I've found that the easiest way to get my students to start thinking about context clues is to give them some explicit "clue words" to look for around a word they might not know. I've created four lessons around this idea, for four different kinds of context clue words: words that give the definition, synonyms, antonyms, and examples.
My students routinely LOVE this lesson. We usually start off with this video as a hook:
We talk about what detectives do and look for, then I pass out my students' magnifying glasses for the day and start to practice looking for "clues" in what we read. I try to do this unit towards the beginning of the year and it is one of the most memorable units we do- I still have students raising their hand and telling me every time they see the clue word "for example".
You can download my context clues units at my TpT store (or click on any of the pictures to be redirected there).
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