Where did the words in this list come from?
• Apart from any errors I may have made in compiling it, this list contains all the content words that are used in the “easy“ paired stories. The only exceptions are the few less common words that it was necessary to use in the easy versions and which are glossed in the sidebars.
What is the purpose of this list?
• This list emerged came into existence while I was writing the easy paired stories. Originally I planned to write the easy versions restricting myself to the words in an already-published word list, but when I failed to find one that seemed quite right, I decided to make my own. I decided to publish it on the site because I felt it might be useful to teachers, not just as a tool for writing supplementary materials but also, possibly, as a small corpus that elementary students could be expected to learn by rote.
What sort of words are on the list?
• It seems that a reasonable criterion for deciding whether or not a word should be included in a basic list would be: Is this word useful enough to a typical ESL student that it would make sense to teach it independently of any particular context? At any rate, that is roughly the principle I operated on in putting the list together. If a word that did not satisfy this criterion was essential in one of the stories, it was included in a sidebar glossary. There are some words in the stories which, although they seem to satisfy the criterion and for that reason have been included, might not, because of their relatively low frequency, be expected to appear on a basic vocabulary list. “Spider,” and “pregnant„ are examples. There are also words such as “government,” ”information,” “method,” and “public.” Generally speaking, such words might seem insufficiently frequent for inclusion. However, in the educational context for which the list is intended they seem to have quite as much value as words like “rain” and “race” and for that reason they have been included.