View the video to learn more about the Text Project's network of words approach to vocabulary development.

Vocabulary resources from the Text Project

The Text Project is a non-profit organization in the US run by a former literacy education academic, Elfrieda H. Hiebert. Her approach to literacy development is to focus on teaching word families, what she calls networks of words. The instructional resources are based on extensive work she has done to organize 4,000 simple word families which account for 90% of the words in written English. While some of the resources, particularly the reading materials, aren't appropriate for adults, the word family approach to vocabulary development is well suited to adult learners. 

Level - Beginning to Grade 8

Copyright and CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 applied. Educators are encouraged to download and share all materials.

Core vocabulary word maps

The Core Vocabulary Project (CVP) Word Maps are an extensive and searchable collection of word maps that support vocabulary development by mapping connections using  semantics, word families, and multiple-meanings. The word maps can be used when teaching certain topics or subjects and to accompany a short story, reading passage or novel. 

Exceptional expressions

Exceptional Expressions for Everyday Events is a set of 32 lessons that supports vocabulary development by focusing on an "everyday concept and brainstorming other words that describe the concept" such as run or listen. The activities are designed to be used for a few minutes each day as part of reading, writing or having discussions. Download the complete set of 32 lessons.

Super synonym sets

Super Synonym Sets for Stories is an extension of the Exceptional Expressions lessons to focus on vocabulary used in narrative texts. Download the complete set of lessons. 

Academic vocabulary development

This site contains 38 Tier 2 vocabulary lessons for adult learners developed by the Adult Basic Skills Professional Development (ABSPD) team at Appalachian State University. Tier 2 words such as obvious, complex, reasoned, national, or informed often appear in textbooks and tests used in secondary schools. (Tier 1 words are commonly used words not tied to academic study.) All files are available as PDFs and MS Word.

Level - Secondary


Graphic from The New York Times Learning Network by Cindy Lozito.

Vocabulary activities from The New York Times

The main feature of The New York Times vocabulary activities is their word of the day activity. In addition, they describe 14 vocabulary activities you can use, many of which don't require using the newspaper. Another section, filled with fun and creative vocabulary development activities, is A Year of Language Play: Our Vocabulary Challenges and How You Can Use Them.

Level - Secondary

Copyrighted. Link sharing supported.

Do you know of other OER that we can add to this page? Get in touch: info@alphaplus.ca