The purpose of the activity
To use context clues in a sentence, paragraph or whole text to work out the meaning of unknown words and to read actively for meaning.
The learners are given a text with some words deleted and asked to fill in the gaps. In this type of cloze procedure, subject-specific words are not deleted because the focus is on deleting words that contribute to the general meaning or structure of the text.
The teaching points
Using various text clues to identify the missing words and understand text. For example, learners:
recall the words they know already in a sentence and use them to help work out the missing words
think creatively to predict meaning as they read
critically analyse the usefulness of clues in the paragraph (for example, signal words such as whereas and connectives such as because or looking for the word to which a pronoun refers) to help them understand the links between sentences
notice text-structure clues, such as headings, subheadings and visuals.
Placing grammatically correct words in the spaces.
A text with appropriate words deleted.
The guided teaching and learning sequence
1. Choose an appropriate text similar to one the learners will use and delete a variety of words that are not subject-specific, making sure there are clues in the text for each missing word.
Delete at least one word that signals the order of ideas – for example, because, secondly or subsequently.
2. I nclude among the deleted words some for which there are several alternatives, because this will promote discussion.
3. Give each learner a copy of the prepared text and discuss the sort of clues they could use to identify the deleted words.
4. The learners work on their own, writing one word in each gap in their copy of the prepared text. They could highlight the ‘clue’ in the text.
5. Have the learners move into pairs or small mixed groups to discuss their responses and to decide which alternatives are better.
6. Ask the learners to discuss the various responses as a whole group, comparing possible alternatives and explaining what clues they used to work out a missing word.
Use a cloze procedure with subject-specific words deleted.
Use a cloze procedure with every -nth word (for example, seventh) deleted, irrespective of its grammatical function.
Make a paragraph cloze where a whole paragraph is omitted from a series of paragraphs (as shown in the diagram below). This activity, which helps the learners to work with coherent text, can be used as both a writing and vocabulary strategy. In order to complete a paragraph cloze, the learners must have previously read the whole text.
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