The Best English Vocabulary Books of 2021

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Are your students having a difficult time grasping English vocabulary?  Are you looking to accelerate you or your child’s learning and ensure a robust and versatile vocabulary? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, you have come to the right place.  This list will provide you with the best English vocabulary books for creating a diverse and understandable vocabulary.

Imagine your child attempting to communicate with someone and not being able to find a word to fit what they are trying to say.  They hurriedly choose the wrong word, which completely changes the meaning of the sentence to avoid embarrassment.  This scenario can be avoided with the use of the books on this list.  Keep reading to find out the best books to improve English vocabulary and vocabulary exercise books.

After you’re done reading this, if you’re looking to boost your grammar skills, check this post out.

Our Top Favorite
Big Words for Little People
Our Top Runner Up
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Our Top Value Pick
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: With more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits!
Book Title
Big Words for Little People
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
The Dictionary of Difficult Words
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
Big Words for Little People
Book Title
Big Words for Little People
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Book Title
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: With more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits!
Book Title
The Dictionary of Difficult Words
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

Our Favorites for the Best English Vocabulary Books

Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

Jamie Lee Curtis may be known as a great actress; however, another of her hidden talents is being a published author.  She has published seven children books in conjunction with Laura Cornell and Jamie Lee Curtis to aid children in learning and growing.  This is Laura Cornell, and their eighth book is.  Big Words for Little People will help your little person communicate in a word full of big people.  The premise is that a small kid can use big words too.  Use this book to get your child happy about learning and expand their vocabulary without them even know they are learning.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book is a humorous addition to your arsenal.
  • Kids will not only enjoy the imagery of the books; they will also enjoy the emphasis placed on each word as it is shown within the pages of the story.
  • The book has a natural flow.  The words are placed within the context of scenarios to help children understand the meaning.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • If you are looking for a vocabulary book for your child between the ages of four to eight years old, this is perfect.
  • The book introduces topics at a child’s level and in ways that they can understand.
  • Many parents and teachers say that the children enjoyed using the book and often began using the words almost immediately.
  • The book teaches words like privacy, patience, impossible, and so many more that your little one may not have learned yet.

On Sale
Big Words for Little People
  • HarperCollins
  • Hardcover Book
  • Curtis, Jamie Lee (Author)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Word Power Made Easy: The Complete Handbook for Building a Superior Vocabulary by Norman Lewis

Word Power Made Easy is a highly-recommended book when it comes to learning new vocabulary.  The book will help individuals not only expand their vocabulary but speak more confidently and read more effectively. It will also aid in things like pronunciation.  Norman Lewis books are highly educational and centered around English, grammar, and word power.  He was not only an author but a leading authority on grammar and English.

What Makes It Unique: 

  • The text provides sure-fire methods for expanding your vocabulary.
  • The author also teaches users how to figure out unfamiliar words as well as providing phonetic pronunciations for each word.
  • Word Power Made Easy is not just a list of words; it includes quizzes to ensure that you are retaining the information, progress checks, and even reviews.
  • Though it was first published more than sixty years ago, the words and the methods are still the same.
  • Users will also receive methods to dispel common spelling mistakes and grammar lessons.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • Teachers and even professionals highly recommend this book.
  • Individuals who used this book 70 years ago still recommend this book today.
  • This is an excellent vocabulary workbook for older children or even adults. If you want to give your child a jumpstart for college, this is a great gift.

Word Power Made Easy: The Complete Handbook for Building a Superior Vocabulary
  • Word Power Made Easy The Complete Handbook for Building a Superior Vocabulary
  • Lewis, Norman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


504 Absolutely Essential Words Sixth Edition by Murray Bromberg

This is not only one of the best books to improve English vocabulary for middle schoolers and beyond it is an excellent book for students looking to take English as a second language.

What Makes It Unique:

  • This too is not merely a list of words but instead a workbook which includes exercises and information.
  • Within the text, lessons introduce new words with a series of sentences and even short articles.
  • However, before beginning the text, the author provides a guide on how to use the book. There are several options when doing so, and it is all done based on preference.
  • Words are introduced 12 at a time. The author will provide the meaning of the words as well as a series of articles, including the words and some fun exercises to keep readers intrigued.
  • The text also includes bonus sections which introduce three hundred words which are essential but more advanced than the words previously introduced as well as one hundred of the most commonly misspelled words.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This is a great book which can be used at home or in the classroom for building vocabulary and creating well-rounded writers and speakers.
  • This is also a great book to use when preparing for standardized tests or exams.

