Tips for Learning New Vocabulary Words

How to Use Bingo to Learn Vocabulary


The use of games goes a long way in helping students learn vocabulary words.  For the most part, many students find memorization dull, tedious and even frustrating leaving those with memorization issues overwhelmed.  Additionally, the majority of students do not want to engage in the repetition necessary to commit the words to memory.  Luckily, a rousing game of Bingo can help to solve both of these issues.  As a result, students can enjoy themselves, while learning in a relaxed setting.

Setting up the Game
Create BINGO cards with vocabulary words in each of the spaces, being careful to include the word BINGO where there are free spaces. In fact, many websites allow you to download the game for free and then substitute your own vocabulary words. This makes setting up the game easier, since you do not have to make everything from scratch.  However, be sure to keep a master list of the vocabulary words used in order to remember which definitions to call out.

Calling Out Definitions
The calling out of definitions should be random.  Generally, it is a great idea to put all of the definitions on slips of paper and drop them inside a small bucket or hat.  This ensures fairness in the game and makes it so that you do not have to try to remember which definitions you have already used.  Place the used definitions in a stack on your desk, remembering to keep vocabulary words written on the backs of the papers so it is easy to see which words have been used.

Game Play
As definitions are called, students not only have to pay attention to what is being said, but also, think about the vocabulary word and the definition. When a student determines what the given word is, they check their cards to see if they can make a match. Be sure to allow enough time for students to think about what the words are and search for them on the game card.  Additionally, students should be encouraged not to yell answers aloud.

When a student covers up all the words in a straight line on his or her bingo card, you should hear the shout of BINGO!  This means that they believe they have won the game.  Make sure the other students do not wipe their cards right away, because the game may not be over.  Because of this, it is helpful for you to have the list of words used available. The student can call out all the words that were covered, and you can check them off your list. However, if they are wrong, the game continues.

Playing Bingo is a fun way to help students with learning vocabulary words.  If they know in advance the game will be played, they may study a little harder in order to win. Even if they do not study, the game itself creates another opportunity to get the words and definitions in front of the students in order to help them learn.  Offering prizes or extra credit is a great way to ensure students put in every effort t