The Academic Word List (AWL)
The AWL is organized into ten subsets, arranged in the order of frequency that the words appear in academic text. The words are arranged alphabetically within each subset. The sooner students learn the words in Subset 1, the more capable they will be as readers of informational text at the elementary level. Subset 1 contains the words that are the most common in academic text, followed by Subset 2, and so on. 
 
Learning the words on the AWL is not a matter of learning definitions. As you look the list over yourself, think about how you learned these words. You probably learned very few of them, if any, by being explicitly taught their meanings or by consulting a dictionary. You learned them by being in school and by participating in conversations that used these words. You learned to broaden and narrow their meanings as a result of repeated exposure in a variety of contexts and forms. 
 
The AWL words should be ‚Äúcaught, not taught,‚ÄĚ which is to say, you should use them consciously, purposefully, and consistently in your speech, and help students understand them in their readings. By giving students a ‚Äúconcentrated dose‚ÄĚ of the words, subset by subset over a period of time throughout the school year, you ensure that these important words become more and more familiar to your students. In addition, you can and should reinforce them through game-playing and puzzle-solving (Chapter XXX).¬†
 
The words below, along with Spanish cognates, where applicable, are a slightly modified version of the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000). 
 
 
Why Include Spanish Cognates? 
 
The word cognate itself has a Latin root, meaning common (co-) birth (gnasci).  It is related to the words recognize and even the word know. It is obvious that that Spanish cognates are a convenient bridge to English for Spanish speakers. What may be less obvious is that English speakers who don’t even know any Spanish (or the other Romance languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian) can deepen their understanding of Tier II English words just by hearing the Spanish cognates and seeing them in written form. As sound-alikes and look-alikes, these cognates offer one more dimension of exposure and opportunity to process. Learning about cognates improves a student’s awareness of structural analysis. As students notice certain word endings in Spanish (-amente, -edad, -oso, etc.), they become more aware of the corresponding word endings in English (-ly, -tude, -ious, etc.). Strategic awareness of cognates benefits everyone. 
 
According to the United States Census Bureau (2012), approximately eight and a half million school-aged children (in the United States) speak Spanish, either primarily or in addition to English. Some 70% of American English Language Learners are native Spanish speakers, so we‚Äôre talking about a very significant segment of our school population who can benefit from efforts that help them use their Spanish to access English, especially academic English. ‚ÄúMany ELLs do not automatically recognize cognates in their second language and need explicit cognate instruction to help them use their Spanish to learn English.¬† On the other hand, even kindergarteners can be taught to use cognates. Any teacher can teach cognates: you do not have to speak Spanish. Dip into the NTC‚Äôs Dictionary of Spanish Cognates by Rose Nash‚ÄĚ (Borah-Geller).¬†
 
<box>For those who are already bilingual in Spanish and English, pointing out cognates makes immediate sense. For those who are conversant only in Spanish, pointing out cognates will help them learn English, especially the Tier II (words of academics and business). And monolingual native speakers of English can also benefit from learning Spanish cognates.
Unsurprisingly, about 90% of the words on the Academic Word List (AWL) have Spanish cognates (and cognates in other Latin-based languages: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian) <end box>
 
Native Spanish speakers will at first and naturally ascribe the meaning of the Spanish word to its English ‚Äúversion.‚Ä̬† Not all cognates convert to exactly the same meaning in both languages. But that fact in itself can give us insight into the word‚Äôs meaning in English. For example, the Spanish word actualmente means currently, not actually, as you might think. But when you understand that there is a relationship between currently and actually, you get a deeper understanding of both words. Here‚Äôs another example: the Spanish word decepci√≥n means disappointment, not, as you might think, deception. But thinking about the poignant relationship between deception and disappointment gives you deep insight into both words in English. Comparison-contrast is a key form of critical thinking.
 
Words that appear to be cognates but are actually not are like people that you could swear are related because of their similar appearances, but who are actually not. We call such unrelated but look-alike words false cognates. Only about 10% of word pairs are false cognates. For example, the Spanish word carpeta means folder, not carpet. The Spanish word asistir means to attend, not to assist. But most Spanish words that look like English words do share a meaning, but sometimes the shared meaning requires that you do some convergent thinking (thinking about similarities in seemingly unlike things). 
 