On Sale
504 Absolutely Essential Words
  • Bromberg, Murray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 176 Pages - 03/01/2005 (Publication Date) - Barron's Educational Series (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Runner-Ups for the Best English Vocabulary Books

100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know by the American Heritage Dictionaries

This American Heritage Dictionary text is excellent for preparing your child for high school.  If you are looking for what to give your child to jumpstart their vocabulary this perfect.  The book is small but mighty and hand-picked to represent concepts and areas which they will need for high school.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Within the dictionary, each is not only fully defined but also used in context.
  • Each word includes example sentences and quotations which are taken from authors you may already be familiar with.
  • This book includes words like accentuate, analogy, and antibody. These are all words that students will encounter in high school, and it will be helpful if they know the meanings.
  • The text also includes a pronunciation guide. This guide can be used to ensure that readers know how to pronounce not only the 100 words listed but others as well. They can use these pages as a reference for other words they may not know in other texts.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This book can be excellent for students who never enjoy doing leisure reading and are merely looking to bolster their vocabulary for high school writing.
  • You can also give this to your teen to ensure they have a full and well-rounded vocabulary.

100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • American Heritage Dictionaries, Editors Of The (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

The Word Collector is another excellent book for the little ones. It can be a great book to elicit conversation and teach your child new words. It is told in the form of a story.  Though people like to collect many things, Jerome collects words from any and every one.

What Makes It Unique:

  • This book though formatted in the style of a traditional picture book emphasizes different words on each page, some larger than others.
  • Throughout the book, definitions may be interpreted from the picture or will require you and your child to look them up. Parents can use this book to provide a lesson in learning how to use the dictionary as well.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • Word Collector is appealing to parents and teachers for numerous reasons. One reason is that this book uses a boy of color to emphasize words and learning. Many minority parents and teachers were happy about this as it increased the relation factor with some students.
  • Students and parents are in for a pleasant surprise at the end as Jerome provides a message to the world around him.
  • The Word Collector demonstrated the importance of words and reading in general. It allows children to see everything that words can create.

The Word Collector
  • Peter H. Reynolds (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/18/2021 (Publication Date) - Scholastic, Inc. (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


The Vocabulary Builder Workbook: Simple Lessons and Activities to Teach Yourself Over 1,400 Must-Know Words by Chris Lele

Chris Lele is convinced that flashcards are not the only way to learn words, and from there the Vocabulary Builder Workbook was born. This book includes exercise and information which will aid students in expanding their vocabulary.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book includes a brief introduction section which allows students and parents to understand how the text should be used. It also includes a pronunciation guide which can be used as a guide for any book.
  • From the introduction, the book is divided into 200 lessons.  These lessons include a series of activities and tasks to aid in retaining words and their definitions.
  • Each section is concise but informative.  Each lesson also covers a wide variety of words.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This is an excellent option for students looking to take the SAT or the GRE in the near future.
  • If you are looking to build your writing and speaking skills by expanding your vocabulary, this is a great option.
  • This is perfect for high school or even college-level students looking to expand their vocabulary.

On Sale
The Vocabulary Builder Workbook: Simple Lessons and Activities to Teach Yourself Over 1,400 Must-Know Words
  • Lele, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 254 Pages - 03/20/2018 (Publication Date) - Zephyros Press (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


English for Everyone: Level 1: Beginner, Course Book: A Complete Self-Study Program by DK

If you are learning English as a second language or would simply like your child to practice with words more. This book is the perfect book. English for Everyone comes with information and engaging exercises for students. Users can even purchase a companion practice book.  The English for Everyone series is perfect for individuals taking exams like the TOEFL or just looking to broaden their knowledge base.

What Makes It Unique: 

  • The text includes information on speaking in everyday conversations. It covers topics like a person’s likes and dislikes, occupations, health-related information, and speaking in the present.
  • English as a Second Language includes a variety of exercises and is helpful no matter what learning style you may have. These may include listening, writing, and even speaking.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • With the companion text, this a complete English beginner course.  If that is what you are looking for, look no further.
  • The book provides a natural progression from lesson to lesson.  It includes some grammar to aid in understanding.
  • This text is also perfect for ESL teachers who are looking for ways to keep students engaged and find material for the classroom.

