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Context Clues Worksheets

When you encounter a vocabulary word with which you are unfamiliar, what do you do? Use the context clues to determine the word's meaning. In addition to the great context clues worksheets on this page, check out this free context clues game that I made. Students learn hundreds of challenging vocabulary words while playing a fun climbing game.

I used the context clues worksheets on this page to help my students in the classroom. I am sharing them with you in the hopes that they will help you as well. The words have been selected from texts recommended by Common Core. These context clues worksheets have been divided into three levels:

Context Clues Worksheets by Level

Level One

These are the easiest context clues worksheets. These worksheets were designed to help struggling students or students in lower grades. They were written to help students reading at a 3rd to 6th grade reading level. Be sure to preview all materials before using them in your classroom.

Context Clues Worksheet 1.1
This level one context clues worksheet covers 12 words that may be challenging for beginning readers. Students determine each words meaning based on context and then explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.1. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.2
This level one context clues worksheet features twelve more context clues problems for students with beginning reading skills.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.2. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.3
Here are twelve more level one vocabulary words used in context rich sentences. Students will determine the meaning of the word based on its use and explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.3. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.4
Here is another double-sided context clues worksheet. This one has twelve more level one vocabulary words. Remember, level one is the easiest. Check out level 2 or 3 if this worksheet is too easy.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.4. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.5
Here's another double-sided worksheet to give your students more practice with context clues. It features twelve level one vocabulary words. Students define the word based on how it was used in a sentence and then explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.5. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.6
Here is yet another context clues worksheet to help students master this essential reading skills. This worksheet has 12 level one vocabulary words. Students will determine the meaning of the bolded word in each sentence based on context. Then they will explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.6. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 1.7
This is the seventh level-one context clues worksheet. If you or your students can handle this task, perhaps it's time to move to level two. This worksheet features another 12 vocabulary words. Students read the sentences and figure out what the bold word means based on context. Then they explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 1.7. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Level Two

These worksheets were designed for students with intermediate reading and vocabulary skills. They are written for students reading at a 5th to 8th grade reading level.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.1
Here's the first level two content clues worksheet. Level 2 worksheets contain vocabulary and use sentence structures that are more difficult than level 1 context clues worksheets. This worksheet features 12 tricky vocabulary words used in context-rich sentences. Students figure out the meaning of each word based on use, then they explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.1. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.2
Here are twelve more moderately difficult problems. Students read each sentence and determine the meaning of the bold vocabulary words by using cross sentence clues.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.2. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.3
Here is another level-two context clues worksheet. It contains twelve problems with context rich sentences. Students use the cross sentence clues to determine the meaning of the bolded word and explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.3. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.4
Here is another double-sided context clues worksheet. This one has twelve more level one vocabulary words. Remember, level one is the easiest. Check out level 2 or 3 if this worksheet is too easy.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.4. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.5
Here is another level-two context clues worksheet. It has twelve problems to help you or your students master this essential reading skill. Read the problems. Figure out what the bold vocabulary word means based on the context of the sentence and then explain.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.5. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.6
This is the sixth context clues worksheet in level two. As with the other context clues worksheets, it is double-sided and contains twelve problems. Students will determine the meaning of the bolded word in each sentence based on context. Then they will explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.6. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 2.7
Here is the final level-two context clues worksheet. If you or your students can complete this one, perhaps it is time to move to level three. This worksheet is double-sided and contains twelve problems.Students read the sentences and figure out what the bold word means based on context. Then they explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 2.7. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

