Vocabulary Lists

Non-Fiction

The Launch of Sputnik 1

On October 4, 1957, Russia launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit. This marked the beginning of the Space Race and sparked a great deal of panic in the U.S. Below is vocabulary compiled from the New York Times article published the next day.
16 Words

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

Charles Darwin expounded his theories on evolution in "The Origin of Species by Natural Selection." Learn the essential terms from his enduring work, originally published in 1859.
13 Words

"Democracy in America," Vocabulary from Introduction-Chapter 5

After traveling the United States, French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville produced "Democracy in America," a detailed analysis of the young nation. These words from Henry Reeve's translation focus on the origin and sovereignty of early 19th-century Anglo-Americans. Here are links to our lists for the text: Introduction-Chapter 5, Chapters 6-9, Chapters 10-15, Chapters 16-17, Chapter 18 Here are links to the full text: Democracy in America: Volume 1
40 Words

"Hidden Figures," Vocabulary from Prologue-Chapter 5

Use your mind to compute these words Margot Lee Shetterly used to describe "The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race." Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction narrative: Prologue-Chapter 5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-20, Chapter 21-Epilogue
45 Words

"Eats, Shoots & Leaves," Vocabulary from Introduction - The Tractable Apostrophe

Explaining real-life consequences of grammatical mistakes, Lynne Truss shows why we should take "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation." Here are links to our lists for the academic text: Introduction-The Tractable Apostrophe, That'll Do, Comma-Airs and Graces, Cutting a Dash-Merely Conventional Signs
45 Words

"March: Book Three" by John Lewis

Written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, Congressman John Lewis's award-winning graphic novel chronicles his experiences in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Here are our lists for other volumes in the trilogy: March: Book One, March: Book Two
27 Words

"A Long Way Gone," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-5

Recruited by the army at 13, Ishmael Beah survived the civil war in Sierra Leone and turned to words to fight against the use of child soldiers. Here are links to our lists for the memoir: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-21
40 Words

"The Double Helix," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-6

Learn these words from James D. Watson's personal account of the discovery of the helical structure of DNA. Here are the links to our lists from the scientific text: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-14, Chapters 15-22, Chapters 23-Epilogue
45 Words

"March: Book One" by John Lewis

Written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, Congressman John Lewis's award-winning graphic novel chronicles his experiences in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Here are our lists for other volumes in the trilogy: March: Book Two, March: Book Three
35 Words

"Life Is So Good," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-6

Think positively with these words from George Dawson, who told Richard Glaubman about his "extraordinary journey through the 20th Century and how he learned to read at age 98." Here are links to our lists for the memoir: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-12, Chapters 13-18, Chapters 19-24
40 Words

"The Glass Castle," Vocabulary from Parts I and II

"The Glass Castle" is a memoir about family, poverty, and growth. Learn these words found in Jeannette Walls's account of her childhood. Here are the links to our lists from the memoir: Parts I and II, Parts III, IV, and V
45 Words

"Fast Food Nation," Vocabulary from Introduction-Chapter 4

Realize the power of "The Dark Side of the All-American Meal" with these words from award-winning journalist Eric Schlosser. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Introduction-Chapter 4, Chapters 5-8, Chapter 9-Afterword
45 Words

"Into Thin Air," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-5

Conquer these words to understand the personal account Jon Krakauer gives of a May 1996 Mt. Everest disaster. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction narrative: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-21 For more challenges, go Into the Wild.
45 Words

"Night," Vocabulary from Sections 1-3

The horror and sheer misery of the Nazi concentration camps are represented in Elie Wiesel's "Night," which serves as a testament to the inhumanity man is capable of and a reminder to never let such a thing happen again. Learn these word lists for the memoir: Sections 1-3, Sections 4-5, Sections 6-9
40 Words

"Cosmos," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-5

To educate the world about the universe, Carl Sagan developed this book at the same time as the original 1980 television series. Learn this list of words used by the award-winning scientist, philosopher, and author. Here are links to our lists for the scientific text: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-9, Chapters 10-13
40 Words

"A Brief History of Time," Vocabulary from Foreword-Chapter 2

Learn this list of words used by physicist Stephen Hawking to explain theories of the universe. Here are links to our lists for the scientific text: Foreword-Chapter 2, Chapters 3-5, Chapters 6-8, Chapters 9-12, Einstein-Newton
40 Words

"Silent Spring," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-6

Learn the words used by Rachel Carson that brought attention to the destruction of the environment and motivated the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-9, Chapters 10-13, Chapters 14-17
40 Words

"Harriet Tubman," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-6

Her basket name was Minty, but she grew up to be known as "Moses of her people" and "Conductor on the Underground Railroad." Ann Petry focuses on describing the woman who secretly led slaves to the North, but also gives glimpses of the cook, nurse, scout, and spy who worked for the Union army to bring about constitutional freedom. Learn this list to find out more about the personal and historic life of Harriet Tubman. Here are links to our lists for the biography: Chapters 1-6, Chapters 7-12, Chapters 13-18, Chapters 19-22
40 Words

"Enrique's Journey," Vocabulary from Prologue-Chapter 3

The subtitle describes the story as "a boy's dangerous odyssey to reunite with his mother." Learn the words that helped the journalist Sonia Nazario earn the Pulitzer Prize for this touching work of nonfiction. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction narrative: Prologue-3, Chapters 4-6, Chapter 7-Afterword
40 Words

"Hole in My Life," Vocabulary from Part 1

In a high school surrounded by a twelve-foot fence, Jack Gantos imagined what life behind bars would be like; after graduating, he landed in prison, where he was scared into focusing on writing. Check out this list of words that transformed him into an award-winning author. Here are links to our lists for the memoir: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Here are links to our lists for his novels: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, Dead End in Norvelt
40 Words

"Between the World and Me," Vocabulary from Section 1

As a father, Ta-Nehisi Coates wants his son to understand that the world is not always kind, especially to black males. Through letters that combine personal memories with reflections on historical events, he shares insights and advice. Learn this list to see why his words won the National Book Award. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Section 1, Section 2, Section 3
40 Words

"Freakonomics," Vocabulary from Introduction-Chapter 2

This book's subtitle sheds light on its strange title: "A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything." Collaborating with the journalist Stephen J. Dubner, Steven D. Levitt calculates the incentives that affect behavior, which leads him to surprising points about people with seemingly different lives. If you want to think like a freak, study this list of words. Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Introduction-Chapter 2, Chapters 3-4, Chapter 5-Epilogue
45 Words

"Our America," Vocabulary from Part I

As 13-year-olds, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman were interviewed by National Public Radio. Learn this list to better understand their award-winning and heartbreaking stories about "Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago." Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Part I, Part II, Part III
30 Words

"The World Is Flat," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-2

Use this list of words to help you understand Thomas L. Friedman's analysis of globalization in "A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century." Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapters 5-9, Chapters 10-11, Chapter 13-Conclusion
40 Words

"The Hot Zone," Vocabulary from Part One

Handle this list with caution. These words were used by Richard Preston to tell "The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus." Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four
40 Words

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