Knowledge of Spanish and other Latin-based languages is a rich power source for learning the set of words on the Academic Word List (AWL). Knowing these words can mean the difference between success and frustration at school.¬† Even if students are exposed to conversational English outside of school, the English words they are exposed to are probably Tier I. Tier I words in English are Germanic-based, for the most part. Germanic-based words are not Spanish cognates, so conversations among friends may not lead to learning academic English words.¬† For example, a child may quickly learn the English words ball, or play ball, or play ball with us after school. That‚Äôs great, but we don‚Äôt talk or read about playing ball when learning in the classroom. For classroom learning, though, we do use close to a hundred words that derive from the Spanish verb tener, to have‚ÄĒa word that is definitely in the Spanish-speaking child‚Äôs vocabulary. But, with that simple word‚ÄĒtener‚ÄĒa Spanish-speaking child can unlock words used in academic life, including: retain, detain, obtain, attain, maintain, contain, ascertain, certain, and all of their forms (retention, detention, attainment, maintenance, etc.).¬†
 
Subset 1: 
analyze approach area assess assume authority available benefit concept consist context constitute contract data define derive distribute economy environment establish estimate evident factor finance formula function income indicate individual interpret involve issue labor legal legislate method occur percent period principle proceed process policy require research respond role section sector significant source specific structure theory vary
 
Subset 1: Spanish Cognates 
analizar, el área, asumir, la autoridad, el beneficio/beneficiar, concepto, consistir, contexto, constituir, datos, definir, derivar, distribuir, la economía, establecer, estimar/estimado, evidente, la función, las finanzas, la fórmula, el índice, el individuo, interpretar, envolver, laborar, legal, legislar, el método, ocurrir, el por ciento, el período, principio, proceder, el proceso, requerir, responder, rol sección, sector, significativo/significante, específico, la estructura, la teoría, variar
 
 
Subset 2: achieve acquire administrate affect appropriate aspect assist category commission complex conduct consequence construct consume credit culture design distinct element evaluate feature impact institute invest maintain obtain perceive positive potential previous primary range region regulate relevant reside resource restrict secure select site strategy survey tradition transfer
 
Subset 2: Spanish Cognates     
adquirir, administrar, afectar, apropiado, el aspecto, la categor√≠a, la comisi√≥n, complejo, conducta, consiguiente, construir, consumir, el cr√©dito, la cultura, dise√Īar, distinto, el elemento, evaluar, el impacto, instituto, invertir, mantener, obtener, percibir, positivo, potencial, previo, primero, regi√≥n, regular, relevante, residir, restringir, seguro, selecto, sitio, la estrategia, la tradici√≥n, transferir
 
 
Subset 3: alternative circumstance comment compensate consent considerable constant constrain contribute convene coordinate core corporate  correspond criteria deduce demonstrate document dominate emphasis ensure exclude fund framework illustrate immigrate imply initial instance interact justify layer link maximize negate outcome philosophy physical proportion publish react register rely scheme sequence shift specify sufficient technical technique valid volume
 
Subset 3: Spanish Cognates: 
el alternativo, la circunstancia, el comentario, compensar, consentimiento, constante, considerable, contribuir, la coordenada, corporativo, corresponden, los criterios, deducen, demonstrar, el documento, dominan, el énfasis, el fondo,  ilustrar, inmigrar, la instancia, inicial, interactuar, justificar, maximiza, la filosofía, la proporción, registrar, especificar, volumen 
 
 
Subset 4: access adequacy annual apparent approximate attitude attribute civil code commit concentrate confer contrast cycle debate despite dimension domestic emerge ethnic grant hence hypothesis implement implicate impose integrate internal investigate mechanism occupy option output overall parallel parameter phrase prior principal professional project promote regime resolve retain series statistic status stress subsequent undertake
 
Subset 4: Spanish Cognates: 
acceso, la adecuación, la actitud, aparente, anual, aproximado, atributo, civil, cometer, concentrarse, conferir, el contraste, el ciclo, debatir, la dimensión, étnico, la hipótesis, implementar, imponer, integrar, interno, investigar, el mecanismo, ocupar, la opción, paralelo, el parámetro, la frase, el profesional, el proyecto, promover, resolver, retener, la serie, la estadística, el estrés 
 
Subset 5: academy adjust alter amend capacity clause compound consult decline discrete enable energy enforce entity equivalent evolve expand expose external facilitate fundamental generate liberal license logic margin modify monitor network notion objective orient perspective precise prime psychology pursue ratio reject revenue stable style substitute sustain symbol target transit trend version welfare whereas
 
