Tiered Words Text Talk Lessons

Sooooo, I was at a meeting recently where we discussed the upcoming Common Core adoption for our state.  

{OK. Side note.  This makes me hyperventilate.  Every. Time. I. Type. This.  We are adopting CCSS next year *without a transition year.*  Worst part?  I'm at a year round school, and we aren't guaranteed to have resources from the state ready in July, since they always target the traditional calendar schools.  This means the beginning of the year information comes out when I'm working on 1st quarter report cards.  OMG.  Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in... ok.  That's better.}

What does this have to do with the title of this post? You must be asking this by now, and I'm starting to wonder, too.  Oh, yeah.  We were looking at the 2nd grade CCSS objectives and noticed that a great deal of emphasis was put on the tier 2 words for vocabulary instruction.  We had a great discussion, which reminded me of Beck's book, Bringing Words to Life.  Odds are, you have a copy in your professional library at school, or can access it through your local public library.  It's definitely worth reading, as it will give you a new perspective on the power of a read-aloud. Try a goal of purposefully introducing tier 2 vocabulary weekly through a read-aloud, and you will be amazed at the results!!!  :)

If you are like me, and always looking for more resources that are already laid out for you, I've found several.  First, there are a ton of lessons ready for you in the back of the Bringing Words to Life book.  As a Literacy Coach, I used this book with my teachers to help us enhance our vocabulary instruction.  Here is a quick overview:
Step 1 Choose 3 words to explicitly teach from the text.
Step 2 Use the word in the context of the story, article or book. (Share a sentence from the story)
Step 3 Provides a student-friendly definition. (Ask the children to repeat/read the word.)
Step 4 Provide examples in contexts other than the one used in the story.
Step 5 Students practice with examples or provide their own examples. (Ask the children to repeat/read the word.)
Repeat steps 2-5 for all words.

Step 6 Do a concluding and/or practice activity for all words presented.
Adapted from: Bringing Words to Life by Isabel Beck, Margaret McKeown, and Linda Kucan 

Here's a fantastic resource for planning your search for Text Talk lessons: Utah Reading First - 101 Text Talk lessons 

Does your state emphasize tier 2 word instruction?  If so, how do you integrate this in your routine?


  1. I've read that book before - good one!...in fact I think it's sitting on my shelf still

    ♥ Jen
    The Teachers' Cauldron

    1. Absolutely! I used it all the time as a literacy coach, but I'm going to revisit it soon with a classroom teacher's perspective. :)


  2. I have created about 16 lessons using the format in this book. I read it while in Grad School a few years ago. My students love the activities. Last week, one of our words was sultry. My students were using it often throughout the week, especially on the playground.
    You can see a few of them in my TPT store (one of them is free).

  3. It is a great resource. My school has Reading Street 2008 (or 07?), and I am wondering if anyone has seen a resource that has Text Talk Lessons for the tier two "Amazing Words" found in the grade 2 teacher's Read Aloud Anthology? The link that you posted for Utah Reading First would not work for me.


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