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TABE 11/12 Vocabulary

To all:

I'm wondering if anyone has resource suggestions in terms of vocabulary in regards to TABE 11/12.  We have noticed that our students are having issues answering questions because they do not know the words being used in the question. In addition, does anyone have recommendations on how to teach vocabulary in a short time frame.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.


Melissa Perry


Jeff Goumas's picture

Hi Melissa!

I've been hearing this a lot re: vocabulary being difficult to access for many learners. I'm not sure of a "quick" way to teach the words learners need; however, I can point you to a resource. Appalachian State University has a wonderful, free set of 38 Tier 2 (academic) vocabulary lessons, each with 5 words apiece, that are all downloadable. Here is a link to the lessons. These all can be downloaded and printed. 

CrowdED Learning has taken all of the words from each of these lessons and created Quizlet study sets for each, also available for free. Here is a link to the study sets. These are all mobile friendly and have multiple activities that learners can engage in for studying. There are 38 corresponding study sets to each of the lessons, as well as one study set with all 190 words. 

Hope this helps!


L. Melissa Perrry's picture

Dear Jeff,

Thank you so much for your assistance as well as your information. I knew that I had seen resources out there, but I could not remember exactly where to start.  Your comments are so helpful.

I appreciate it.

Have a good day.


Dr. Perry

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello Jeff, Thanks for linking us to the academic vocabulary lessons on the Appalachian State University site. What I like about these lessons is they help learners to first self-assess their understanding of the words, and then provide a quick student-friendly explanation of the words as well as part of speech, synonyms and antonyms.

Importantly, there is also a contextualized example illustrating a common usage of the vocabulary and then some questions to help students to make personal connections to the words and then to use the new vocabulary in personally meaningful ways. 

For example, Lesson 1 features the words alter, prominent, prospect, relent and scarce. In this lesson, here is the contextualized example for how the word alter could be used.

  • "There was so much snow and ice on our steep road that we decided to alter our holiday plans because we thought it was too dangerous for anyone to drive on it. We had to make changes to our plans. Since we were not having guests Christmas Eve, we altered our menu. We changed what we were planning to cook for that day and did not cook nearly as much."

The students are then asked the following question to help them to use the word alter in a personally meaningful way.

  • "Have you ever had to alter your plans because of illness or weather?"

The students should give an example of when they have personally had to alter their plans being sure to use the new word in their answer. The response can be practiced both in writing as well as in speaking.

These lessons offer learners additional practice using the words before ​applying their understanding of the new vocabulary when answering questions about a short non fiction text. These vocabulary lessons recycle the words students are learning throughout, giving learners multiple exposures to the words. Recycling language is important since research shows that we all need multiple exposures to new vocabulary before words are actually learned.

These rich lessons are in contrast to the traditional vocabulary lessons I've seen, which typically skip the self-assessment part and the essential components of offering learners information about how we often use the words and then helping them to make personally meaningful connections to new words. Nor do typical lessons recycle the words as much as we see here.

Even though I have a bias that the vocabulary we choose to invest our precious classroom time in should be drawn from the texts we are using in class, I hope many members will check out these useful lessons and share their thoughts here. If we do engage students in studying words from academic vocabulary lists --rather than words chosen from texts we are working with in class, these lessons offer an excellent structure for doing so. The structure of these lessons, in and of itself, is worth taking a look at since we can adopt the structure for vocabulary lessons we create ourselves.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Teaching & Learning CoP




David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Susan, Jeff and others,

Now that we have technology that could do this, I wonder if there are searchable vocabulary list databases someplace on the web that would allow a teacher to search for a context category like "high school equivalency preparation" , "GED prep" , "U.S. citizenship" , "asthma" , "diabetes" , "nurse's aide" , "phlebotomist" , "hospitality" , "hotel" , "restaurant" , "solar panel installation" or other contexts that are important to adult learners, and get online word lists that have definitions and pronunciations of each word.  This would be very helpful for teachers who want to personalize vocabulary learning for students depending on their individual interests, needs and goals. Has anyone seen or used an online context-based vocabulary list tool like this?

David J. Rosen


Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hello everyone, I decided to distribute these free, downloadable academic vocabulary lessons for homework on the weekend. The documents are in Word, so teachers can edit as they see fit. 

What do you think?

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition and Teaching & Learning CoPs

Leecy's picture
One hundred

Melissa and Jeff, thanks both for the question and the suggestions. I hope others drop in to add more to this useful dialogue! Leecy