Strategies for working out an unknown word

Strategies for working out an unknown word

As external exams become a larger part of the Queensland senior school experience, it is vital teachers prepare students to be able to work out the meaning of an unfamiliar word without consulting a dictionary or a mobile phone.

In this video, Pat Hipwell discusses strategies for working out unknown words.


In an external exam, it's quite common that students will come across a word with which they are unfamiliar. So I think it's key that we teach students some strategies for working out the meaning of words when they haven't got access to a dictionary, or today a mobile phone, and there are several found in Hooking Students Into Learning.

They do take a bit of teaching. They take a bit of time to teach and for students to become confident using them but hopefully by the time they sit in an external exam they come across a word that they haven't seen before they've got some means of attacking that word.

The two ways in which you do it is you look inside the word - that might involve looking for Greek Latin roots prefixes suffixes and so on - and you look around the word.

Now that's the context or the part of the information where the word is to be found. 

So teaching the students these strategies for working out the meaning of unknown words does take a bit of time and a bit of effort, but certainly, in the long term, it's very worthwhile for them to be able to do this.



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Strategies for working out an unknown word