On Sale
English for Everyone: Level 1 Course Book - Beginner English
  • Dk Pub
  • DK (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-09-01


The Value Picks for the Best English Vocabulary Books

The Dictionary of Difficult Words by Jane Solomon

The Dictionary of Difficult Words is great for kids as it includes over 400 new and challenging words for them to retain. These are not just any words; they are words which will amuse and even confuse some. The dictionary emphasis words you may or may not know and puts the fun in learning them.

What Makes It Unique:

  • This is not a traditional dictionary.  It is colorful and will draw the reader in.  Jane Solomon opens the book by explaining what a dictionary is and using some funky words like, spaghettification to do so.  She also briefly goes into the many ways this book can be used.
  • Clouds are placed throughout the book to provide extra information about the word being taught.
  • The author highlights some words giving them a full-page spread to show their meaning in photos.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This is an original book, and many parents and teachers find creative ways to utilize this text in the classroom or at home.
  • The book is versatile. It has big words, small words, and even some of the longest words you have seen. It is fun for kids and adults.  There are words in this text that even some adults don’t know.

On Sale
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: With more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits!
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jane Solomon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-09-01


100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know by the Editors of the American Heritage Dictionary

100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know is another excellent text for high school students. It focuses in on words which are pertinent for college and can also be found on tests like the SAT, ACT or GRE.  The words presented in this text are done so with that in mind.

What Makes It Unique:

  • Each word is defined and includes information to aid you in understanding its meaning.  This includes sample sentences and even excerpts from famous authors like Willa Cather and even Edgar Allen Poe.
  • The text also includes a pronunciation guide which can be used as a reference guide for other words or passages.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This is an excellent book for high school students as they begin to transition into a new part of their lives. This book can also be good for adults who may not have retained as much information as they would have liked in high school.
  • A great book for learning essential vocabulary words, and many teachers say they even include it in their lesson plans.

100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know
  • Houghton mifflin
  • Binding: paperback
  • Language: english

Last update: 2021-08-31


Painless Vocabulary by Michael Greenberg

Painless Vocabulary by Greenberg is a Barron’s book whose goal is to make learning vocabulary fun. The book is aimed at middle school and even beginning high school students. It covers a wide range of topics from synonyms and antonyms to concepts like onomatopoeia.  The Painless series includes several books to keep readers engaged while learning what may seem like difficult subjects. These include grammar, writing, and even reading comprehension.

What Makes It Unique:

  • The book has a unique way of teaching vocabulary. It is taught through a series of exercises which may include fill in the blank stories, definition practice, brain ticklers, and so much more. These are used to unknowingly quiz children on the words they have learned and apply them in entertaining stories.
  • Aside from merely defining a word, the text also provides details on its Latin root words and multiple meanings. The words are introduced in a way that feels more like reading a book than simply reading a definition.

Why Choose this English Vocabulary Book:

  • This book comes highly recommended by parents and is a great way to keep children entertained while learning.
  • Many parents used this book for children who traditionally don’t like to read. There are typically 15 words per chapter. The short length in each section can be great for completing a chapter a day or having students complete one lesson each day in school.

Painless Vocabulary (Barron's Painless)
  • Barrons Educational Series Inc
  • Greenberg M.A., Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Summary of the Best English Vocabulary Books

We’ve gone over a lot today. Here’s a helpful table to consolidate every english vocabulary book we went over:

Our Top Favorite
Big Words for Little People
Our Top Runner Up
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Our Top Value Pick
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: With more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits!
Book Title
Big Words for Little People
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
The Dictionary of Difficult Words
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
Big Words for Little People
Book Title
Big Words for Little People
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Book Title
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
The Dictionary of Difficult Words: With more than 400 perplexing words to test your wits!
Book Title
The Dictionary of Difficult Words
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-08-31

There are several books that you can consider when looking for the top English Vocabulary books.  The books in this list have been recommended by several students, teachers, and individuals who are seeking to expand their vocabulary.  Use this list as a reference when looking for the perfect vocabulary books for middle school or even vocabulary books for high school students. No matter what category they may fall under, there is something for everyone on this list. If your child is just getting started with the English Language or learning English as a second language, Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis or First 100 Words by Roger Priddy are two great options to expand their big little vocabulary. If you are looking for something for your middle schooler, 100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know.  Regardless of your age or skill level, there is something on this list for everyone.  That includes mom, dad, sister, or brother, no matter their age.

Did you find this helpful? You may also enjoy our guide to the best middle school grammar books here.

You may also want to check some of the reading book lists we have reviewed: 

> The Best Books for Middle School Boys

> The Best Books for Middle School Girls

> The Best Middle Grade Books of All Time

> The Best Middle School Summer Reading List

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