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English Word Games

By: Sarah Folega - Updated: 24 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
English Word Games Games Learning Games

English word games are fantastic for not only having a little fun, but also learning at the same time. Whether you are playing English word games with a group of friends, or you are a teacher needed some inspiration for a class; these English word games are fun, easy to implement, and great for learning English.

What To Do Before Playing The Games

  • Make sure the game fits into what is being taught at that time. The game will flow much easier if the students recognise why they are playing it.
  • The games should also be age appropriate – and be level specific.
  • Practise! Some games may work well with the group you have, others may not be as successful. Try a game out and if it looks like it isn’t working, just stop playing that one and try another one.
  • Always make sure the instructions for playing the game are clear. If a student is unsure of how to play or the instructions are not clear, the results will not be satisfactory.

Playing Word Association

This game is good practise for knowing which words associate with each other.

One person (or the teacher) starts with a word. Each person then has to say out a loud, a word that is associated to the starting word. The third person would pick a word that associates with the second word and so on.

So, for example, you could start with dog – puppy – kitten – cat and so on.

If eventually someone can’t think of a word, duplicates a word or hesitates for too long, they are out of the game and it starts from the beginning with a new word.

If teaching, it may be worthwhile writing down the words on the board or getting the students to write as people say them out.

Tops And Tails

This is a good spelling exercise as well as being a good exercise for the memory.

You start with a word of your choosing, for example: Sky. Then, the next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the other word. So, in this case it would be a word beginning with the letter ‘y’. (Sky – Yacht)

You continue around the people playing until someone can’t think of a word or repeats a word already used.

This game can be made more class specific by only allowing a certain subject to be used (animals, verbs etc.).

Missing Headlines

If you are teaching a large class, split the students up into pairs. Before starting the game, remove articles from newspapers and then cut the headlines from the articles.

The students then have to match the missing headline to the article. This can be a fun game as well as teaching important reading skills, and also reinforces the skill of looking for specific information.

Adding Letters

This is a great spelling and letter recognition game. This game also reinforces the word building skill.

Start with a single letter or a two letter word such as ‘i’ or ‘at’.

Each student will then have to add another letter to make a new word. For example, at – cat – scat – tacos – scout and so on.

Get each student to write down and see how many words they can make. This can also be a group exercise by asking each person to shout out, in turn, the next word.

Missing Words Or Letters

This game can be played at any level of learning; it will just need some adapting for different levels.

You can start with young students by removing one or two letters from a word. Ask the students to fill in the word with the letters that are available.

You could also use picture clues for younger students to help them understand what the word is.

For older students, try removing entire words from sentences and ask them to fit the correct word back in. Dependant on the level of understanding of the students, you could remove more than one word.

Missing Punctuation

Remove all punctuation from sentences and paragraphs. Then, ask the students to put the punctuation back in. To make the game more fun, try using sentences that sound funny when the punctuation is removed.

This is a great game for checking their understanding of basic English grammar.

Playing learning games is highly motivating to many students as they are fun and away from the strictness of a class routine. However, remember to make the games as beneficial as possible by matching the games to the students’ level of understanding.

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