Excerpt from "Bad Boy"

The alliterative title calls to mind Richard Wright's "Black Boy." Both are memoirs by African-American men who started off mischievous and grew up to become award-winning writers. But as the excerpt from "Bad Boy" shows, Walter Dean Myers is less focused on racial identity and more concerned with connecting to young adult readers.

Here are all the word lists to support the reading of Grade 7 Unit 1's texts from SpringBoard's Common Core ELA series: The Road Not Taken, Choices, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Dust Tracks on a Road, Bad Boy, Why Couldn't I Have Been Named Ashley?, Phaethon, Daedalus and Icarus, Arachne, The Lion, the Fox, and the Stag, A Note from the Author, creation myths
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definitions & notes only words
  1. fanatic
    a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm
    By September and the opening of school I was deep into sports and became a baseball fanatic.
  2. absolute
    complete and without restriction or qualification
    We even changed the rules of stoop ball, of which I was the absolute King of the World, to include bases when more than one kid played.
  3. occasionally
    now and then or here and there
    We did occasionally play actual baseball, but not enough kids had gloves to make a good game.
  4. terminal
    station where vehicles load or unload passengers or goods
    My new school was Public School 43 on 128th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, across from the Transit Authority bus terminal.
  5. anxious
    eagerly desirous
    When it came to be my turn, I was anxious to show my skills.
  6. sidearm
    (of pitches) made with the arm moving parallel to the ground
    I threw the book sidearm and watched it hit his desk and bounce across the room.
  7. doghouse
    an idiomatic term for being in disfavor
    Later in the year it would be Johnny Brown who would be in Mrs. Conway's doghouse for not doing his homework
  8. scenario
    a postulated sequence of possible events
    I had a need to fill up all the spaces in my life, with activity, with talking, sometimes with purely imagined scenarios that would dance through my mind, occupying me while some other student was at the blackboard.
  9. blurt
    utter impulsively
    I would blurt out answers to Mrs. Conway's questions even when I was told to keep quiet, or I might roll a marble across my desk if she was on the other side of the room.
  10. tense
    become nervous or uneasy
    After a while I would tense up anytime Mrs. Conway called on me.
  11. volunteer
    tell on one's own accord
    "I don't think he wrote that poem," Sidney Aronofsky volunteered.
  12. incident
    a public disturbance
    After the incident with Sidney, Mrs. Conway said that she had had quite enough of me and that I would not be allowed to participate in any class activity until I brought my mother to school.
  13. sputter
    utter with a spitting sound, as if in a rage
    "You are," she sputtered, "a bad boy. A very bad boy.
  14. furious
    marked by extreme anger
    She was furious, and I was embarrassed.
  15. conduct
    manner of acting or controlling yourself
    At the end of the year I got my best report card ever, including a glorious Needs Improvement in conduct.
  16. jubilee
    a special anniversary or the celebration of it
    It was on the first page of the Jubilee Issue, and it was called "My Mother."
  17. tolerate
    put up with something or somebody unpleasant
    And I'm telling you right now, I won't tolerate any fighting in my class for any reason.
  18. indicate
    give evidence of
    Mr. Lasher quietly explained to my mother that all the tests I had taken indicated that I was quite smart, but that I was going to throw it all away because of my behavior.
  19. therapy
    the act of caring for someone
    The first was that he took me out of class one day per week and put me in speech therapy for the entire day.
  20. recommend
    express a good opinion of
    At the end of the year I was the one student in his class whom he recommended for placement in a rapid advancement class in junior high school.
Created on August 22, 2014 (updated August 22, 2014)

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