Practitioner's Shortcuts: Cloze Exercise

Practitioner's Shortcuts: Cloze Exercise

Emily Robinson Leclair, Community Learning Network

1 2 11 December 2018

As CALP staff, you are extraordinary multitaskers. You never know who is going to walk through your door and what they might need. As a result, it is nice to have things in your back pocket that work with a variety of learners in any of the five literacy and foundational learning categories, across each of the modes of delivery with little to minimal preparation. This is the first of a series of blog posts highlighting instructional strategies that do just that. Let’s call them Practitioner’s Shortcuts.

As this year comes to a cloze (spelling intended) I thought it would be fun to highlight one of my favourite instructional strategies. Cloze is a fancy term for fill in the blank. Let me show you:

The Literacy & Learning Symposium is hosted by the Community ___________ Network with support from the Government of ___________. This annual province-wide professional development symposium focuses on building expertise in community-based adult ____________ and   ________________learning.

Save the dates for next year’s Symposium: ______________ 24th - 27th, 2019 in _____________, Alberta!
To make this easier, I could provide you with a word bank:

September literacy Edmonton Learning  foundational Alberta

The options for creating cloze exercises are endless. You might choose to remove words randomly like I did above or you could be more intentional about creating your fillable blanks. You can use this strategy to build vocabulary, practise prediction or focus on a part of speech.

We can also try it with numbers instead of words:

1 in ____ adult Albertans face daily literacy and numeracy challenges.

Advanced Education allocates more than _____ million annually to approximately ________ organizations that focus on delivering literacy, numeracy, basic digital skills, foundational life skills, and/or English language learning.

In 2016/17, __________ unique adult learners participated in nearly _________ learning opportunities and teachers and volunteers dedicated nearly ______________ instructional hours to literacy and foundational learning programs in Alberta.

100 130,000 21,000 $17.5 1,100 5

Retrieved from Community Adult Learning Program Overview 

I think cloze activities are a great way to incorporate authentic literacy materials into your programs. All you need is a pair of scissors, white out or the delete key on your keyboard. Extension activities like cloze allow you to use the same materials repeatedly while adding complexity. That's a great way to help learners build skill mastery.

For more explanations and samples of cloze exercises check out these resources on the CALP Portal:

Creating Learning Partners Unit 6: Reading Handout 6.4 includes a sample cloze exercise and Handout 6.5 Creating Cloze Texts explains the procedure

Tutor Tools  Pages 15 & 16 provide an explanation and two examples of cloze exercises including one using the Language Experience Approach

In addition to cloze or fill in the blank, you may have referred to these activities as Mad Libs. Regardless of what you call them, I suspect many of you are already using these activities with your learners. Feel free to share how, when and why you like them in the comments below.

Emily Robinson Leclair, CLN
South Regional Support Staff


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