Level Three

These are the most difficult context clues worksheets. These were designed for students with advance reading and vocabulary skills. These worksheets may be appropriate for students reading at an 8th to 12th grade level.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.1
Here's the first level-three content clues worksheet. This worksheet features twelve challenging problems where students figure out the bold word's meaning based on the context of the sentence. Students also demonstrate higher order thinking skills by explaining their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.1. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.2
Here's another level-three content clues worksheet. This worksheet features twelve more challenging problems where students use cross-sentence clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words. Then they explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.2. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.3
Here is yet another level three context clues worksheet. It has 12 challenging vocabulary words in context rich sentences. Students will determine the meaning of bold vocabulary words based on the context of each sentence. Then they will explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.3. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.4
Here is still another level-three context clues worksheet. Level-three vocabulary sheets are the most challenging. This worksheet features 12 more challenging vocabulary words used in context-rich sentences. Students will identify the meaning of the bolded vocabulary word based on the cross sentence clues and explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.4. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.5
Just in case you didn't have enough practice with context clues, here is another double-sided worksheet. There are some real head scratchers on this one, but the context rich sentences will help you determine the meanings of the bolded words.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.5. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.6
Here's the first level-three content clues worksheet. This worksheet features twelve challenging problems where students figure out the bold word's meaning based on the context of the sentence. Students also demonstrate higher order thinking skills by explaining their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.6. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
Context Clues Worksheet 3.7
This is the seventh level-three context clues worksheet. Students who correctly complete this have mastered the skill of using context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary words. You should probably start assigning them some other reading work. This worksheet has twelve challenging problems. Students figure out the bold word's meaning based on the context of the sentence. They also explain their answers.
This is a preview image of Context Clues Worksheet 3.7. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

What are Context Clues?

Context clues are hints in the sentence that help good readers figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words. When we look at the "context" of a word, we look at how it is being used. Based on how these words are used, and on our knowledge of the other words in the sentence, we make an educated prediction as to what the challenging vocabulary word may mean.

Example of Using Context Clues

Examine these lines from Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky":

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

Jubjub, frumious, and Bandersnatch were NOT words before Carroll coined them. Yet readers are able to get meaning from them based on how the words are used. A reading of the whole poem is helpful way to introduce context clues to your students.

Free Context Clues Video Game

Context Clues Climber: Vocabulary Video Game
Are your students sick of vocabulary worksheets? Have them try this fun, high-interest computer game. Students climb to the tops of levels and answer over 500 vocabulary questions. They will be having so much fun, they won't even realize that they are studying vocabulary. Try it now!
This is a preview image of Context Clues Climber: Vocabulary Video Game. Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.
 
Leave a comment

143 Comments

  1. Marya

     /  April 7, 2013

    These sheets are amazing! They’re just what I would have made, except now I don’t have to. Thanks for giving me my Sunday.

    Reply
  2. Sarah

     /  April 3, 2013

    I really enjoy having an answer key to check myself. I don’t think I would need one on this activity. For some grammar activities, I am scared I will make a mistake and grade my students incorrectly.

    Reply
    • I understand that. Providing answers keys is something that I’ve struggled with in the past. I am getting better at it.

      Reply
  3. Sue L.

     /  March 14, 2013

    Thank you, thank you! I’m trying to help my students become independent readers, and your site has saved me precious teacher time!!

    Reply
  4. hahah .. i’m going to be a teacher! Yes!

    Reply
  5. Jasmine Lewis

     /  March 13, 2013

    The worksheets are extremely helpful. My students love them also. Sure answer sheets would have been nice but the creator of the sheets is nice enough to make them available for free so I won’t complain about answer sheets. It would have taken me twice as long if I would have had to create the sheets myself. Thanks again.

    Reply
  6. Mr Mac

     /  March 3, 2013

    Genius!
    Thank you.

    Who are these people wanting an answwer key? Get real! We have teachers like you at our school too. Shame on you!

    Reply
  7. carlos

     /  February 26, 2013

    Came just in time for my students to practice more on this type. They are great and thanks to you, my students are mastering it more in depth. You are GREAT!!!!

    Reply
  8. marj

     /  February 12, 2013

    Well said, Campbell. Let’s continue to uplift each other, not tear each other down.

    Reply
  9. Liz

     /  February 1, 2013

    Great tools for strengthening vocabulary! Thanks!!

    Reply
  10. Mrs. Hillis

     /  January 25, 2013

    Love all these wonderful sheets! Great for EOC review–God Bless You!

    Reply
  11. Campbell

     /  January 23, 2013

    I don’t think it’s the laziness giving teachers a bad rep as the rudness I just read. Our job is to work together for the benefit of our students, not rip into one another. I appreciate the resources, but not the degrading way we’ve spoken to one another. And we complain about our kids? Wow, how embarrasing to my profession.

    Reply
  12. Cecele Smythe

     /  January 5, 2013

    Thank you sooooo much i enjoy using your worksheets i use them for both adult and children. Thanks again . Kingston Jamaica

    Reply
  13. mikah

     /  December 20, 2012

    hi Sir, thank you. I am still a student and these worksheet is very useful to me because this really helps me a lot in doing my research.. God Bless!

