Vocabulary Worksheets:
Link Reading to Practice 

Although they can save prep time, vocabulary worksheets are not the best way to teach vocabulary-- by themselves. However, they can be a useful part of an integrated vocabulary lesson. Reading or hearing a newly-learned word several times and using it in various ways helps a student retain the word. 

That’s the reason the worksheets on EnglishHints.com almost always include links to reading and/or listening activities and often discussion ideas and games as well as practice using the new words.

Jump Directly to the Worksheet Packets

a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes examining a worksheet or other paper with a magnifying glass under the slogan

The next few paragraphs explain the rationale of these worksheets, the type of vocabulary covered, etc. If you would prefer to go directly to the worksheets, here are the links:

The Scientific Method (free)

Basic Academic Vocabulary

Words for Success

Teach English with Spanish-English Cognates is now on its own page, unlike the pdfs above, which are on this page.

 About These Worksheets: Levels and Integrated Practice

The academic English vocabulary worksheets on this page are designed for middle-school through adult intermediate ESL students, though many high beginners (or native speakers) could use them. There are also some advanced vocabulary worksheets on Free Printable Worksheets.

The biggest difference between the intermediate worksheets on this page and the advanced ones on the Free Printable Worksheets page is the amount of vocabulary practiced on a page.

The advanced worksheets also include some less common upper level Academic Word List vocabulary, while all the vocabulary practiced on these worksheets is very important for students to understand.

A major advantage for teachers is that these packets already include reading and often writing activities for integrated skills practice. This may be especially valuable if you don’t have access to a good textbook or many supplementary materials.

A variety of activities and games suggested also allows you to differentiate instruction, providing a review for your quicker or more fluent students and more practice to students who need it.

Most of these worksheets are in packets in which later worksheets review earlier vocabulary. Most worksheets teach ten to fourteen tier two academic word families (interact, interaction, interactive, etc.) each, along with some occasional related vocabulary students likely already recognize.

The Academic Vocabulary Used

I chose the basic academic vocabulary emphasized in these worksheets from Coxhead’s Academic Vocabulary List (AWL) and important academic vocabulary lists from Marzano Research, Berkeley Unified School District, and a number of teachers.

These are the words students must have in order to understand, discuss, and write about common classroom and working world topics (as well as for standardized tests students will need to take.) 

The vocabulary ranges from basic words like compare, demonstrate, and examine to harder words like abstract, bias, categorize, strategic, etc. Every worksheet has multiple ways to practice the essential words it teaches, along with ideas for presentation, classroom games, and assessment. 

You will need Adobe or another pdf reader to download these pdfs. If you do not have Adobe Reader you can download it, free, here.

The Scientific Method Packet (Free)

cover of Scientific Method packet: silhouette of a scientist looking through a microscope.

This simple explanation of science vocabulary and the scientific method will help your students recognize important academic vocabulary and understand science and psychology news and research.

The free packet includes:

• Explanations and examples of vocabulary: bias, data, evaluate, factor, valid, and variable (with its variations)

• A one-page explanation of the scientific method demonstrating those words and adding more vocabulary in context: conclusion, evidence, hypothesis, implications, interpret, relevant, and reproducible

• A five-question multiple choice quiz based on that information and its answer key

This packet is designed as a reading activity and discussion starter. Ask students for their experiences doing experiments and solving problems.

Did they follow a similar procedure? What did they do differently? What were their results? What steps do they consider the most important?

The quiz makes a good short review (or warm-up) for later in the week.

To download the Scientific Method Packet, click the button below.

Basic Academic Vocabulary for Writing & Test Prompts

Basic Academic Vocabulary packet cover: picture of a blackboad with the title written on it.

It’s important for English Language Learners to fully understand the words used in writing instructions and test prompts so that they know what they are expected to do.

(As Vocabulary.com points out, quoting Jim Burke, “You cannot expect to succeed on assignments if you do not understand the directions." Burke’s A list helped guide my choice of the most important words to teach explicitly.)

Understanding basic academic vocabulary will also help reading comprehension and class participation. 

The lessons in this packet show the ways about 30 important verbs (and related nouns and adjectives, as well as a few lone nouns or adjectives) can be used. The words appear first in short texts about essay writing.

They are practiced multiple times in example essays, task cards, and a crossword so students can see them in different contexts, use them themselves, and have a chance to really acquire them.

Key vocabulary, mainly in order of use in essays and task cards:

analyze (including analysis & analytical), conclude/ conclusion, determine (etc.), evaluate, identify, interpret, predict (all from the Scientific Method essay, as well as bias, evidence, and valid from its glossary– not on cards).

The most basic verbs for instructions, in “Sharing Ideas”: demonstrate, explain, illustrate, describe, respond, integrate, develop (and in comparison essay) compare, contrast, similar, distinguish.

From "Essay Organization": organize, consequence, significance, persuade, argue, support, oppose, thesis, specific, transition, summarize, (& from Transitions practice: access), then imagine, imply (&related practice with infer), & transform from essay on Consequences/Proofreading practice.) 

Duration: about a week and a half (or more if you want students to write more than one essay. (There are links to some fantastic lessons for helping English learners learn to write persuasive essays.)

