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  1. A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn Irving
    This novel traces an unconventional friendship between two boys living in New Hampshire in the 1950s and 60s.
  2. The Nickel BoysColson Whitehead
    This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, based on historical events, traces the harrowing story of two boys sent to a Florida...
  3. Love from A to ZS.K. Ali
    After she gets suspended from school, Zayneb takes a trip to Qatar, where she meets Adam, who is coping with the loss of...
  4. Prairie LotusLinda Sue Park
    In this historical novel, Hanna, a girl with Chinese heritage, moves to the Dakota Territory in 1880 and struggles to...
  5. The Field Guide to the North American TeenagerBen Philippe
    After relocating to Austin, Texas, a Canadian teenager attempts to make sense of American culture.
  6. True GritCharles Portis
    In this Western, a fourteen-year-old girl attempts to avenge her father's death.

"The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol

In this classic Russian short story, a low-level bureaucrat's life is upended when he attempts to...
35 Words

"St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves" by Karen Russell

In this short story, the narrator and other girls raised by wolves try to adapt to life in human...
45 Words

"The Palace Thief" by Ethan Canin

In this story, a classics teacher at an elite prep school must interrogate his own ethics when he...
45 Words

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus, a poet and Jewish activist, wrote this poem to raise money for a pedestal for the...
10 Words
  1. The New Jim CrowMass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
    In this award-winning book, civil rights lawyer Michelle Alexander argues that the American criminal justice system...
  2. The Last LectureRandy Pausch
    After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, professor Randy Pausch wrote this inspirational book about achieving one's...
  3. A Long Way HomeSaroo Brierley
    In this memoir, Brierley, who was adopted by an Australian couple, describes his search for his family of origin in...
  4. Letters to a Young PoetRainer Maria Rilke
    Translated from the original German by Stephen Mitchell, this collection of letters explores the poet's craft and...
  5. Killers of the Flower MoonThe Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBIDavid Grann
    In this true crime book, David Grann investigates the murders of members of Osage Nation in the 1920s.
  6. Tracking TrashFlotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean MotionLoree Griffin Burns
    This installment of the Scientists in the Field series explores how trash circulates and accumulates in the world's...

"The Origin of Species by Natural Selection" by Charles Darwin: Essential Words

Charles Darwin expounded his theories on evolution in "The Origin of Species by Natural Selection."...
13 Words

"Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell

George Orwell reflects on imperialism as he recounts an incident that occurred when he was a police...
30 Words

"Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

In this essay, novelist Amy traces her development as a writer by reflecting on the ways she and her...
20 Words

"Nature" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This 19th-century transcendentalist essay argues that spending time in nature helps people resist...
30 Words

Some Helpful Poetry Terms

One of the stumbling blocks when trying to study poetry is that it seems like a different world....
24 Words

The New SAT: Language of the Test - List #1

How can you perform well on the new reading section of the SAT if you don’t fully understand the...
25 Words

ASVAB Word Knowledge

The Word Knowledge subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a vocabulary...
100 Words

The New SAT: Words to Capture Tone - List #1

On the New SAT, all of the Reading Test questions are multiple choice and are based on reading...
25 Words

The New SAT: Multiple-Meaning Words List #1

Context is king -- that’s the lesson you need to internalize as you begin preparing for the...
25 Words

PARCC: Language of the Test (Grade7)

Before you can answer a question on the PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy section, you first need...
45 Words

PARCC: Language of the Test (Grade 11)

Before you can answer a question on the PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy section, you first need...
70 Words

Tier 2 Words for the SBAC ELA Items

Here are 68 Tier 2 words that are likely to be found on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium...
68 Words

In the Know: Cogn, Conn

Knowledge is power, so learn these words that derive from the Latin roots cogn and conn, meaning...
12 Words

Perfect Ten: Dec, Cent, Mille

These words derive from the Latin roots dec ("ten"), cent ("hundred"), and mille ("thousand"). Start...
14 Words

Power Suffix: -scope

Have a close look at this list of words that include the suffix -scope, meaning "an instrument for...
10 Words

English Words Derived from Arabic

All of the English words on this lists have Arabic origins. While some, like caliph and imam,...
22 Words

Power Suffix: -escence

Learn this list of words that include the suffix -escence, meaning the "process or state of being."
12 Words

Power Suffix: -acy

Derived from Latin, the English suffix -acy in English means "the state of" or "the quality or...
18 Words