Subset 5: Spanish Cognates: 
la academia. ajustar. alterar. enmendar. la capacidad. la clásula. compuesto, consultar, la energía, la entidad, equivalente, evolucionar, exponer, externo, facilitar, fundamental, generar, liberal, la licencia, la lógica, el margen, modificar, el monitor, la noción, el objetivo, orientar, la perspectiva, preciso, principal, la psicología, perseguir, el estable, el estilo, el sustituto, el símbolo, el tránsito, la versión 
 
Subset 6: abstract acknowledge accuracy aggregate allocate assign bond capable cite cooperate discriminate display diverse domain edit enhance estate exceed explicit federal fee flexible furthermore gender incentive incorporate incidence index inhibit initiate input interval mitigate minimum ministry motive neutral nevertheless overseas precede presume rational recover reveal scope subsidy trace transform underlie utilize 
 
Subset 6: Spanish Cognates: 
abstracto, el agregado, asignar, capaz, citar, cooperar, discriminar, diverso, el dominio, editar, la estancia, exceder, explícito, federal, flexible, el género, el incentivo, incorpora,r la incidencia, el índice inhibir, iniciar, el intervalo, el mínima, el misisterio, el motivo, neutral, preceder, presumir, racional recuperar, revelar, transformar, utilizar
 
Subset 7: adapt advocate channel classic comprehensive comprise confirm contrary convert decade deny differentiate dispose dynamic equip eliminate empirical extract finite foundation gradient guarantee hierarchy identical ideology infer innovate insert intervene isolate media mode paradigm phenomenon priority prohibit publication quote release reverse simulate sold somewhat submit successor thesis transmit ultimate unique voluntary
 
Subset 7: Spanish Cognates: 
adaptarse, el canal, cl√°sico, comprehender, confirmar, contrario, convertir, la d√©cada, diferenciar, disponer, din√°mico, equipar, eliminar, emp√≠rico, extraer, finito, la fundaci√≥n, el gradiente, garantizar, id√©ntico, la ideolog√≠a, inferir, insertar, intervenir, los medios de comunicaci√≥n, el modo/la modalidad, el paradigma, fen√≥meno, la prioridad, prohibir, la publicaci√≥n, el rev√©s, simular, el sucesor, la tesis, transmitir, √ļnico
 
 
Subset 8: abandon accompany accumulate ambiguous appendix appreciate arbitrary automate bias chart clarify commodity complement conform contemporary contradict crucial currency denote detect deviate displace eventual exhibit exploit fluctuate guideline implicit induce inevitable infrastructure inspect intense manipulate minimize nuclear offset predominant prospect radial reinforce restore revise tension terminate theme thereby uniform vehicle via virtual widespread
 
Subset 8: Spanish Cognates: 
abandonar, acompa√Īar, acumular, ambiguo, el ap√©ndice, arbitrario, aclara,r el complemento, contemporaneo, contradecir, crucial, denotar, detectar, desplazar, la exposici√≥n, explotar, fluctua,r impl√≠cito, inducir, inevitable, la infraestructura, inspeccionar, intenso, manipular, minimiza, nuclear, el prospecto, radial, reforzar, revisar, la tensi√≥n, terminar, la tema, el uniforme ,el veh√≠culo ,v√≠a, virtual
 
Subset 9: accommodate analogy anticipate assure attain behalf cease coherent coincide commence compatible concurrent confine controversy converse device devote diminish distort duration erode ethic found format inherent insight integral intermediate manual mature mediate medium military minimal mutual norm overlap passive portion preliminary protocol qualitative refine restrain revolution rigid route scenario sphere subordinate supplement suspend trigger unify violate
 
Subset 9 Spanish Cognates: 
analogia, cesar, coherente, coincidir, comenzar, compatible, concurrente, confinar, la controversia, conversar, disminuir, distorsionar, la duración, erosionar, fundar, el formato, inherente, la percepción, integrante, intermedio, manual, mediar, medio, mínimo, mutuo, la norma, pasivo, la porción, preliminar, el protocolo, refinar, la revolusión, rigido, la ruta, el escenario, la esfera, subordinar, el suplemento, suspender, unificar, violar
 
Subset 10: adjacent albeit assemble collapse colleague compile conceive convince depress encounter forthcoming incline integrity intrinsic invoke levy likewise nonetheless notwithstanding ongoing panel persist pose reluctance so-called straightforward undergo whereby
 
Subset 10 Spanish Cognates: 
adyacente, el colapso, el colega, compilar, convencer, el encuentro, inclinarse, la integridad, 
intrínsic,, invocar, el panel, persistir, posar