From KRP’s What’s in a Word NIE supplement from the NIE Institute.
In reading, you sometimes come across words you haven’t seen before. Take the following sentence as an example: The sequins on her dress scintillated under the ballroom’s glittering lights. You may be able to guess at the meaning of “scintillated” from the context, the words that surround it. In this sentence, the dress has sequins, which are shining things. The setting is a ballroom with bright lights. What does a shiny thing do when exposed to lights? It gives off flashes of reflected light. So “scintillated” means “sparkled.” Guessing meaning from clues in the context is a little bit like playing detective.
Use the following sentences for practice before tackling the newspaper activity listed at the end of the blog. Decide what you think each italicized, boldedword means, then on a piece of paper write down the meaning.
1. His flowery praise was so effusive that she wondered how sincere it was.
2. Because of her finesse as a dancer, every move looked easy. 3. He was soon lost in the winding, labyrinthine hallways.
4. Only the best students can hope to matriculate at colleges with high standards.
5. They couldn’t understand why the noisy child was suddenly quiescent until they found she had fallen asleep.
6. Stand off, thou foul and deceitful rapscallion!
ACTIVITY – Skim the front page of your newspaper, looking for unfamiliar words. As a class, list all the words you find on the blackboard. Then go back and see if you can guess what each word means by clues in the context.
I just talked to Paulette Tobin, the Arts & Entertainment Reporter at the Herald. She is trying to find a home for her piano. It’s free, you just have to pick it up. Email her at email@example.com. Here is the link to her blog, if you want to see photos and additional information www.areavoices.com/popculture/