Academic Vocabulary: Academic Words, 6th edition

Published by Pearson (January 5, 2016) © 2017

  • Amy E. Olsen Argosy Univesity
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For courses in Academic Vocabulary.

Helps students build and use strong vocabularies

Academic Vocabulary makes the study of vocabulary improvement interactive and enjoyable. Through thematic readings, self-tests, and interactive exercises, students can apply their skills to writing, personal experience, art, and many other formats that generate excitement about improving their vocabularies. Each activity plays on individual learning styles to help students learn new words in a large number of contexts.

The Sixth Edition retains the book’s strong visual appeal, as well as its philosophy that an essential part of learning vocabulary is repeated exposure to a word. As a result, it provides eight to ten exposures to each vocabulary word throughout the text, plus additional instances in the review section and activities throughout the book. With new readings and additional words, this edition of Academic Vocabulary offers greater exposure to a more diverse academic wordbase than ever before.

Also available with MyReadingLab

MyReadingLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Within its structured environment, students practice what they learn, test their understanding, and pursue a personalized study plan that helps them develop their reading skills and promotes transference of those skills to college-level work. Full-length readings and assignments from the text are available in the eText version of MyReadingLab, strengthening the connection between the classroom and work done outside of class.


Students, if interested in purchasing this title with MyReadingLab, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


Engaging activities to enhance vocabulary

  • NEW! Word Reactions activity instructs students to make lists of vocabulary words in different categories: words students like, words they find useful, or words they find especially difficult to pronounce. Students also have an opportunity to create their own category. The activity gets students to think about different aspects of a word and their feelings towards it, and thus connect more effectively with their vocabulary.
  • UPDATED! Conversation Starters offer new topics that give students the opportunity to start using vocabulary words from one chapter or for another section and in casual, oral settings.
  • UPDATED! Using the Dictionary section has been updated with a new Guide Words Practice exercise, and the section on using dictionary entries includes new information on dividing words into syllables.
  • Predicting Activities on the second page of each chapter allows students the opportunity to discern the meaning of a vocabulary word before looking at its definition to emphasize the value of context clues while reading.
  • UPDATED! Completing Analogies section has an updated matching and fill-in-the-blank exercise.  
  • Word Wise sections include six types of activities that teach students skills for vocabulary expression:
    • Internet Activities
    • Context Clue Mini-Lessons
    • Collocations
    • Word Pairs
    • Connotations and Denotations
    • Interesting Etymologies
  • Getting Started chapter familiarizes readers at the outset with the book’s learning objectives, dictionary entries, parts of speech, and analogy exercises. It also discusses the benefits of using flashcards and word maps.

Thematically organized academic readings

  • NEW and UPDATED! Two new and three updated readings, as well as ten new words and four new word parts have been added to the text.
  • Thematic Readings at the beginning of each chapter introduce ten new vocabulary words in context in a variety of formats, from worksheets to essays, to show students that new words can appear anywhere. Students have the opportunity to discover the meaning of these words via context clues rather than direct definitions.
  • Vocabulary Words are chosen from disciplines that most students will encounter during their academic careers to relate the text to students’ lives.

Ample practice and opportunities for application

  • Self-Tests in various formats include text and sentence completion, true/false situations, matching, and analogy exercises that allow students to practice critical thinking skills and monitor their learning.
  • Word Visions allow students to connect vocabulary words to visuals as part of self-tests or interactive exercises.
  • Interactive Exercises give students the chance to really think about the meaning of words and encourage them to start using them actively through writing, making lists, or answering questions.
  • Word Part Reminders are exercises that allow students to use the word parts they’ve learned in the chapter.
  • Review Chapters appear five times throughout the text and focus on the preceding four chapters. Each chapter divides words into different activity groups and test students’ cumulative knowledge of the text. Words appear in test, written, visual, puzzle, and collaborative formats.
  • Make Your Own Word Maps section teaches students to make word maps that focus on learning the definition, synonyms, and antonyms for a word.

Also available with MyReadingLab

MyReadingLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Within its structured environment, students practice what they learn, test their understanding, and pursue a personalized study plan that helps them develop their reading skills and promotes transference of those skills to college-level work. Full-length readings and assignments from the text are available in the eText version of MyReadingLab, strengthening the connection between the classroom and work done outside of class.
  • New Word Reactions activity instructs students to make lists of vocabulary words in different categories: words students like, words they find useful, or words they find especially difficult to pronounce. Students also have an opportunity to create their own category. The activity gets students to think about different aspects of a word and their feelings towards it, and thus connect more effectively with their vocabulary.
  • Two new and three updated readings, as well as ten new words and four new word parts have been added to the text.
  • Updated Conversation Starters offer new topics that give students the opportunity to start using vocabulary words from one chapter or for another section and in casual, oral settings.
  • Updated Using the Dictionary section has been updated with a new Guide Words Practice exercise, and the section on using dictionary entries includes new information on dividing words into syllables.
  • Updated Completing Analogies section has an updated matching and fill-in-the-blank exercise. 

Also available with MyReadingLab

MyReadingLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Within its structured environment, students practice what they learn, test their understanding, and pursue a personalized study plan that helps them develop their reading skills and promotes transference of those skills to college-level work. Full-length readings and assignments from the text are available in the eText version of MyReadingLab, strengthening the connection between the classroom and work done outside of class.

1. Composition: The Midterm

2. Mathematics: Work It Out

3. Biology: The Natural World

4. Word Parts I

5. Review: Focus on Chapters 1—4

6. Sociology: The Importance of Hello

7. Speech: Tips for Any Occasion

8. Foreign Languages: Welcome Additions

9. Geography: The Frozen Continent

10. Word Parts II

11. Review: Focus on Chapters 6—10

12. History: Mongolia Explored

13. Art: Two Views

14. Anthropology: Societies and Customs

15. Word Parts III

16. Review: Focus on Chapters 12—15

17. Political Science: Searching for the Ideal

18. Literature: Look Deeply

19. Computer Science: Concerns to Consider

20. Geology: Above and Below

21. Review: Focus on Chapters 17—20

22. Education: What’s Your Personality?

23. Film: On Location

24. Business: Shopping Made Easier

25. Chemistry: From Ancient to Modern Times

26. Review: Focus on Chapters 22—25

Amy E. Olsen grew up in a book-loving household in San Diego, California. While in elementary school, she and her brother competed to read the most books during the library’s summer-reading program, and whenever there was a question about a topic at the dinner table, a set of encyclopedias was within an arm’s reach. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from San Diego State University. She has taught a variety of courses including reading, composition, film, and literature in traditional and online classrooms. Her interests include traveling, hiking, bicycling, reading, gardening, taking photographs, and watching movies. She enjoys combining these hobbies while exploring the world; she has visited every continent and dreams of eventually traveling to every country. She has written four textbooks: Reading Now, Interactive Vocabulary, Active Vocabulary, and Academic Vocabulary. The three vocabulary books came out in sixth editions in 2016.

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