These lessons can help ELLs ease into essay writing, with some explanation of what is expected in an essay in English, then several example essays, practice with transition words and proofreading, before they need to write themselves.

Some of the Common Core standards addressed: CCSS. W8, 2 & 2c., 8.5, 9-10.2c & 5; L.8.4a, & L.9-10.4a.

Four task cards to practice forms of 'transition', 'summarize',& 'transform.'The cards have fill-ins or multiple choice questions, and pictures representing the words.sample task cards to practice vocabulary


·         Teaching Suggestions pg.3-6

·         Scientific Method 7-8

·         Scientific Method Quiz 9

·         Vocabulary Notebook Template- 10

·         Sharing Ideas: Talking vs. Writing- 11

·         Comparing Apples & Peaches- 12

·         Essay Organization -13

·         Types of Transitions-14

·         Practice Transitions with a Comparative Essay: Advantages and Disadvantages o Online Learning (You might want to point out this could also be considered a persuasive essay, as it takes a definite point of view.)-15

·         3 page Revision and Proof-reading Checklist -16-18

·         Practice with Proofreading sample essay on Unintended Consequences (first the unrevised essay, then revised but still needing proofreading.)—2 pgs each 19-22

·         Optional Graphic organizers:

·         --Sample Essay Planning Template-23

·         --Venn Diagram-24

·         task cards, pages 25-35

·         Crossword-36 

·         Vocabulary Check (this could also be used as a pre-assessment, if you have some students that may not need most of these lessons.) -37

·         Answers:

·         Scientific Method Quiz Answers-38

·         Transitions Practice (Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning) Answers-39

·         Corrected (proofread) revised essay on the bomb with essay parts and transition words marked and a short example of a summary- 40-41

·         Task Card Answers[7 pages]-42-49

·         Crossword Answers-50

·         Vocabulary Check Answers-51 

Satisfaction guaranteed. (See yellow box below.)

Download it now for $12.50.

If you don't need the task card vocabulary practice, you can get the rest of these lessons (which demonstrate the vocabulary but don't give all the word forms and gap-fill practice) in Basic Essay Vocabulary (for Classrooms)  on the English Essay Writing Practice page for $8.00.

Words for Success: Read and Discuss Goals

cover for the

Words for Success: Reading, Vocabulary, Discussion, & Writing about Goals and the Meaning of Success.

3-5 days' worth of lessons on goal-setting, goal and achievement vocabulary, and integrated reading (and possibly listening/watching), discussion, and writing about success, failure, and what's most important in life.

16 pages of differentiated goal-setting and vocabulary activities and games, comprehension questions, and writing and discussion prompts (besides the cover and 4 answer keys.)

The suggested readings (linked) are commencement addresses discussing the meaning of success and the value of initial failure. The key address is in clear. simple language.

This pdf also includes scaffolding, with explanation of potentially difficult expressions and idioms, for the optional secondary addresses (only suggested for higher level students.)

You can check out the online version of much of this content at Reading Comprehension Questions and the linked pages at the bottom of that page.

Academic vocabulary that is extensively practicedaccomplish, achieve, attain, attitude, benefit, criteria, emphasize, energy, establish, factors, financial, focus, goal, identify, objective, priority, resolution, security, specific, success, target

Contents (in Lesson Order)   

• Teaching notes including timing,  vocabulary, differentiation, lesson  suggestions and links, and possible discussion or writing prompts: pg. 3-7

• Vocabulary  Notebook  template (optional—or use your own system) pg. 8

• Vocabulary for Achievement:  

      >Example Sentences pg. 9

      >Practice Activities (Odd One Out, Matching, and Gap-fill) pg. 10

      >Answer key pg. 11

• Words for Success  pg. 12

• Answer key pg. 13

• Short video talking about some famous people who failed before they succeeded (link pg. 5)

• Review Crossword on Success pg. 14

• Success Vocabulary Crossword answer key pg.15

• Marc Lewis Commencement Address (link & discussion pg. 6)

• Comprehension Questions pg. 16-17

• Answer key pg. 18

• Optional follow-up for high-Intermediate or advanced ESL classes (or junior or senior English classes): -links pg. 7)

• Learning from Failure: quotes from J.K. Rowling and Steve Jobs to discuss- pg. 19

• parts or all of Steve Jobs’ and J.K. Rowling’s commencement addresses (both with video and transcript.) links pg. 7

• Explanation of idioms and expressions in Jobs’s speech pg. 20-21

• class discussion or writing prompts pg. 7

• credits pg. 22

 Click the button below to download Words for Success for $6.00.

Your satisfaction guaranteed. Please contact me if you have any problems or questions. If you are not happy with any worksheet, please contact me for a full refund (or a credit plus 10% on another packet if you prefer.)

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I would love to hear if you find these vocabulary worksheets useful (especially if you are willing for me to post your comments with your first name here as a ‘testimonial’-- or with suggestions of the way your class has used them.) 

Questions or comments? Let me know!

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See Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans for Word Detectives and the Word Detective bundle, which both teach a lot of academic vocabulary as well as reading skills and some roots and prefixes.

We also offer root, prefix, and suffix practice at Suffix Worksheets. If you’re interested in online vocabulary practice, see Vocabulary Games and Activities.

Home > ESL Worksheets > Academic Vocabulary Worksheets.

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