If your browser does not support current web standards you will not be able to view this page as it was designed. Please consider upgrading to a standards-compliant version.

Hopelink Adult Education Tutor Support Hopelink/Adult Education Hopelink Adult Education Tutor Support

Reading Lesson Idea: Vocabulary Games


Add variety and fun to vocabulary building.

Adapted from from a lesson by Jane Keskimaki, and Teaching Reading and Writing Together: The Classroom Connection by Smith and Dahl.


  • Memory Mix-up
    • For a list of at least ten words, write each word on a separate sticky note. Write a brief definition of each word on another note.
    • The tutor mixes up the word stickers. The student re-arranges them in alphabetic order.
    • Tutor mixes up the definition stickers. The student places each definition sticker next to its matching word.
    • While the student's eyes are closed, the tutor removes a word sticker. The student looks at the definition and says the missing word, then writes the word. Repeat until all word stickers have been removed.
    • Optional: the student classifies the words according to parts of speech.
    • Optional: the student and tutor arrange the words in random order and produce a story (oral or written).
  • Memory Maze
    • Plan 45 minutes to one hour to set up and play this game.
    • Start with a list of at least 25 words. Prepare word and definition sticky notes as for Memory Mix-up above. Mark another sticker as Start/Finish. Mark some more with game directions such as "Go ahead 5 places" , "Lose a turn", or any other fun directions you or your student can think of.
    • Mix up all the sticky notes together in random order. Lay them out in a large circle or other shape. You will take turns throwing the dice and moving playing pieces along the row of stickies, like in a board game.
    • Rules of the game:
      1. Doubles = go again.
      2. Three doubles in a row = go back to the Start.
      3. Land on a word, say the definition; land on a definition, say the word. Use the word in a sentence.
      4. Incorrect word, definition, or sentence = go back three spaces.
    • The first person to reach "Finish" is the winner.
    • You can store the sticky notes for another game; as an additional exercise for the student, match up all the words and their definitions when placing them in a notebook for use the next time.
Hopelink Adult Education | Copyright 2011 Hopelink
Toll free: 800.870.1912
11011 120th Avenue NE
Kirkland WA 98033
31957 E. Commercial Street
Carnation WA 98014
North King County/Shoreline
15809 Westminster Way NE
Shoreline WA 98133