Grade Levels: 2-4
- Students will examine unfamiliar
vocabulary words in the Geronimo Stilton books.
- Students will use different strategies
to decipher vocabulary words and their meanings.
- Students will recognize word meanings.
- Students will analyze word relationships.
- Students will incorporate vocabulary
words in their own writing.
- Students will record and examine
unfamiliar words on a regular basis as independent readers.
- Geronimo Stilton books
- pens, pencils
- writing paper
Use the Geronimo Stilton series to promote students’
vocabulary development and reading comprehension. By encountering
new vocabulary in different and meaningful contexts, readers
will learn to decipher terms and retain their understanding
1. Read aloud 1-3 chapters of a Geronimo Stilton book,
or assign them as independent reading. Have students use
their own books to follow along with you (or read on their
own). Using a pencil, they should highlight noteworthy words
at the same time. Invite them to circle vocabulary words
they don’t know, draw a squiggly underline beneath words
they find confusing, and boldly underline words and details
they feel are important.
Note: If you do not want students to mark up their books,
they may keep track of challenging words by using a printable
bookmark. Distribute copies of the bookmark and ask
students to write down unfamiliar words, along with corresponding
page numbers, on the lines provided. You may laminate their
bookmark so that it can be wiped off and reused, or they
may wish to print out a new bookmark for every book they
2. Pause at the end of each paragraph that contains a difficult
word. Then help students determine its meaning by asking them
to do the following:
- Slow down, reread, or read aloud quietly. Point out
that listening to oneself read the text can be very helpful.
- Use the context to figure out its meaning. The sentences
that come before or after a vocabulary word can offer
"In the meantime, Thea had grabbed a sheet of paper
and was scribbling down tasks for all of us. 'Geronimo,
you will take care of provisions. You’ll gather
fruit, berries, and roots. You’ll also fish for crabs.' "
[page 74, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye]
The sentences that follow the word “provisions” suggest
that it means food.
3. Tell students to look up each vocabulary word in a dictionary
to see if they were correct about its meaning. Point out
that even the most experienced readers do this, because
they don’t always recognize every word they encounter. If
students still need help, encourage them to ask you or classmates
for support. Then have volunteers read aloud the words they
highlighted and discuss how the strategies above helped
them figure out their meanings.
1. Have students demonstrate their understanding of
each vocabulary word by creating a word web based on it.
They can jot down the word in the center and then expand
upon it by writing synonyms, definitions, and/or sentences
from books where the students found the word. They may also
wish to focus on synonyms and antonyms for a chosen vocabulary
word by making a T-chart. They can label one column “Is”
and the other “Is Not,” then write synonyms in the first
column and antonyms in the second.
Teacher Observation: Did highlighting difficult words help
students identify problems while developing vocabulary skills?
Were they able to recognize word meanings using the strategies
- Were the students successful or
- Could the students decipher the
meanings of vocabulary words using context, prior knowledge,
and text features such as captions and illustrations?
- Did students successfully demonstrate
their understanding of vocabulary words by incorporating
them in graphic organizers and/or original writing?
1. Have students write an original sentence about a Geronimo Stilton character using one of their vocabulary words.
Ask them to support their sentence with details. Here is
"Trap Stilton can be obnoxious to his cousin
Geronimo. Trap likes to make fun of him and play practical
jokes. Geronimo always complains about Trap. He does not
think Trap’s jokes are funny."