Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a great new skill--just not quite correctly carried out

When one comes across a word that is unfamiliar, there is always the option to look it up in a dictionary to learn the definition (or go to dictionary.com, in this modern world). But sometimes one can figure out the meaning of the word based on how its used in a sentence. This skill is called using "context clues", and it's an important one taught in school.

Sarah tried to use context clues to discern the meaning of a word recently. Unfortunately, she didn't quite get it right. She came into the kitchen and stated, "Mommy, surviving is dying." Wondering how she had gotten so mixed up I said, "No, surviving means that you live."

"In the movie it means dying," she insisted.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"The movie Wall-E," she said.

Oh. Now I got it. There is a scene in the movie where the captain states, "I don't want to survive. I want to live!" As adults, we get his meaning; he didn't want survival, he wanted to enjoy his life to the utmost. But Sarah, trying to figure out the meaning of this word survive, came to a very logical (albeit incorrect) conclusion. If the character was contrasting surviving with living, then surviving must mean the opposite of living, right?

Wow. I was actually really impressed with how well she had applied the use of context clues--even if her result wasn't spot on.

Speaking of new skills, Natalie pulled herself up to standing today! She used the couch and actually remained standing for several minutes while clinging to the couch cushion. Both the girls keep growing up on me! What's the deal with that? ;)

2 comments:

Rodriguez family said...

Good try, Sarah! Victoria has been doing some risk-taking of her own lately with vocabulary - trying to use words we've read in books - often in the wrong context! But I love that she tries them out!

karen said...

Yeah, Sarah frequently uses these great big words--entirely wrong! It's hilarious! :)