    Reply
  14. Phil

     /  December 3, 2012

    Thanks for these. I plan to use some for EFL classes (with minor adaptation, as my students might not be familiar with N American English) but they look really useful. Thanks again.

    Reply
  15. Kate

     /  November 8, 2012

    Mr. Morton, Thank you so much for these worksheets! My students are little brainiacs now and I’ve been receiving multiple phone calls about the “new vocabulary words” they are using at home.

    Reply
    • I’m so pleased to hear it. I plan on adding some more worksheets to this section over the upcoming break. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  16. Anna Laurie Ezelle

     /  November 1, 2012

    I definitely appreciate the time you’ve put into this website. This site offers an abundance of relevant, challenging exercises for my middle school class. I thank you on behalf of myself and fellow 7th grade Language Arts teachers who use your resources regularly. The best site I’ve found in all of my scavenging the internet for tools to use in the classroom! Again, thank you so much!

    Reply
  17. Seme

     /  October 23, 2012

    Awesome worksheets.. Thank you vey much.

    Reply
  18. zaifeena

     /  October 18, 2012

    Thank you and bless you for being so kind in sharing these worksheets with everyone. Can’t wait to try it out with my students!

    Reply
  19. Joan

     /  September 19, 2012

    Thanks for the worksheet i have my son practice from them it help me too to brush up on my skills.

    Reply
  20. Laarni

     /  September 16, 2012

    i find the worksheets extremely helpful for us, teachers. I thank God for people like you who share the gift unselfishly. be more blessed!

    Reply
  21. Laarni

     /  September 16, 2012

    thank you so much for making things easy for me.

    Reply
  22. Outstanding resource. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your expertise. Very much obliged.

    Reply
  23. Thank you for sharing the effort you put into making these worksheets with other instructors. They are well done, helpful, and appreciated.

    Reply
  24. Rula

     /  August 28, 2012

    Thank you for sharing these useful excercises. I always refer to them and they are a great help for busy teachers . 🙂

    Reply
  25. Aletha Adderholt

     /  August 28, 2012

    Love the worksheets but yes answer keys would be awesome. I work 2-3 hours every night and countless hours on the weekend trying to get everything ready for my students. I also coach cheerleading, am the school spelling bee coordinator, and just trying to keep my head above water.
    Are there any worksheets for summarizing and revising?

    Reply
  26. Silvia

     /  August 18, 2012

    Hello and thank you for putting this material online. I agree, no one should necessitate an answer sheet for these; it would take longer to find it then it would to analyze the responses oneself. One suggestion – I reviewed Context Clues Worksheet 1.2 RTF and saw a couple of grammatical mistakes you might want to correct: “it’s” should be “its” and “broke” should be “broken”.

    Reply
    • Thanks Silvia. I fixed the errors.

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  December 3, 2012

        Also shouldn’t it be ‘led’ not ‘lead’ in the question ‘What clues in the sentence lead you to your definition?’ ?

        Reply
        • Well, Phil, I’m choosing the simple present tense, rather than the simple past form, because I want the thinking to be occurring in the present. Feel free to amend the tense of the verbs if they don’t feel natural to you.

          Reply
  27. Victoria

     /  August 15, 2012

    THIS is what I’ve been looking for. Exactly what I needed! Just when I was struggling to come up with my very own worksheets I wanted to create for my little learner I come across these treasures! Thank you!

    Reply
  28. Christine

     /  July 19, 2012

    Thank you for these worksheets! These are MUCH better than the workbooks I find at bookstores. These worksheets really help the students to think actively and develop reading strategies.

    Reply
  29. James Martin

     /  July 18, 2012

    No such thing as a “lazy” teacher. I work my backside off for very little in return, and very little time to spare AND WOULDN’T CHANGE MY JOB FOR THE WORLD. If someone offers me an answer sheet I will take it! How dare you say “shouldn’t be a teacher then”. A flippant, pretentious comment. As a teacher YOU should know better than to make snap judgements. Your poor students, good luck to them.

    Reply
  30. apinya

     /  July 13, 2012

    good examples & exercises. many thanks.

    Reply
  31. Thank you very much… so great a help for teachers….

