Say goodbye to learning words you will probably never meet again in academic texts.

ROADS will help you learn 'high-frequency' words - these are the words that you will see most often in academic texts.

This site gives you three 'roads' - three different routes - to high-frequency words. These are the words you really need to know in order to read fluently and understand academic texts.



Get Started


Before you start:  

Use the language option on the right side of the top toolbar to select a language for translations.

Chinese translations coming soon - Arabic, Hebrew and partial support for Spanish already available.

First, decide which route or 'road' you want to use to get to high-frequency words: 

1. Learn high-frequency words that appear in digital texts you read (Tool #1 - Text Profiler).

2. Learn high-frequency words by working systematically through high-frequency wordlists (Tool #2 - Wordlists ).

3. Use flashcards and exercises to learn 300 words that appear on Academic Word List and CEFR lists (Tool #3).


 Tool #1 - Text Profiler 

3 easy steps will help you learn high-frequency words that often appear in academic texts. These are the words that will give you the most benefit for time and effort you spend on learning new words.

Step 1 - Load any digital text into the Roads Text Profiler

1.1 Select 'Learn words from your text' option on landing page


1.2 Click  the blue button to start uploading any digital text to Text Profiler. 


 1.3 Select any text from your files: 

Click on Browse.
Select from your files the text you want the ROADS Text Profiler to process.
Click on Go.


1.4 Copypaste the text you need to read:

Copy the text you want ROADS Text Profiler to process. 
Click on 'Paste your text in the box' to open the text box.
Paste your text in the box.
Click on Go.

After a few seconds, you will see your text on the screen - this may take a while, please be patient.  


Step 2 - Select high-frequency wordlist/s.

Selecting a wordlist tells Text Profiler which high-frequency words to look for in your text. If your text contains words on the wordlist you select, Text Profiler will colour these words blue in your text.

How to select a wordlist

2.1 Click 'Select Wordlists' on sidebar




This will give you a dropdown menu of wordlists: 


Click tool tips ('question' icon) if you want to learn more about differences between wordlists, or click here for more information.

2.2 Click the checkboxes next to wordlist/s you want Text Profiler to highlight in your text. In the example above, the user checked Coxhead's Academic Word List (AWL). Words that belong to this wordlist now change to blue in the text.

2.3 Close the wordlist menu - click the X in top right corner. 

2.4 If the sidebar menu is covering your text, click the X to make menu smaller.



Text Profiler can give you statistics about what percentage of words in your text belong to different wordlists.


 When you see these statistics, remember that:

  • almost half the words on the Academic Word List also appear on the BNC list.
  • the remaining percentage of words that are not highlighted in blue will consist of names and places, terms related to only one specific discipline, and low-frequency words that do not appear very often in academic texts.


Printable translation tables


Translations that you write between the lines of your texts are hard to find the next time you meet the same word.  Instead of looking up the same words every time they appear in different texts, you can now use ROADS to automatically generate translation tables.

This printable translation tables help you to:

  • identify and understand unknown words BEFORE you start to read your text.
  • access printed translations if you prefer to print out your text and read offline.
  • revise new words AFTER you finish reading your text.


Step 3 - Generate a printable translation table 

 3.1 Make sure you have used the language option on the top toolbar to select a language for translations


3.2 Click 'Translation Table' option on the left sidebar

Text Profiler will put into your translation table all words in your text that appear on the wordlists you selected.


This will automatically generate a table with possible translations for high-frequency words in your text.

English words often have different meanings in different contexts - always check which possible translation best fits your text.

Translations are currently available in Hebrew and Arabic - Chinese and Spanish coming soon!



'Blue Stars' Feature

Blue stars in the column on the right side of the Translation Table indicate how many wordlists a word appears on. In the above example, 'articulate' has only one blue star, as it appears only on Davies & Gardner's Academic Vocabulary List.

Blue stars help you prioritize your vocabulary learning - words with more blue stars are the words you should focus on first.


 'Added Value' of ROADS Text Profiler

ROADS  is the only text profiling website that gives you

  • possible translations of high-frequency words.
  • tables that capture, save and print these translations.
  • 'blue star' rankings to show you 'overlaps' - words that appear on more than one high-frequency wordlist.



Tool #2 - learn words on high-frequency wordlists

Choose this 'road' if you prefer to work systematically through the words on a research-based wordlist.

 Step 1 - Select 'Learn words from wordlists' option



Step 2 - Choose a wordlist:

2.1 Click on tool tips (question icon) to get information about differences between wordlists.

2.2. Click on the wordlist/s you want to learn.


Step 3 - Go through translations of words on wordlists to check which words you still don't know.


Words that often appear in blue are hyperlinked to flashcards. These flashcards give you additional information to help new words 'stick' in your memory. 


 3.1 Keep track of your progress

On the left side of each word, a checkbox helps you track your progress. Click the checkbox if you have already learned a word - this will help you see which words you still need to learn.

3.2 Customize wordlists - create your own customized list of words you want to learn

Not everyone likes to work with long lists of words. 'My Words' lets you work with shorter, personalized lists. On the left side of each word there is a big + sign. Click on the + sign to add a word to your 'My Words' list.  


Tool #3 - Flashcards and Exercises

1.1 Select this option on landing page to check if a word appears on any high-frequency wordlist/s:



1.2 Type into the search box the first 3 letters of any word you hear or see.


1.3 Check to see if your word appears on the drop-down list. (List shows all the words that appear on ROADS high-frequency wordlists).

1.4 Click any word on drop-down list to get more information about the word from its flashcard.

 If the word you searched for isn't on a well-known wordlist, you will see this message:


This means the word you searched for probably won't appear very often in academic texts across a range of different disciplines.

3.5 If you see the above message, check again: Make sure you type only the first 3 letters of your word in the search box. 

High or low frequency does not mean a word is or isn't important. Frequency simply tells you how high are the chances that you will meet this word again in academic texts across a range of academic disciplines.


Additional tools for helping you remember high-frequency words:

Flashcards give you:

  • translations.
  • pronunciations.
  • different forms of the word.
  • 'also on' feature helps you prioritize vocabulary learning by showing you how many other wordlists the word appears on.

Practice makes perfect - 300 key academic words also have links to sets of interactive exercises.

Learning vocabulary takes practice - there are no instant solutions. To make words stick in your memory, you have to do more than just read a dictionary definition, or write translations next to words you don't know.

Research shows that remembering new words requires:

  • seeing the word and its meaning multiple times.
  • doing something with the new word.
  • identifying synonyms and examples.
  • 'cycling through' and revising words you have learned.

To help you do all this, ROADS gives you sets of exercises to help you:

  • build up rich layers of meaning, step by step.
  • see which other words often go together with the target word.
  • practice using different forms of the word.
  • practice your reading comprehension.