More English Words Derived from Yiddish

English has borrowed many words from Yiddish, which is itself an amalgam of German, Russian, Hebrew...
15 Words

Body Parts: Neur ("Nerve")

You've got a lot of nerve — so learn this list of words that derive the Latin word neuron, meaning...
12 Words

"The Declaration of Sentiments" (1848)

The Declaration of Sentiments was presented in July 1848 at the first Women's Rights Convention in...
30 Words

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

Shortly before the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams appointed many judges and justices....
40 Words

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)

In 1951, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) recruited 13 parents...
35 Words

The Constitution of the United States

The Constitution is, quite simply, the basis of American democracy. The document details what the...
40 Words

The Federalist Papers, No. 70 by Alexander Hamilton

Published on March 18, 1788, this essay argues that the executive office should be led by a strong...
40 Words

The Federalist Papers, No. 41 by James Madison

This essay was published on January 19, 1788. In it, Madison weighs the pros and cons of the...
40 Words

The Federalist Papers, No. 23 by Alexander Hamilton

In this essay, published on December 18, 1787, Hamilton argues that the federal government must be...
40 Words

The Federalist Papers, No. 9 by Alexander Hamilton

This essay was published on November 21, 1787 in response to objectors who did not think that the...
40 Words

"Ideas Live On" by Benazir Bhutto (2007)

In this speech, Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, argues for the importance of...
25 Words

Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" (1863)

At just 272 words long, Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" is widely considered to be one of the...
14 Words

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" (1967)

In this speech, delivered at Riverside Church in New York City, King expresses his opposition to the...
45 Words

"What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" by Frederick Douglass

In this powerful speech delivered on July 5, 1852, abolitionist Frederick Douglass argued that the...
50 Words

Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman?" (1863)

Sojourner Truth's speech at the 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Ohio asked a question that could...
20 Words

President Trump's Second State of the Union Address (2019)

President Trump delivered his second State of the Union Address on February 5, 2019. The President...
25 Words

Figurative Language in King's "I Have a Dream" Speech (1963)

Learn the vocabulary that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used to inspire a generation to break free...
30 Words

Richard Nixon's "Checkers Speech" (1952)

In September, 1952, Richard Nixon, a young senator from California, was nominated to run for Vice...
36 Words

Check It Out, Mate: Chess Vocabulary

Widely recognized as one of the greatest and most difficult board games in the world, chess...
22 Words

'Tis A Gift To Be Simple: Words For National Simplicity Day

The mathematician-philosopher Alfred North Whitehead famously said "Seek simplicity, and distrust...
14 Words

Star-Spangled Vocabulary: Patriotic Words

Love of country is a powerful motivating force, leading us to vote, advocate, protest peacefully,...
14 Words

Gross, Anatomy!

The human body is a treasure trove of vocabulary, from the tiniest blood vessel to the biggest bone....
19 Words

Strike A Pose: Positions and Posture

These words describe all sorts of ways that we move, rest, or arrange our limbs. Don't just stand...
20 Words

Dirty Words: The Language of Gardening

Do you have a green thumb? Whether you live on a farm or have a pot of herbs on your kitchen...
20 Words

The Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

Summer is a season for fun activities, but set aside some time for just chilling, maybe with a book,...
13 Words

Seas The Day: Words That Shore Are Beachy

Avoid pier pressure on your next trip to the beach with this salty list of maritime vocabulary.
17 Words

This Week In Culture: June 27–July 3, 2020

Culture never sleeps — even during a pandemic — and these timely words from a variety of...
10 Words

This Week In Words: June 27–July 3, 2020

Stories about new laws in Russia and China and more political and pandemic news in the U.S....
10 Words

This Week In Culture: June 20–26, 2020

Sports! Are they coming back? With leagues looking to resume play, a number of sports stories served...
10 Words

This Week In Words: June 20–26, 2020

Stories about an Arctic heat wave, a worsening U.S. pandemic, and the President's Tulsa rally lead...
10 Words

This Week In Words: June 13–19, 2020

Stories on questions about the President's health, conduct, and decision to hold a rally in Tulsa,...
10 Words

This Week In Culture: June 13–19, 2020

Stories about space travel, more repercussions from the Black Lives Matter protests, and a WNBA...
10 Words

This Week In Culture: June 6–12, 2020

Stories about cancelled shows, cancelled people, banned flags, and buried treasure all provided...
10 Words

This Week In Words: June 6–12, 2020

Stories about high-profile resignations, a possible post-police Minneapolis, and controversy...
10 Words

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