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English Vocabulary Exercises: Academic Word List

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, speakers and/or headphones

Activity Description

Use this site with students to introduce definitions and spelling of words on the Academic Word List - the most high frequency vocabulary of English-language academic texts.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school before using it with students.
  2. Choose which sublists you would like students to study (sublists are near the top of the page). For each sublist, there are several online exercises. Decide which exercises you would like students to complete.
  3. If you have students use the site individually, you may want to prepare a handout for the sublist(s) you want students to study. You can copy and paste the sublist's words into a document and leave spaces for students to write definitions (provided on the site). Photocopy this study/note-taking guide for each student.


  1. Open the Example Web Site. If you are having students use the site individually, demonstrate how to use the site by projecting it.
  2. Select the sublist to study.
  3. Distribute any handout/study guide you have created.
  4. Scroll down to see the word list you have chosen. Select each word to hear its pronunciation. Select the "definition" link and have students write the definitions.
  5. Select the exercise assigned/chosen.
  6. Select the drop-down arrows to select the best word to complete each sentence.
  7. After completing each cloze question, select "Check."
  8. Follow up with spelling/dictation and vocabulary quizzes for the sublists you assign to students.

Teacher Tips

  • The list contains 570 word families and is divided into 10 sublists. Sublist 1 consists of the 60 most common words in the AWL. Sublist 2 contains the next most frequently used words and so on.
  • Each sublist contains 60 word families, except for sublist 10, which contains 30. Each sublist page lists the words for that sublist and a definition and audio to hear the pronunciation of each word.
  • This site includes 285 online, cloze/gap-fill exercises for students to practice using the vocabulary words.

More Ways

The Web site has several other vocabulary and grammar (parts of speech) exercises:

  • All Adjective + derivations (160 words / 11 groups)
  • Arts, Literature, and Entertainment (17 words / 1 group)
  • Crime & the Law (42 words / 3 groups)
  • Feelings, Qualities, and States (64 words / 5 groups)
  • Food and Eating (17 words / 1 group)
  • Health & the Body (63 words / 4 groups)
  • The World of Money and Work (102 words / 6 groups)
  • The Natural World (72 words / 5 groups)
  • Nouns and derivations (91 words / 6 groups)
  • Nouns and Verbs with derivations (229 words / 15 groups)
  • Phrasal Verbs (154 verbs / 10 groups)
  • The Political World (41 words / 3 groups)
  • Basic Science and Academia (38 words / 3 groups)
  • The Social World (72 words / 5 groups)
  • Structures, Places and Objects (19 words / 1 group, Transitions (20 words / 1 group)
  • Verbs (252 words / 18 groups)
  • War, Violence, and Conflict (52 words / 4 groups).


  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 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.