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Your students may recognize words like determine, analyze, and distinguish, but do they understand these words well enough to quickly and completely answer a standardized test question? For example, can they respond to a question that says “determine the point of view of John Adams in his ‘Letter on Thomas Jefferson’ and analyze how he distinguishes his position from an alternative approach articulated by Thomas Jefferson”? Students from kindergarten to 12th grade can learn to compare and contrast, to describe and explain, if they are taught these words explicitly. Marilee Sprenger has curated a list of the critical words students must know to be successful with the Common Core State Standards and any other standardized assessment they encounter. Fun strategies such as jingles, movements, and graphic organizers will engage students and make learning these critical words enjoyable and effective. Learning the critical vocabulary will help your students with testing and college and career readiness, and will equip them with confidence in reading, writing, and speaking. Marilee Sprenger is also the author of How to Teach So Students Remember, Learning and Memory, and Brain-Based Teaching in the Digital Age.