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Spelling City: Academic Word Lists with Audio Exercises


Activity Description

Students can use this site on their own to practice this selection of 300 frequently used academic vocabulary words is derived from the "Academic Word List" (Coxhead, 2000). Students can also use the site on their own without registration by entering words to hear pronounced and in sentences and doing activities to practice the spelling of the words. There are 30 lists of 10 select words per list from the Academic Word List. Teachers can use the site to create spelling/vocabulary lists for students to practice.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school.
  2. Practice using the site yourself before having students use it.
  3. If you want to create your own lists instead of using the Academic Word Lists, you will need to do that before showing to your students.


  • For students to use independently:
    1. Send students to the Spelling City Web site (Example Web Site link above).
    2. To access the Academic Word Lists, select the View Word Lists button. Or to have them find a list you created, select Search > Word Lists and enter the name you gave their list.
    3. Have students select each word to hear it pronounced, spelled, and used in a sentence.
    4. Have them select Spelling Test to hear the same and type in the words.
    5. Have them select Play a Game to practice with a variety of games.
  • For teachers to create lists for saving and sharing with students, see the Spelling City Directions Example Document (above) You can also view their video tutorials for more help. Be sure to note the name you gave your list and the Web address for it, so your students can find it if you decide to use your own list.

Teacher Tips

  • Demonstrate to students how to use the site; providing written instructions is also helpful.
  • No e-mail or registration is required by students.
  • You can e-mail the Web address for a list to students or link all your lists on a class Web page.
  • When entering a list, words that belong to a word family (nouns that can also be adjectives, for example), you will be given the option of choosing which part of speech is intended. Also, some words may not yet have definitions or sentences.
  • Your lists will appear under List Management when you log in to the site.
  • You can choose to not publish, edit, delete, or print a list.
  • Activities listed under "Premium Activities" are not available with a free account.

More Ways

  • Assign for individual, out-of-class practice for spelling and listening.
  • Use the site's sentences for your own in-class dictation, spelling, and vocabulary tests.

Program Areas

  • ESL: English as a Second Language


  • Beginning Literacy
  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
  • All Levels



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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.