Vocabulary Lists

Literature

"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

Santiago is a luckless Cuban fisherman who struggles to land a giant marlin. In spare, searing prose, Hemingway transforms the story of one man's battle with nature into a heroic ordeal. Here is a link to our lists for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
50 Words

"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly, Chapters 1–2

The year is 1899, and 11-year-old Callie enjoys studying Darwin and exploring the natural world with her grandfather — but her traditional mother wants Callie to spend her time engaged in "ladylike" pursuits like cooking and sewing. As a new century dawns, Callie must struggle to balance her desires and interests with the expectations of society. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–2, Chapters 3–6, Chapters 7–8, Chapters 9–15, Chapters 16–22, Chapters 23–28
35 Words

"American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, Chapters 1–4

After his release from prison, Shadow joins up with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday and finds himself embroiled in a war between old and new gods. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–4, Chapters 5–8, Chapters 9–13, Chapters 14–18, Chapter 19–Postscript Here are links to our lists for other works by Neil Gaiman: Coraline, The Graveyard Book
40 Words

"The Thing About Jellyfish" by Ali Benjamin, Parts 1–2

In this novel, a seventh grader struggles to come to terms with the drowning death of her best friend. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Parts 1–2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Parts 6–7
30 Words

"The Darkest Minds" by Alexandra Bracken, Chapters 1-6

When the children who survive a plague develop unusual powers, they are rounded up and imprisoned in rehabilitation camps. Sixteen-year-old Ruby escapes from confinement and joins up with a group of other children fighting back against the government. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-11, Chapters 12-15, Chapters 16-22, Chapters 23-31
30 Words

"The Miseducation of Cameron Post" by emily m. danforth, Chapters 1-4

After the death of her parents, a teenage girl struggles with her identity. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-12, Chapters 13-16, Chapters 17-19
20 Words

"The First Rule of Punk" by Celia C. Pérez, Chapters 1–9

Twelve-year-old Malú loves punk rock, but her mother and the strict principal at her new school definitely do not. With the help of her fellow "misfits," Malú fights to express who she truly is. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–9, Chapters 10–19, Chapters 20–38
35 Words

"The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner, List 1: April Seventh, 1928

A fragmented history of the Compson family, this novel plays with language, chronology, and perspective. Here are links to our lists for the novel: April Seventh, 1928; June Second, 1910; April Sixth, 1928; April Eighth, 1928 Here are links to our lists for other works by William Faulkner: A Rose for Emily, Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying
30 Words

"Lucky Broken Girl" by Ruth Behar, Parts I and II

Recent immigrants from Cuba, Ruthie and her family are just learning to adjust to life in New York City when Ruthie is severely injured in a car accident. This novel, based in part on the author's childhood experiences, won the 2018 Pura Belpré Award. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Parts I and II, Part III, Parts IV and V
40 Words

"When I Was the Greatest" by Jason Reynolds, Chapters 1–3

In his debut novel, award-winning writer Jason Reynolds tells the story of Ali, a teenager who tries to stay out of trouble in his gritty Brooklyn neighborhood. But when one of his friends is attacked, Ali is drawn into a real fight – with real consequences. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–6, Chapters 7–9, Chapters 10–12, Chapters 13–16 Here are links to our lists for other books by Jason Reynolds: All American Boys, The Boy in the Black Suit, Long Way Down, Ghost, Patina
30 Words

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's personal experiences, "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a woman who is forbidden from working due to "nervous depression" and begins to obsess over the unusual wallpaper in her room.
40 Words

"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith, List 1

In this mystery by Robert Galbraith (a pen name for J.K. Rowling), detective Cormoran Strike investigates the suspicious death of a supermodel. This list includes vocabulary from the Prologue and Part One. Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4, List 5, List 6
40 Words

"Dread Nation" by Justina Ireland, Prologue–Chapter 4

The American Civil War ends abruptly when fallen soldiers begin to rise from the dead and attack the living. Like many Native American and African American children, Jane is conscripted into a combat school to learn to fight these so-called "shamblers." But when Jane heads to the West to search for a missing girl, she encounters dangers even more perilous than zombies. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Prologue–Chapter 4, Chapters 5–9, Chapters 10–15, Chapters 16–23, Chapters 24–29, Chapters 30–38
35 Words

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley, Letter 1–Chapter 4

In this groundbreaking novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein works feverishly to bring an inanimate creature to life — but when he finally succeeds, he is horrified by what he has unleashed. Read the full text here. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Letter 1–Chapter 4, Chapters 5–9, Chapters 10–14, Chapters 15–19, Chapters 20–24
30 Words

"There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury

In this short story, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury imagines an eerie, desolate world in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Here are links to our lists for other works by the award-winning author: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, A Sound of Thunder, All Summer in a Day, August 2026, Marionettes, Inc., The Black Ferris, The Drummer Boy of Shiloh, The Flying Machine, The Pedestrian, The Veldt
25 Words

"Death, be not proud" by John Donne

This poem is one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets, a series of nineteen connected poems in which Donne explores his spiritual devotion. Read the poem here. Here are links to our lists for other poems by John Donne: "The Canonization", "The Flea", "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning", "Song: Go and catch a falling star", "The Sun Rising"
14 Words

"To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman

This poem commemorates the early death of a young athlete. The speaker notes that, because the athlete died in the prime of his life, he will always be remembered as youthful and victorious.
14 Words

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This narrative poem, written in a meter that recalls the sound of a galloping horse’s hooves, tells the apocryphal story of Paul Revere warning colonial Americans of a looming British invasion. Read the poem here.
25 Words

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's uplifting poem affirms the power of resilience, self-love, and joy in the face of oppression. Read the poem here. Here are links to our lists for other works by Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Pulse of Morning
16 Words

"Digging" by Seamus Heaney

After watching his father digging outside, the speaker of this poem compares his father's labor to his own work as a writer. Read the text here.
16 Words

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

The speaker of this poem, who is mourning a lost love, is visited in the night by a raven who speaks a single word: "Nevermore." Read the full text here. Here are links to our lists for other works by Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Purloined Letter, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, The Murders in the Rue Morgue
35 Words

"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In Tennyson's poem, the hero Ulysses (Odysseus) has returned from his voyages but longs for new adventures. Read the text here.
32 Words

"Morning Song" by Sylvia Plath

This poem explores the alienation that the speaker feels after the birth of her baby. Read the text here.
15 Words

"A Noiseless Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman

The speaker of this poem observes a spider using its silk to explore its surroundings and then compares his soul to the title arachnid. Read the full text of the poem here.
12 Words

"Birches" by Robert Frost

The speaker of this poem recalls his childhood pastime of climbing and swinging from birch trees. Read the poem here. Here are our lists for other poems by Robert Frost: "The Death of the Hired Man", "After Apple-Picking", "Mending Wall", "Out, Out—"
22 Words

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