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Introduce Vocabulary: Tar Beach (Ringgold)

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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: Tar Beach (Ringgold), 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 Tar Beach.

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.


Claim means to say something is true. What's the word?

She claims this necklace belongs to her. If you claim that you can solve a puzzle, your friends may want to see you do it.

I'm going to name some things you might say. If it's something that you would say is true, say claim. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Cookies are good.
  • The sky is blue.
  • Grass is red.
  • Swimming is fun.
  • Fish know how to swim.


Marvel means to be so surprised by something special. What's the word?

Every new mom marvels at her wonderful new baby. The first time you ride in an airplane, you might marvel at the fun.

I'm going to name some things you might see. If you think you'd think the thing is wonderful and special, say marvel. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • An old pair of shoes
  • A trip to the ocean
  • A great ride at a park
  • A sandwich for lunch
  • Seeing a whale


Possession means something you own. What's the word?

My favorite possession is this really good book. When you're a very young child, you might not have many possessions.

I'm going to name some things. If you already own the thing, say possession. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • A car
  • An island
  • A house of your own
  • A pair of shoes
  • A pencil


Threaten means to say something really mean or scary to someone. What's the word?

Your teacher may threaten to talk to your parents if you break the rules of the classroom. If you say you'll hit someone, you are threatening them.

I'm going to name some things a person might say. If you think the thing is mean or scary, say threaten. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Good morning!
  • Have a nice day.
  • I’m going to push you into the pool.
  • Give me your money, or else!
  • You look nice today.


For Advanced Students:

If time permits, have students create more examples of 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 to help students learn the words.

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