The Power of Definition Clues

Definition Clues is an extremely powerful technique used to help solidify the mastery of new reading words. It is not only a high octane approach to learning to read but is simply lots of fun to use!

Use Definition Clues with the Friday Test or Classroom List
When used by a classroom teacher, the ReadingKey Program teaches a new set of reading vocabulary words to students each week.  These words have been identified as important and relevant reading words for that grade level.   At the end of each week, teachers pass out the "Friday Reading Test" to determine student mastery of the words.  The challenge with any reading test is to find a quick and easy way to assess student knowledge of the words.  The only way to do this effectively would be to sit down with each student individually and have them read the words.  Since this takes time, you can use Definition Clues to accomplish the same thing.

How Definition Clues Work
Let's say you have a list of 7 words (jump - fun - run - thumb - crumb - sun - nut) and you want to quickly determine if every student in your class can read those words.  Definition Clues to the rescue!  Rather than just call out the words (which really doesn't test true reading since students can use phonics to figure out the word) - use a definition clue.  For example, say to your students -

All right class listen up!
Which word describes something you would do on a trampoline?

The answer to this question would be - "jump."  For the student to answer this question they have only one option: They must read through all the words to find the answer.  Phonics won't help at all.  Think about what else this is doing.  Since they are reading through all the list words repeatedly, they are getting even more practice with reading the words, thereby, further helping with word memorization.  Definition clues can also be antonyms or synonyms:

Which word is the opposite of - unpleasant?

The answer of course is "fun."  - Again, the whole purpose is to generate more concentration and attention from the students for maximizing learning efficiency - and Definition Clues do this very well!

Happy Reading!