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Introduce Vocabulary: Tell Me a Story, Mama (Johnson)

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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: Tell Me a Story, Mama (Johnson), board or chart paper.
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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 Tell Me a Story, Mama.

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.


Apologize means to say, “I’m sorry.” What’s the word?

She tried to apologize, but he was so mad he wouldn’t listen. You should apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, even if you didn’t mean to do it.

I’m going to name some activities. If you think someone should say I’m sorry for doing the activity, say apologize. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Offering a cookie
  • Helping pick up garbage
  • Breaking a friend’s toy
  • Stepping on someone’s foot
  • Crashing into a car


Forever means with no end. What’s the word?

We all want to be happy forever. Are you staying here forever or moving soon?

I’m going to name some things. If you think the thing will be around for a long time, with no end, say forever. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Your pet
  • A flower
  • The stars
  • The earth
  • The sky


Lonely means feeling alone, with no friendship. What’s the word?

It’s sad to feel lonely. Even if you’re with a lot of people, you might feel lonely if you don’t know them.

I’m going to name some times. If you think you might feel alone with no friendship during the time, say lonely. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • At a party with all your friends
  • When your mom and dad come home
  • When you haven’t seen someone you know all day
  • If your dog gets lost
  • At school


Temper means feeling angry or mad. What’s the word?

A person who has a bad temper often gets mad. Do you lose your temper and get mad if someone calls you bad names?

I’m going to name some things that might happen. If you think the thing might make you have a bad feeling and get mad, say temper. Otherwise, stay quiet. Ready?

  • Someone teases you
  • Someone ruins your favorite toy
  • Your teacher says you’ve done a good job
  • Your mom takes you to a movie
  • You get to visit a friend


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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