    Reply
  32. Cynthia

     /  May 14, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your hard work with us. I use your handouts all the time in my GED class and they are great. The students love them.

    Reply
  33. Where is the answer key?

    Reply
  34. Pam

     /  April 29, 2012

    Thanks SO very much. I downloaded ALL levels for my 6th graders thinking that I can use them with the different level readers in the classroom. I’ll be back! Wish you all the best.

    Reply
  35. Maggie Warner

     /  April 27, 2012

    REALLY great resources! THANKS!

    Reply
  36. Thea

     /  March 30, 2012

    Thank you — this set was just what I was looking for to add practice for my little darlings who did not demonstrate mastery on our last little test.

    Reply
  37. Mary C

     /  March 27, 2012

    I love this site. I am using it as review for my daughter and it has really helped her in the areas in which she was struggling. We used the genre reveiw today and she finally can distinguish between science fiction and fantasy. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • That’s great. Some people just lump those together: science fiction / fantasy. The study of literary genres is less than exact. In any case, I appreciate your visits and it sounds like you are doing a fine job over there. Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  38. Kanani

     /  March 19, 2012

    You took a little bit of the the pain out lesson planning. I teach a supplementary English Lab class… and have had to find my own curriculum (at the last minute)…

    I just love you. I would give you a big kiss. Are you married? *wink wink* just kidding 🙂

    Reply
  39. Lisa

     /  March 12, 2012

    Thank You!

    Reply
  40. MJ

     /  March 6, 2012

    Will you be creating any worksheets or powerpoint for making generalizations? Your work is extremely helpful. Thanks.

    Reply
  41. Mel C.

     /  March 5, 2012

    Just stumbled on this website and am very glad to see the poetry worksheets. . . my school’s adoption does not provide such practice. Thanks!

    Reply
  42. rebeccastacy

     /  March 2, 2012

    Love the worksheets. Great tools for the classroom!

    Reply
  43. kim

     /  February 27, 2012

    Thank you so much. I was looking for more samples of text structure for my students. Your PPT and practice Paragraphs were spot on perfect. Again thanks. My students will be taking their state assessment online next year, so I am transitioning to more online reading passages to prepare them for a new way of work.

    Reply
  44. Ms. Williams

     /  February 22, 2012

    Thanks for making these worksheets available. I appreciate the time and effort.

    Reply
    • I’m so happy to hear it. I have some more of these that I will be adding soon. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
      • Cynthia

         /  May 14, 2012

        Yes, thank you so much for this site! I use your handouts all the time and they really help my adult students. (GED). Thank you for all of your hard work.

        Reply
  45. Antonia Frawley

     /  February 22, 2012

    These worksheets are so helpful! I teach GED and developmental studies classes at a technical college. Getting meaning from context is an area in which many of my adults struggle. I model using context clues to find meaning, so the lack of an answer key is no issue for us. We have dictionaries handy, but have not needed them so far. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your hard work in establishing such a wonderful site!

    Reply
  46. Sean B

     /  February 14, 2012

    If you can’t make your own answer key for this you shouldn’t be a teacher. Thanks for the worksheets mate.

    Reply
    • Mrs. G

       /  June 13, 2012

      AMEN! I get so tired of teachers being lazy! The lazy ones give ALL of us a bad name!

      Thank you!!

      Reply
    • Juwariyah

       /  June 29, 2012

      If you are a teacher then you should know that many teachers like answer keys because WE are already super busy, its just a time saver. I think that was wrong for you to say what you said… If you’re a teacher then you’d know that and understand the need for it for some!

      Reply
      • Phil

         /  December 3, 2012

        Writing your own answer sheets doesn’t need to be a time-absorbing activity. You should make an answer sheet while planning your lesson, and this will give you some idea of how long it will take your students to complete the task, and also alert you to questions students might ask.

        Reply
        • Dwight

           /  January 28, 2013

          you’re a teacher; shouldn’t you know the definitions by now?

          Excellent Resource!!

          Reply
  47. Teresa

     /  February 13, 2012

    Are there answer keys for the context clues activities?

    Reply
  48. Amanda

     /  February 6, 2012

    Rude much, Morton?

    Reply
  49. Ann Finch

     /  January 30, 2012

    Great higher level worksheets. Where are the answer keys for the teachers? Thank you.

    Reply
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