Oxford Word Lists
The Oxford Word Lists resource is a new online teaching resource that has application to students in many different learning situations and in many different ESL English lesson plans. The word lists have been compiled by researchers at Oxford University Press and have been based on samples taken from students in the first three years of school. The purpose was to collect recent samples of the most frequently used words of students in those year levels. The word lists can then be broken down into various student profiles, such as:
- year level
- indigenous speaker
- English Language or Non English Language background speaker
- living location, e.g. urban or city living
Teachers should note that the word lists do have some restrictions placed upon their usage. You need to read the website details carefully to ensure you are not breaching copyright by using the word lists, and contact Oxford University Press.
The major advantage of these word lists are that they are based on modern writing samples from a large sample size of students. They therefore contain a variety of words that are a part of our modern way of life (e.g. computer), which may not be the case with word lists that have been based on research and text analysis from many years ago.
Teachers are even able to customize the word lists to suit the type of reading or writing that a student will be doing. This is an ideal way to improve vocabulary for specific purposes, such as in ESL English lesson plans related to learning medical, office-based or other work or academic-specific situations, or English for everyday literacy purposes. For example, if students are learning about expository writing or narrative writing, they can be given access to word lists that relate specifically to that type of writing genre. This increases the chance that English language learners are able to read and write using words from their sight vocabulary that are appropriate to the topic and style of writing being taught.
When used in conjunction with other learning methods such as phonics, decoding skills and the use of tools such as online and print dictionaries and spell checkers, word lists such as this one from Oxford can be a useful teaching approach for English language learners, and should rank as one of your important class activities for teaching learning disabilities students.