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Introduce Vocabulary: Letting Swift River Go (Yolen)

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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: Letting Swift River Go (Yolen), 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 Letting Swift River Go.

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.


Faint means dim or not easy to see. What’s the word?

There was so much smoke in the air that the mountains were faint in the distance. Erase your pencil marks so they become faint and hard to see.

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing is dim or not easy to see, say faint. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A fish way down in the ocean
  • An elk far away on the mountain
  • The lights of a city far away
  • The books on our bookshelf
  • Fireworks


Quench means to satisfy a need, like thirst. What’s the word?

The deer stopped at the river to drink and quench his thirst. If you’re thirsty, you can quench your thirst with water, juice, or soda.

I’m going to name some actions. If you think doing the action would satisfy your thirst, say quench. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Eating corn chips
  • Running fast for a long time
  • Drinking cool water
  • Jumping in a pool
  • Chewing gum


Remain means to stay in the same place or stay behind. What’s the word?

No one should remain in the store once the doors have been locked. Remain in line until the teacher tells you to sit down.

I’m going to name some times. If you think the items should remain at the campground after you’ve camped there, say remain. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • The picnic table
  • The trees
  • Your garbage
  • The fire
  • The fire pit


Sacred means very respected. What’s the word?

This forest is so important to me that it’s sacred. Do you find your school sacred?

I’m going to name some places. If you think some people might respect the place so much that it’s sacred, say sacred. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A church
  • The wilderness
  • A shopping mall
  • A gas station
  • An ancient building


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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