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verbalworkout.com . . . enhancing vocabulary while reading
What's New
Use this change-log to see if there are useful new features since you last explored verbalworkout.com.
New books are added all the time and are not reported here.
8/15/16 More Middle School Books Please provide feedback about the middle school books being added:
  • What books do you need added?
  • Which existing books need more human editing of words and selected excerpts?
  • Are there any definitions that are too complex or obscure for middle school?
  • Are there any links you suggest for lists of middle school books or that this site should link to for lesson plans, etc.
1/30/16 Updated for Redesigned SAT Changed word-ranking to reflect the redesigned SAT. (fewer obscure words) Added new tier two words considered of high interest for the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests. More tier two words will continue to be added and books will continue to be re-edited to highlight them. That editing is being done based on the popularity of the book (on this site) and the importance of the word. Also changed verbiage discussing the SAT.

The computer gives preference to human-approved words for ranking and quizzing, so books with status prototype may not yet rank the redesigned SAT words first; though the most popular books and highest priority words are updated. If you want a book edited, please write by clicking on the Give us feedback link at the bottom of most pages and indicate which book. Teacher requests get priority, so if you're a teacher, please say so.
1/30/16 Word Ranking / Book Difficulty Word selection is now primarily based on:
  1. how often each word is used in the book
  2. how often each word is seen on standardized tests like the SAT
  3. how appropriate each word is to review given the difficulty of the book
The third item is new (except that an editor might have adjusted rank manually in the past). Clearly, words that are too easy should not be quizzed. Also, only a smattering of the harder words in the text should be quizzed. What is considered too easy or hard is impacted by the book's difficulty. Keep in mind that some apparently easy words have multiple meanings whose nuances are important to understand. Also, for avid readers, the extra credit quizzes are always available with harder words.
1/30/16 Sample Usage Easier to Find Changed the main page for each book so that finding typical word samples and samples from the book is more intuitive. Also now providing a quick definition of the word form for the context in which it is shown when hovering above many sample links.
1/30/16 Misc. Changed Review My Words screen to avoid a problem created by some popup blockers. Added a Status column to assignment pages, so a different status can be shown for regular v. extra credit quizzes.
6/13/15 Sample Page #s On pages that show All Samples Sentences that use a specific word in a book, the page numbers of the samples are now shown. This holds for books newly added to the database. If you want us to add page numbers for a specific book added earlier, or for a differently formatted edition of a book, please let us know. .
6/13/15 Addition to Popular Book Lists The Books Most Commonly Viewed on This Site was added to Popular Book Lists . That popularity ranking now also contributes to deciding which general samples of word usage for any given word should be shown first.
6/13/15 Words with Multiple Meanings It is now easier to group and compare uses of words that are used in the same book with different meanings (homographs such as the bark of a dog and the bark of a tree). Also automatic processing of such words is improved; though they are never handled as well automatically as when an editor updates the database to indicate the contextual meaning. If there are specific instances of words you want edited for your class, please let us know.
6/13/15 Changed "Find Word" Moved "Find Word" from top menu to "Other" menu so it will not be mistaken as the way to find a word within a book. Also fixed a problem with the "Find Word" option that arose as a result of a change in some browsers including Safari.
01/25/14 Written Test Option Added an option to print a test that can be handed out in class. This option is on the post-reading assignment page and was added to support teachers who want an in-class test, but lack adequate computer support. Tests are designed to fit on a single sheet of paper. When not all top-ranked words are quizzed, the computer selects words randomly while assuring the most important words are always selected. Teachers can override the computer-selected words.
01/12/14 No-peeking Test Option A "test mode" option was added to the post-reading quizzes, so that students cannot easily look up the correct answer unless they have chosen the incorrect answer which is reported in their score. Students are still required to re-answer a question until they get it correct; though they can easily look at word definitions for help while re-answering.
01/12/14 Book Interface Improvements Simplified viewing and printing of quizzed words. Made selection and sort options more intuitive as user move between the view/select and printer-friendly study sheet pages. Added the option of printing a study sheet with sample sentences from the book.
08/03/13 2 Additional Popular Book Lists The Most Commonly Assigned and the Most Commonly Read book lists were added to Popular Book Lists .
02/23/13 Video Tutorials Available 18 tutorials were made available via the Teacher Information page. The first 2 or 3 are generally recommended and others are available for those with questions or a desire to master the site.
01/10/13 Tips for Teachers from Teachers Added a link to these tips at the top of the Teacher Information page. Please write with a tip to share with others.
08/11/12 Extra Credit Quizzes Added To further challenge academically motivated students, extra credit quizzes have been added to each book's pre-reading and post-reading assignment options. The extra credit quizzes are for students who are eager to learn harder words. If a word qualifies as both a top-ranked word and an extra credit word, it will be included only with the standard assignments. Extra credit assignments also offer more multiple choice options and often are included in more complex quotations from the book. There is a 3-minute Extra Credit Quiz video tutorial if you want to know more.
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