Top 12 English Vocabulary Building Books

Here is a list of some of the best vocabulary books to improve English:

1. Vocabulary for Champions (Joe Oswald)

Expertly organized and presented, this book is ideal for use with middle school students, high schoolers, and adults. Longtime teacher Oswald assembles a genuinely useful and enjoyable vocabulary-building guide. Teens and adults at all stages of life can benefit from this well-constructed workbook. This breezy, fast-moving guide can help anyone looking to build their word power. This book is great for preparing for school-based exams and standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and GRE.

Vocabulary for Champions (Joe Oswald)


Is there a magic shortcut to boosting your pupils’ vocabulary and thinking skills in a fun way without having to spend tons of hours finding the right tasks? This book series guarantees there is one! Built around a set of colorful, easy-to-use and definitely brain-boosting picture activities, it provides your students with fun and meaningful vocabulary practice while strengthening their critical thinking skills. A brilliant tool to bring critical thinking to the heart of your sessions and challenge your students beyond memorization!


3. English for Everyone

Learn more than 3,000 of the most common and essential English words and phrases through English for Everyone’s method for learning, practicing, and retaining practical language skills. Ideal for English test preparations or ESL lesson plans, this book uses visual teaching methods to introduce English phrases and words for beginners, reinforced through a variety of exercises and examples. English for Everyone can help you confidently progress your English language from beginner to advanced in both social and business environments.

English for Everyone

4. IELTS Vocabulary Builder Collection (Jackie Bolen)

This collection consists of three books:

  • Phrasal Verbs for the IELTS Speaking Test
  • Idioms for IELTS
  • Collocations for IELTS

This book will help you . . .

  • Have thousands of phrases, expressions, and idioms at your fingertips.
  • See how they are used in real life.
  • Improve your American English.
  • Speak English fluently and confidently.
  • Improve your TOEFL, TOEIC, or IELTS score.
IELTS Vocabulary Builder Collection (Jackie Bolen)

5. IELTS Vocabulary Masterclass 8.5 (Marc Roche)

Master English phrasal verbs, essays, graphs, and speaking vocabulary quickly with this IELTS book packed full of highly targeted and easy-to-follow exercises and explanations. This book is ideal for any serious IELTS candidate who does not wish to waste time researching and learning new vocabulary the traditional way. This book will make your learning more efficient with less of your own effort, which means more spare time to review other concepts.

IELTS Vocabulary Masterclass 8.5 (Marc Roche)

6. The Vocabulary Builder Workbook (Chris Lele)

Building your vocabulary requires more than flash cards. That’s why leading test-prep expert, Chris Lele, developed a new method for introducing words into your vocabulary. With this book, you’ll gain and retain a fundamental understanding of more than 1,400 essential words.

Ideal for those taking the SAT, ACT, or GRE―or for those who simply want to practice and boost their reading, writing, and speaking skills― this workbook makes the task of expanding your vocabulary an opportunity for real learning and growth.

The Vocabulary Builder Workbook (Chris Lele)

7. Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Book (Pauline Cullen)

Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS includes useful tips on how to approach IELTS exam tasks and covers especially tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. It is informed by the Cambridge International Corpus and the Cambridge Learner Corpus to ensure that the words are presented in genuine contexts and include real learner errors.

Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS Book (Pauline Cullen)

8. Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS (Rawdon Wyatt)

This bestselling workbook provides a resource for students studying for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. It has been written for students at the intermediate level and above and is particularly appropriate for anyone who plans to study or train at an English-speaking college or university.

This book provides exercises to help teach and build general and topic-specific vocabulary related to the IELTS test and also covers grammar, the use of English, comprehension, and spelling. Suitable for both self-study and the classroom, it includes a range of activities to help students build and improve their English language skills.

Check Your English Vocabulary for IELTS (Rawdon Wyatt)

9. McGraw-Hill Education Vocabulary

If you are looking for extra vocabulary help, you will find this book an invaluable resource. Each of the book’s dozens of lessons focuses on a group of words that will strengthen your student’s vocabulary. After the introduction of new words, each lesson includes three worksheets designed to make learning new words easy and fun. This book features:

  • More than 500 words appropriate for students
  • 45 engaging lessons that will help your student learn both meaning and usage
  • Vocabulary related to math, social studies, science, health, and time
  • A puzzle format that makes practicing vocabulary fun 
  • The tools to master synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and easily confused words
  • Guidance on learning prefixes, suffixes, and compound words
  • An alphabetical word list at the end of the book makes looking up vocabulary easy
McGraw-Hill Education Vocabulary

10. Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis)

Word Power Made Easy provides a simple, step-by-step method for increasing knowledge and mastery of the language. Arranged in thematic sections—on everything from how to flatter friends and insult enemies to how to talk precisely about science and medicine—the book is written in a lively, accessible, and often humorous style, presenting ideas and a method of broadening your knowledge as an integral part of vocabulary-building.

The author delves into etymology to arm the reader to decode unfamiliar words, provides phonetic pronunciations, gives tips on avoiding common spelling errors, and offers useful sections on which fussy, old-fashioned grammar rules are valid and which are outdated or misguided and can be safely ignored. Loaded with helpful reviews, progress checks, and quizzes to reinforce the material, this classic resource—first published sixty years ago—has helped millions learn to speak and write with greater sophistication.

Word Power Made Easy (Norman Lewis)

11. Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder

The perfect book for expanding your working vocabulary and an indispensable tool for students preparing for standardized tests.

  • 250 Greek and Latin roots aid in the learning of 1,000 words along with over 2,000 closely related terms
  • Features helpful usage examples and quizzes to test your memory
  • Organized by Greek and Latin roots– the building blocks of English vocabulary
  • Perfect for students prepping for standardized tests including SAT, ACT, TOEFL, and TOEIC.
Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder

12. 499 Words Every College Student Should Know (Stephen Spignesi)

Using easy-to-understand, informative, and often humorous explanations of every word, 499 Words Every College Student Should Know explores how to use the words in proper context. The majority of these words were chosen because they are common in media, literature, and online, and students need to understand them.

This book teaches truly important vocabulary words and focuses on Professor Spignesi’s classroom-tested Trinity of Vocabulary Use. For each word, the vocabulary-enriched and educated student will be able to:

  • Understand the word in their reading
  • Use the word in their speaking
  • Make good use of the word in their writing
499 Words Every College Student Should Know (Stephen Spignesi)

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