"Lucky" by Alice Sebold is the compelling true story of the author’s rape as a college freshman. This high-interest book can also help students increase their vocabulary. I have used this set of materials in a vocabulary development course for underprepared first-year students at my university. These materials are also suitable for high school students. This package includes six items.
(1) An 11-page list of 146 words from the book, listed in the order in which they appear. Page numbers and space for students to write definitions are included.
(2) A 50-question pre-assessment, which you can use to determine how many words students know before you begin instruction. This instrument can also be used as a post-assessment to gauge students’ progress. All 50 questions are multiple choice, and students must select the definition for each word. An answer key is included.
(3) A two-page exercise on 20 Latin and Greek word parts that appear in the words. This exercise is intended to be an in-class lesson, but it could also be used as a small-group activity.
(4) Three vocabulary tests, including an answer key for each one:
a. Test #1 covers words from pp. 1-61 and contains 22 questions. It covers a smaller number of words so students can see, early in the instructional unit, what the tests will be like. This may alleviate test anxiety.
b. Test #2 covers words from pp. 62-145 and contains 22 questions.
c. Test #3 covers words from pp. 145-243 and contains 33 questions. The first 14 questions are on words from pp. 145-243. The remaining 19 questions are review of words from earlier in the book
On all three tests, the questions are designed to be easier for students who are current with their reading. This creates an incentive for students to read. My tests do not include low-level learning questions such as matching words to definitions, because such questions only promote short-term memorization. Many questions on all three tests require both word knowledge and an understanding of the story. Here is an example:
During her sister Mary’s college graduation, Alice’s
family was aware that the trial was
a) remanded b) fabricated
c) imminent d) brusque
(5) A ten-question paired review exercise. Each question contains two words, and students must answer the question using high-order thinking skills. Here is an example: “If someone treated you condescendingly, would you be elated?” This review exercise, which could be a homework assignment or a small-group activity, promotes higher-order thinking skills (as opposed to rote memorization of definitions).
(6) A ten-question vocabulary exclusion exercise, which can also serve as review. Each question contains three words, and student must cross out the one word that does not belong in the group. Then they must explain why they excluded that word. This review exercise, which could be used as a homework assignment or a small-group activity, also promotes higher-level thinking skills.