Tier 2 Vocabulary Lists | Grades K through 12

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Mia McDaniel
Grade Levels
K - 12th, Homeschool
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9 pages
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Mia McDaniel


Choosing which academic words to teach can be difficult! Researchers agree that vocabulary instruction should include TIER 2 words to get the most impact on speaking and writing across all settings (and across the curriculum). See 2 samples HERE.

After much research, I've compiled lists of words most widely accepted as crucial Tier 2 words and arranged them according to grade levels from K through 12th grade. You can easily print this resource and use it for all subjects. I hope you find these useful!


Tier 1 Vocabulary

Tier 1 vocabulary includes foundational language and common, basic words. Tier 1 words are mostly concrete and rarely have multiple meanings. Most children learn these words easily. Tier 3 are low-frequency words that are very specific to a subject. These include all that content-specific vocabulary (for science, math, ELA, history, etc.). While teaching Tier 3 words are worthwhile in a class such as biology or civics, it's the TIER 2 words that are most useful to students. Tier 2 words are academic words that students will see throughout their schooling all across content areas. Teach those to get the most bang for your buck!

Tier 2 Vocabulary

Tier 2 words are:

  • Words students will encounter in all subjects, on tests, and in rich conversations.
  • Words that important for comprehension
  • Words that may have multiple meanings
  • Words that help students sound like mature language users when writing and speaking
  • Words that appear across content areas

To learn HOW and WHY we should teach these - as well as methods of research-proven, effective methods for teaching vocabulary, check out my blog series all about vocabulary! Keep checking back for more posts in the series.

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Thanks for considering this resource for your instruction!

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Total Pages
9 pages
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