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Introduction to the Academic Word List [AWL]

Lesson

A really nice lesson to introduce students to the Academic Word List. It is divided into four individual lessons so that teachers can focus on one sublist each week. Each lesson includes a synonym matching activity and a sentence gap-fill sheet. It also includes an animated PowerPoint download to accompany the lesson for interactive teaching / feedback.

1. Preparation

  • Photocopy a copy of the Academic Word List (AWL). 
  • Photocopy Academic Word list – Synonyms: Sublist 1. 
  • Download PPT (included in download).

2. Introduction

  • Give out the Academic Word List and explain the rationale behind it (use PPT slide 2).
  • The Academic Word List (AWL) contains 570 non-subject specific words which were selected because they appear with great frequency in a broad range of academic texts.
  • There are 3000 words because each word has a number of word forms. Example: analysis/ analyst /analyse /analytical /analytically.
  • There are 10 Sublists separated in terms of frequency with Sublist 1 being the most frequent.
  • The list helps identify academic vocabulary and formality.

3. Academic Word List -Synonyms

  • The idea for this activity is for students to familiarise themselves with the AWL.
  • Give out the Academic Word List – Synonyms (Sublist 1) worksheet.
  • Do the first one together as a class: A way: procedure / process / method / approach.
  • Give 10-15 minutes for the students to identify the other 7 words.
  • Feedback as a whole class – answers in the back of this book or use the PPT slides (includes animation for answers)

4. Gap Fill Sentence Sheet (2 sheets: difficult / easier)

  • Difficult: Use the 8 words but some are in different forms.
  • Easier: Use the 8 words given (no change of form).
  • Feedback: answers in the back of this book or use the PPT slides (includes animation for answers).

The worksheet

Download

 Introduction to the AWL using synonyms: Sublist 1- 4 

This is a great lesson to introduce the Academic Word List (AWL). It begins with a small explanation about the AWL. This is then followed with a focus activity on Sublist 1 by identifying possible synonyms – this helps students to become acquainted with the AWL. The final activity is a sentence gap fill sheet to consolidate understanding (two worksheets: difficult or easier).The PDF book includes 4 lessons for Sublist 1-4 and an animated PowerPoint.  Time: 30-60 mins per lesson / Example / PPT link in download  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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More AWL Resources 

These lessons accompany this above lesson and can help to consolidate the AWL vocabulary.

 

A.W.L. –  Academic Word List Download

This is a download of the Academic Word List in PDF format. It contains 540 non-subject specific words, divided into 10 sublists based on frequency (sublist 1 = most frequent). Overall, including all word forms = 3,000 words. Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

 Academic Word Formation: Sublist 1- 4 (updated 2020*)

This lesson is a word formation activity. Each table contains approximately 20 verbs and students need to add the corresponding nouns and adjectives. This then follows with a contextualised sentence gap fill using these words and a kinaesthetic activity. Good motivating activity encouraging students to use online dictionaries and help develop academic vocabulary.  Time: 30mins  Example  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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Academic Word List Lesson – Sublist 1-10 

This lesson includes the 10 sublists of the Academic Word List put into tables to be cut up and used as a teaching tool. Give out one set of words to a group of 3/4 students and they take it in turns to explain their word using synonyms, explanation and definition. There are lots of other activities included too.  Level ***** [B1/B2] TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Free Download

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Academic Word List Exercise x3

Three more Academic Word List gap fill exercises. Great way to improve awareness of academic words and word formation  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  Example /  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP.TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Academic Word List Games (four-in-a-row)

Academic Word game – Verbs to Nouns

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the noun for each verb. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality [webpage]. Medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  Example / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Academic Word game – Nouns to Adjectives

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the adjective for each noun. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality [webpage]. Difficult Level ***** [B2/C1]  Example / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

Academic Word game – Word + preposition

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the corresponding preposition for each word. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality [webpage]. medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  Example / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

 

Academic Word game – Word forms [n/v/adj]

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the correct form (each word in the grid has an acronym of the word to be guessed). The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality [webpage]. Medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]   Example /  TEACHER MEMBERSHIP

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