Literature-Based Word Lists

Literature Word Lists

VocabularySpellingCity provides a wide range of literature vocabulary word lists to support your students in their reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. English literature reading lists are provided at every grade for fiction and poetry, with drama beginning in 7th grade. Each grade, from kindergarten through 12th grade, features ten literature-based lists from works recommended by the Common Core State Standards. These text exemplars include classic stories, poems, and plays appropriate for each grade level. Read MoreRead Less

A Word About Reading Levels

At VocabularySpellingCity, we know that you need to teach your students at their reading level and that in every classroom a broad range of reading levels is to be expected. Where possible, we have provided three types of reading levels for stories. (NB: Reading levels are not measured for poetry or drama.)

  • The Grade Level Equivalent (GLE) is based on the median scores of students in a particular year and month of school. For example, a 3.5 GLE score represents the median reading level of students in the fifth month of third grade.
  • The Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Level (GRL) is given in alphabetical letters for schools using the Benchmark Assessment System. Levels range from A (kindergarten) to Z (8th grade).
  • The Lexile measure is another popular system of assessment and literature leveling that ranges from OL to 1700L and is also based on the median levels.
Grade Guided Reading Level (GRL) Lexile Framework for Reading (L)
1 F G H I J K Up to 300L
2 J K L M 140L to 500L
3 L M N O P 330L to 700L
4 Q R S T 445L to 810L
5 T U V 565L to 910L
6 V W 665L to 1000L
7 W X 735L to 1065L
8 Y Z 805L to 1100L
9 855L to 1165L
10 905L to 1195L
11 940L to 1210L
12 940L to 1210L

Each system works differently, but ranges are generally based on a combination of word count, text complexity, high-/low-frequency words, and sentence length as well as topic appropriateness and interest level. VocabularySpellingCity’s literature vocabulary word lists based on works cited by the Common Core State Standards are leveled within the 2-year grade bands suggested by the CCSS.

As there is no direct or absolute correspondence between these reading levels and actual grade levels, the table above is provided solely as a general guide. The levels are based on the interquartile range (IQR), as represented by the middle 50% of readers. The lower levels mark the 25th percentile and the higher the 75th percentile, meaning that 25% of students fall below those levels and 25% fall above those levels. As in most classrooms, your students likely represent a wide range of readers, and you strive to provide a wide range of reading material.

Choosing Literature for Your Students

VocabularySpellingCity’s literature lists include stories, poems, and plays of interest to students at different grade and reading levels. Short plot descriptions are provided to help you learn about works you are unfamiliar with, and reading levels help you know which books suit your students. Once you have made your choice, you’ll find a pre-made literature vocabulary list with words important to the text. For younger grades, literature lists may also include words from the story in rhyming pairs or Dolch sight words, words that will help students learn to read on their own. Upper elementary, middle, and high school lists as well as lower elementary read-aloud lists, help students learn the meanings of words in the text for greater reading comprehension. Although the focus is overwhelmingly on fictional works, the middle school vocabulary lists include non-fiction references as well.

Ready-Made Word Lists

You can use VocabularySpellingCity literature vocabulary word lists in different ways. Use them just as they are and have your students play games or take online spelling and definition tests; you can also print most games and activities for offline vocabulary worksheets or quizzes. Free registration allows you to import literature lists and add or modify them to match your English language arts curriculum goals. With a Premium Membership, students will enjoy premium online and printable activities that increase vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. At the same time, you can track student progress through the premium record-keeping features.

Common Core State Standards’ Reading, Literature, and Vocabulary Goals

Many of VocabularySpellingCity’s literature-based word lists refer to works named in the Common Core State Standards. All of our literature lists can help you help your students achieve their learning goals, from Kindergarten Reading Standards for Literature: “Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.” to 5th Grade Language Standards for Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: “Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.” In middle school Reading Standards for Literature, students should be able to: “Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone,” having prepared word lists for a reminder and practice will help students to internalize their new vocabulary. Throughout their school years, the inclusion of poetry in literature study helps students to understand and explore figurative language. Students’ improved understanding of vocabulary will help high schoolers meet this 9-12th grade standard: “Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.” VocabularySpellingCity’s word games help students to understand vocabulary in different contexts, gaining greater understanding of each word’s meaning.

Standardized Tests and Reading Comprehension

Strong vocabulary knowledge is a key component for doing well on state achievement tests such as Massachusetts’ MCAS, California’s CAT, or Florida’s FSA. As students reach the high school level, their vocabulary knowledge, reading comprehension, and specific literary repertoire are important factors for doing well on the SAT, ACT, or the GED examination. Early exposure and time to practice the rich vocabulary found in literature will help your students in vocabulary and comprehension sections of standardized testing.

Middle School Literature Vocabulary Lists

Covering 9th-12th grades

High School Literature Vocabulary