The mermaids  lagoon

Words: 401-500

Skills: Context Clues

Grades: 4th 5th

Topics: Adventure / Thriller and Science Fiction / Fantasy

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range: 1060L - 1290L

Lexile Measure: 1240L

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The Mermaids’ Lagoon


by J.M. Barrie from Peter Pan

Chapter 8 passage: Neverland in J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" is a magical place full of interesting people and wonderous beings. This passage tells about the characters' interaction with some of the mermaids who live in the Neverland lagoon. Students will read the passage and explain some of the language in it by using context clues.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The Mermaids’ Lagoon

by J.M. Barrie from Peter Pan

In the book Peter Pan, the English children Wendy, Michael, and John have gone with Peter, an amazing boy who can fly, to his magical world called Neverland. Below is a description of the lagoon in Neverland where the mermaids live.

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 The children often spent long summer days on this lagoon, swimming or floating most of the time, playing the mermaid games in the water, and so forth. You must not think from this that the mermaids were on friendly terms with them: on the contrary, it was among Wendy’s lasting regrets that all the time she was on the island she never had a civil word from one of them. When she stole softly to the edge of the lagoon she might see them by the score, especially on Marooners’ Rock, where they loved to bask, combing out their hair in a lazy way that quite irritated her; or she might even swim, on tiptoe as it were, to within a yard of them, but then they saw her and dived, probably splashing her with their tails, not by accident, but intentionally.

They treated all the boys in the same way, except of course Peter, who chatted with them on Marooners’ Rock by the hour, and sat on their tails when they got cheeky. He gave Wendy one of their combs.

The most haunting time at which to see them is at the turn of the moon, when they utter strange wailing cries; but the lagoon is dangerous for mortals then, and until the evening of which we have now to tell, Wendy had never seen the lagoon by moonlight, less from fear, for of course Peter would have accompanied her, than because she had strict rules about every one being in bed by seven. She was often at the lagoon, however, on sunny days after rain, when the mermaids come up in extraordinary numbers to play with their bubbles. The bubbles of many colours made in rainbow water they treat as balls, hitting them gaily from one to another with their tails, and trying to keep them in the rainbow till they burst. The goals are at each end of the rainbow, and the keepers only are allowed to use their hands. Sometimes a dozen of these games will be going on in the lagoon at a time, and it is quite a pretty sight.

But the moment the children tried to join in they had to play by themselves, for the mermaids immediately disappeared. Nevertheless we have proof that they secretly watched the interlopers, and were not above taking an idea from them; for John introduced a new way of hitting the bubble, with the head instead of the hand, and the mermaids adopted it. This is the one mark that John has left on the Neverland.

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

In your own words, explain the meaning of the underline words as they appear in the story:

1.  "This is the one mark that John has left on the Neverland."



2. "...she never had a civil word from one of them"



3. "...they secretly watched the interlopers..."



4. "...the lagoon is dangerous for mortals then..."


Vocabulary List

Vocabulary List


Each of the vocabulary words below are used in the reading passage. As you read the passage, pay attention to context clues that suggest the word’s meaning.

  1. Lagoon
  2. Contrary
  3. Civil
  4. Bask
  5. Intentionally
  6. Cheeky
  7. Utter
  8. Strict
  9. Interlopers

Context Clues

Context Clues

Using context clues from the sentences in the passage, underline the correct meaning of the word in boldface.


1) “The children often spent long summer days on this lagoon, swimming or floating most of the time, playing the mermaid games in the water, and so forth.”

a. island     b. boat     c. raft     d. body of water

2) “You must not think from this that the mermaids were on friendly terms with them: on the contrary…”

a. similar     b. opposite     c. imaginary     d. list

3) “…it was among Wendy’s lasting regrets that all the time she was on the island she never had a civil word from one of them.”

a. swear     b. angry     c. unkind     d. polite

4) “When she stole softly to the edge of the lagoon she might see them by the score, especially on Marooners’ Rock, where they loved to bask…”

a. sunbathe     b. have fun     c. hike     d. walk

5) “…splashing her with their tails, not by accident, but intentionally.”

a. purposefully     b. accidentally     c. mistakenly     d. thoughtlessly

6) “They treated all the boys in the same way, except of course Peter, who chatted with them on Marooners’ Rock by the hour, and sat on their tails when they got cheeky.”

a. silly     b. offensive/rude     c. tired     d. curious

7) “The most haunting time at which to see them is at the turn of the moon, when they utter strange wailing cries…”

a. avoid     b. prevent     c. express     d. create

8) “…because she had strict rules about every one being in bed by seven.”

a. loose     b. many     c. few     d. rigid

9) “Nevertheless we have proof that they secretly watched the interlopers, and were not above taking an idea from them…”

a. crooks     b. intruders     c. helpers     d. vacationers