Planning your lesson will be so much easier if you use this list of Esperanza Rising vocabulary. The words are defined and sorted according to chapter. You can also incorporate these vocabulary lesson ideas for a quick lesson fix and help students improve their vocabulary retention and comprehension. Find what works best for your class and run with it.
Vocabulary and Definitions
A page number is included so students can easily access the word in the paperback text. While not every chapter is represented in this list, use this opportunity to have students identify their own words as part of your vocabulary lesson ideas.
Las Uvas (Grapes)
- premonition, 9 – a feeling of nervousness about a future event
- resentment, 12 – a feeling of dislike caused by an act, remark, or person that caused insult or injury
- capricious, 13 – unpredictable, impulsive
- propriety, 13 – socially correct or appropriate behavior
- beacon, 21 – a guiding or warning signal
- tormented, 22 – to suffer mental or bodily misery or agony
Las Papayas (Papayas)
- wrenched, 23 – to pull or jerk by a violent twist
- anguish, 23 – extreme suffering, worry, or pain
- ambushed, 24 – to attack by surprise
- cordial, 26 – friendly, sincere
- encroaching, 29 – to intrude or trespass on the proper limits of something
- indignation, 30 – strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, or insulting
- pungent, 38 – having a strong smell or powerfully bitter or sharp taste
- pervaded, 38 – to spread throughout all parts of something
Los Higos (Figs)
- silhouetted, 41 – a dark image outlined against a lighter background
- deliberate, 42 – carefully thought out; intentional
- salvage, 43 – to save something for further use or rescue something from a bad situation
Las Guayabas (Guavas)
- renegades, 61 – a traitor or rebel
- persistent, 62 – continuing despite problems
- mesmerized, 64 – to absorb somebody’s attention
- spewing, 66 – to pour out forcefully, or force something out in a stream
- reeked, 66 – strong and unpleasant smell
- undulating, 68 – go up and down gracefully
- monotonous, 72 – repetitive and unchanging, like a voice or a task
Los Melones (Cantaloupes)
- panorama, 81 – a wide view, especially of a landscape
- stagnant, 81 – not flowing or running; foul or stale
- demeanor, 82 – a person’s outward behavior or manner
- jalopy, 88 – a battered old car
- cherub, 88 – a beautiful or innocent person, especially a child with a chubby, innocent face
- hovered, 92 – to wait nearby
Las Cebollas (Onions), Las Almendras (Almonds), Las Ciruelas (Plums), Las Papas (Potatoes)
- extravagant, 136 – beyond what is reasonable
- atrocious, 141 – extremely shocking
- scorched, 141 – to affect the color, taste, smell of something by burning it slightly
- preoccupied, 145—distracted or absorbed in thought
Los Aguacates (Avocados), Los Espárragos (Asparagus)
- taut, 180—stretched tightly; also, stressed or tense
- suppleness, 181—flexible; bending without breaking
- squalor, 194—filthy and miserable
Los Duraznos (Peaches), Las Uvas (Grapes)
- optimism, 224—a tendency to view the world in a positive manner with good outcomes
- antiseptic, 231—free of germs or pollutants
- cacophony, 250—a harsh, irritating mixture of sounds
Vocabulary Lesson Ideas
Pick and choose from the following vocabulary lesson ideas for comprehension, assessment, and retention of Esperanza Rising vocabulary. Feel free to modify the vocabulary lesson ideas to suit your classroom environment.
Before you read each chapter, list the vocabulary for that chapter on the board. Ask students if they are aware of the meaning for any of the vocabulary. Have students write down their definitions for each word. Then as you read and come across a vocabulary word, have students check their definitions for accuracy based on context clues. You can ask them to write down the sentence where the word was used in the text and to clarify their definition for future use.
- Use the Frayer method for learning difficult vocabulary. I use a graphic organizer to help my students understand this concept. First, take a plain sheet of paper and fold it vertically, then horizontally. Then take the center corner and fold a medium-sized triangle from the corner. When you open the paper you should have five sections–four corner squares and a diamond in the middle. The diamond section need not be very large. If you did not get the shape of a diamond in the center of your paper, you folded the wrong corner. Practice makes perfect.
- Write the vocabulary word in the center diamond.
- On the top left side, write the definition for the word. Add synonyms and antonyms in this section as well.
- On the top right side, write the characteristics of this word. For example, if the vocabulary word were ‘popcorn,’ then characteristics of popcorn would be a food found at the movies, a snack made from corn, comes in many flavors, etc.
- On the bottom left side, write non-examples of the vocabulary word. Non-examples for popcorn might include served frozen, a liquid, a fruit would all be non-examples. Students just need to be able to differentiate between the vocabulary word and the categories it would not fit into.
- The bottom right side is used to add an illustration and a sentence demonstrating the proper usage of the vocabulary word.
Students can create these graphic organizers on individual sheets of paper or they can draw them in their vocabulary spirals so they can elaborate on each vocabulary word that gives them trouble. I also make sure my students label each section of their graphic organizer.
- Keep a word wall in your classroom. I don’t include definitions on my word wall, just the list of vocabulary. I use it as an opportunity to quiz student knowledge, pair up synonyms and antonyms, and as a reference while reading the novel. We also refer to the word wall when searching for word parts or etymology patterns. If you have the space, leave your word wall up all year. You’ll be surprised how often students will sneak their new vocabulary into their conversations and class work.
- Write a poem using the vocabulary words. Types of poems you could use for this lesson include biography poems to describe any of the characters in the novel, a preposition poem in which the first word in each line of the poem must be a preposition, or challenge your students to follow more traditional poetry forms like ballad, ode, or haiku.
- Play the vocabulary Post It challenge. Jot down a vocabulary word on one Post It, the definition on another, and then scramble the words and definitions on the board. Students can use this activity at the beginning or end of class, after reading a chapter, or to review for a quiz. They can also use a timer to see who can accurately match the words and definitions the fastest.
With proper planning and practice, your students will not only have a better understanding of the novel, Esperanza Rising, but they will continue to use the vocabulary they learned throughout the year with these lesson ideas. With their knowledge of Esperanza Rising vocabulary, they will recognize it used when in context in other forms of literature or media, and they will in turn increase their reading level. Good luck!
Muñoz-Ryan, Pam. Esperanza Rising. New York: Scholastic, Inc. 2000.