One of the most effective ways to improve test scores, writing, and reading comprehension is to improve vocabulary! Why have students copy down definitions or make old-school flash cards when they can learn new words with some fun games? Here are 5 vocabulary games for middle school students you can try in your homeschool!
1. Play Vocab Bingo! Students write down a different word in each box from a list of vocabulary words. When the teacher reads the definition of your word, the student marks it. When the student get a “bingo” (blackout, diagonal, horizontal, or vertical), they win! This game can be played with just one student. It’s not necessarily a race to win! Individual students may benefit most by playing the blackout method, where they must mark every word on their bingo sheet.
2. Roll a word! Have your student write down specific vocabulary words and then roll a dice. Each # on the dice gets a task (1-give the definition, 2-give a synonym & an antonym, 3-write a sentence, 4-draw a picture, 5-make a connection, and 6-your choice). See more from Southern Fried Teachin’ here!
3. Play Pictionary. Have students illustrate their vocabulary while you (or other students) guess the word and its meaning. This works especially well with content specific vocabulary words such as though specific to science and social studies.
4. Make up meanings. Write the actual definition mixed with fake definitions of a word. You may also have your student generate some fake definitions if there are multiple students playing. The student will guess the real definitions. This works well with brand new words or challenging words that may be seen on standardized or advanced placement tests (i.e. SAT, ACT practice tests).
5. Free Rice: This popular online game allows students to answer vocabulary questions while giving back to the community and the world! Free Rice has a variety of vocabulary subjects from English to foreign languages (Spanish, German, French, Italian, and Latin) to more content specific vocabulary for Math, Science, and Humanities. Check out the SAT prep section as well! For every correct answer, the United Nations World Food Program will donate 10 grains of rice to a country in need. Learn and give back!
These five fun vocabulary games with make learning new words engaging and meaningful without the monotony of flashcards or memorizing definitions. Try one or more out with your kids!
Also published on Medium.