Middle School Vocabulary: Word Lists For Grades 6-8

By Ashley Austrew

Literacy is a different ball game for middle school students than it is for kids in elementary school. While sixth, seventh, and eighth graders are still learning new words, working on spelling, and improving their reading skills, they’re also starting to engage with words in new ways.

Middle schoolers are reading more complex books, exploring new educational materials, and starting to dive into vocabulary for the purposes of better communicating their thoughts and ideas. Building a solid foundational vocabulary can help in all of these endeavors. Luckily, we have an easy method for helping middle school students do that.

Here, we’ve prepared word lists that cover some of the most common terms middle school kids are likely to encounter in their studies at school this year. There are 75 words for each grade level, as well as enrichment options, like flashcards, spelling tests, and quizzes. Whether they’re learning at home or at school, these lists are a convenient, functional way for middle school kids at every level to grow the important vocabulary skills that will carry them through the years ahead.

Sixth-grade vocabulary words and tips

For some kids, sixth grade is the beginning of middle school. For others, it’s the final year of elementary school. What all sixth graders have in common is that they’re building depth and complexity in their vocabularies that can help them in writing, speaking, and a number of important school subjects.

At this stage of learning, kids are able to recognize the roots and meanings of complex words using their foundational literacy knowledge, as well as context clues within a text. They’re using physical and digital resources to complete research assignments, and expanding their use of vocabulary to communicate in-depth analysis and ideas. They’re also starting to do more learning independently. This is a great age for kids to take advantage of Dictionary.com word lists, spelling tests, quizzes and our app. And, of course, providing them with a variety of age-appropriate reading materials is a must!

  • Sixth-Grade Vocab Word List 1
    • instrument
    • summer
    • develop
    • length
    • reason
    • cells
    • root
    • energy
    • general (3)
    • direction … full list
  • Sixth-Grade Vocab Word List 2
    • produce
    • compute
    • kilometer
    • evaluate
    • seam
    • crew
    • improbable
    • erosion (2)
    • patriotism
    • wild … full list
  • Sixth-Grade Vocab Word List 3
    • cruise
    • rhythm
    • drought
    • system
    • pedal
    • heir
    • admirable
    • feat
    • improper
    • length … full list

Is your sixth grader ready to put these words to the test? Take this quiz to find out!

Seventh-grade vocabulary words and tips

Seventh graders are using many of the same skills as sixth graders, but they’re taking those skills to the next level. In seventh grade, kids are honing their ability to decode words using not only their prior knowledge of spelling, phonics, and context clues, but also their knowledge of Greek or Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Kids in this grade level are also building their abilities to use dictionaries and other reference texts to help with research and reading comprehension.

Journaling and other writing exercises are great ways to support kids in this stage. They should also be reading regularly, and looking up any unfamiliar words. Studying common words using our word lists, flash cards, and quizzes can help prepare them for terms they may encounter in school or in real life.

  • Seventh-Grade Vocab Word List 1
    • abdicate
    • either
    • factor
    • natural
    • temperature
    • agitate
    • prediction
    • suspense
    • compel
    • equation … full list
  • Seventh-Grade Vocab Word List 2
    • bright
    • attribute
    • clear
    • harass
    • exactly
    • nation
    • within
    • condemn
    • quote
    • soil … full list
  • Seventh-Grade Vocab Word List 3
    • type
    • lot
    • bamboozle
    • initiate
    • dawdle
    • instead
    • method
    • exuberant
    • sovereign
    • iron … full list

Once you’ve reviewed all these lists, you and your seventh grader can round up your word arsenal for this quiz.

Eighth-grade vocabulary words and tips

In eighth grade, students have a solid mastery of basic and intermediate literacy skills, and they are beginning to understand the more abstract uses of language. They may study words that have multiple meanings and learn how to determine which meaning to apply by studying context clues and surrounding language. They are also learning more about the use of figurative language, analogies, and allusions.

After eighth grade, kids will head to high school where they will study higher level literature and writing. Eventually, they’ll also be preparing for SATs, ACTs, or other college entrance exams. That means the vocabulary they’re learning at this stage is very important, and can help them down the road. Have your eighth grader review the following lists to brush up on helpful words they’ll need in every subject. They can review using our flashcards and take our quiz to see what they’ve absorbed. After that, they may want to work on incorporating these words into their own poetry, writing, art or assignments from school. Practice makes perfect!

  • Eighth-Grade Vocab Word List 1
    • statement
    • experiment
    • abhor
    • rebuke
    • gruesome
    • decimal
    • valley
    • east
    • theory
    • merge … full list
  • Eighth-Grade Vocab Word List 2
    • frighten
    • humorous
    • neighbor
    • north
    • cents
    • integrate
    • novice
    • probable
    • safety
    • weight … full list
  • Eighth-Grade Vocab Word List 3
    • its
    • law
    • amiss
    • variable
    • surmise
    • cattle
    • wife
    • sharp
    • recur
    • husband … full list

Take your child’s middle school vocabulary skills to the top by acing this quiz based on our eighth grade word lists.

Ashley Austrew is a freelance journalist and writer from Omaha, Nebraska. Her work has been published at CosmopolitanScary MommyScholastic, and other outlets. For more by Ashley, read: “Teacher” vs. “Tutor”: Why Most Kids Need Both | Leave The Best Impression With Our Tips For National Proofreading Day Make Your Writing The Star Of National Grammar Day With These Tips

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If you have a younger student wanting to bump up their vocab game, check out our extensive word lists for elementary school, too!

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