Tools That Empower: Vocabulary Profilers

I’ve highlighted vocabulary profilers before. Many are familiar with the wonderfully user-friendly resource offered by the University of Hong Kong. More recent discoveries for me include VocabKitchen and EnglishProfile: The CEFR for English, both of which have advanced features worth checking out.

Have you heard about Laurence Anthony’s AntWordProfiler? I learned about this freeware tool at TESOL 2017. Roger W. Gee from the Holy Family University presented his session Simplifying Texts with AntWordProfiler, and I was fortunate to choose that time to visit the Electronic Village.

Each vocabulary profiler offers something that others don’t. Roger explained that AntWordProfiler is software that you download to your computer (Mac or Windows) with no required installation. Once you have the program, the magic begins. Be sure to have your target file saved as a txt. file because you’ll need to open it in AntWordProfiler. Not only can you color-highlight words according to level lists, but you can then edit and save your text in a simplified version. Editing is made easier with the Thesaurus option (found under Settings): it starts the editing process by underlining words you can replace and suggesting synonyms at different levels.

In some ways this tool is like Rewordify, but more control is placed in the hands of the teacher. How much do you need to simply a given text and which synonyms do you feel are most appropriate? You get to tap into your knowledge and experience to make those calls.

What I find so interesting about the appearance of more and more vocabulary tools is that both teachers and learners are being empowered. Teachers are gaining greater control over the content thanks to the increasing ability to customize texts. Students are also discovering how to use digital tools so that they can charge of their learning. The important thing to clarify is which user each tool is best suited for. In other words, which tools are better used in the hands of the teachers, like AntWordProfiler? Which tools we can use collaboratively, such as VocabKitchen? And which ones we should teach our students to use in order to become more independent, like Just the Word?

Do you have a favorite vocabulary tool? Which ones do you share with your students?

Photo credit: Fatigued, Young, Laptop, Beautiful by Sasint. Retrieved from the Public Domain at


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