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Introduce Vocabulary: Doctor DeSoto (Steig)

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Lesson Type: Introduce
Grade: K, 1, 2, 3
Group Size: Small Group, Whole Class
Length: 20 minutes
Goal: After listening to a fiction read-aloud, students will know the meaning of three Tier Two vocabulary words.

Materials: Doctor DeSoto (Steig), board or chart paper

What to Do


Select three Tier Two vocabulary words to teach your students. A list of suggested words appears below. Write the vocabulary words on the board or on chart paper.


1. Introduce the story.

Today we are going to read a story entitled Doctor DeSoto.

2. Introduce the three vocabulary words you have chosen.

Before we read the story, I want to introduce some new words that we will come across. Please repeat each word after I say it.

3. Read the story.

Let’s read the story. Make sure to listen for today’s vocabulary words and to think about how they are used in the story. If you hear a vocabulary word while I am reading, raise your hand.

4. Define key vocabulary words. See definitions below.

Let’s think about our vocabulary words. The word ______________ means ____________. Does anyone remember how this word was used in the text?

Call on students to answer the question. Then refer to the text to show how the word was used in context. Repeat this process for each vocabulary word.


Now let’s practice what we’ve learned.


Fasten means to tighten something, lock it in place, or tie it down so it doesn’t move. What’s the word?

When you are in the car your mother tells you to fasten your seatbelt so you don’t get hurt. You need to fasten everything down in a boat so it doesn’t fall overboard.

I’m going to name some items. If you think the item needs to be tightened or tied down, say fasten. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A helium balloon
  • A kite
  • A flowerpot
  • A cup of coffee in the car
  • The sidewalk


Mercy means kindness shown to someone who might not deserve it or who is weaker than you. What’s the word?

The cat caught a mouse, but then showed mercy and let it go. Even if you are stronger than a littler kid, you should show mercy and not be a bully.

I’m going to name some events. If you think the event is someone showing kindness, say mercy. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A farmer letting a fox go after the fox killed some chickens
  • Not putting someone who has stolen a car in jail
  • A policeman warning a speeding driver but not giving a ticket
  • A parent making a naughty child stay in his room all day
  • A big brother hitting a little brother


Morsel means a small piece of food. What’s the word?

The child refused to try even a morsel of broccoli. You need to eat more than that morsel of sandwich to have energy all day.

I’m going to name some foods. If you think it means a small piece of food, say morsel. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A bucket of chicken
  • A whole watermelon
  • A miniature marshmallow
  • A crumb of bread
  • One kernel of corn


Pitiful means looking or feeling so bad that other people feel sympathy. What’s the word?

The baby bird that dropped out of its nest looked so pitiful that we brought it in the house to take care of it. Don’t go around looking pitiful unless you’re really sick.

I’m going to name some animals. If you think the animal looks or feels so bad that you’d feel sorry for it, say pitiful. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A playful kitty
  • A kitty that fell in some cold water
  • A dog lost in the storm
  • A dog curled up by the fire
  • A horse with a broken leg


Resist means to stop yourself from doing something that you really want to do. What’s the word?

I shouldn’t eat so many cupcakes, but they’re so yummy I can’t resist. Did you resist the idea to have dessert before lunch?

I’m going to name some things. If you think you it would be hard to keep yourself from doing the thing, say resist. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Jumping in a cool pool on a hot day
  • Eating a yummy treat when you’re hungry
  • Running in a blizzard
  • Staying in bed when you’re really tired
  • Exercising for ten hours


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples for the vocabulary words.

For Struggling Students:

If time permits, have students record the words on a Vocabulary Discovery Chart or in a Word Journal.

For ELL Students:

In order to help ELL students learn the words, it may be helpful to use realia and/or to teach cognates.

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