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Predicting and defining new words

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin
Predicting and defining new words (PDF, 29 KB)

The purpose of the activity

In this activity, the learners predict and define key words they think will be in a text they have previewed (for example, by skimming and scanning). The purpose of the activity is to raise the learners’ awareness of key words and to encourage them to think about their understanding of what these words mean.

The activity also helps the learners predict what they are going to read and supports them in identifying the purpose for reading.

They then read the text, identify any key words that they did not predict and go on to discuss definitions of these words. If necessary, they then revise their existing definitions in the light of their reading of the text.

The teaching points

  • Previewing strategies to predict what is in the text.
  • Identifying key words used.
  • Using the context clues to construct appropriate definitions.
  • Evaluating definitions.


  • Chart as described below.

The guided teaching and learning sequence

1. Prepare a chart and write three key words from the text in the first column.

2. Ask the learners to:

  • preview the text and predict three further key words they think will be in the text
  • skim-read the headings and write their definitions of the six predicted key words (three from the tutor and three of their own)
  • read the text, ticking off any words predicted by them or the tutor as they encounter these words in the text adding these to the chart
  • list unpredicted key words that occur in the text
  • review their own definitions of the key words and redefine them if necessary
  • discuss and define the predicted key words.

3. Return to the text or use another resource (for example, a dictionary of words in the specific subject area) to find and copy experts’ definitions of the key words.

Image of table for word definitions.


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