorize as many as you can!
Lesson 1 - Vocabulary
Now read the following passage:
“The Space Race: From Competition to Cooperation”
Try these strategies while reading the passage:
• Highlight all words in bold
• Circle context clues that help you decide what the word
means
• Make notes in the margin about what you think the word
means
Try these strategies while answering the questions:
• Read each question carefully
• Cross out wrong choices
• Remember the Twelve Tips when choosing your answer
GOOD LUCK!!
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EOC TUTORIAL