Vocabulary Development 

The activities on this page consist of vocabulary building activities and games that I created and activties and games that I found. Visitors to my site are welcome to use them and adapt them to their educational needs.

Vocabulary Round-Up:

A Collection of Various Vocabulary Building Strategies

Competitive Word Swat

Students in this activity compete in teams to match definitions to terms. Word Swat has consistently been one of my students' (and their K-12 students') favorite vocabulary games. It is useful for before reading vocabulary development as well as for post-reading review. Of course, the terms used should correspond with the specific unit, lessons, and readings being covered in the class (the terms included here are largely high school U.S. History and politics).

Vocabulary "Taboo"

This team-based interactive vocabulary game is based upon the Parker Brothers game of the same name. Student groups try to guess specific terms from definitions that themselves avoid key words. This has been a very popular game with my pre-service teachers and, they report, with their middle and high school students. 

Create-a-Word

Prefixes, Suffixes, & Roots

This vocabulary game can be done as teams or individually. The point is for teach team to create as many unique words as possible in a given span of time. To do so, they must use the given prefixes, root words, and suffixes. Teachers can allow students to earn extra points for more complex words (e.g., for every additional prefix or suffix added to a word to make it more complex). The game can be modified in numerous ways, including allowing students to cheat (create fake words) and allow "challenges" to those words by the other team.

The game highlights the importance of specific, widely used prefixes, suffixes, and roots. It shows how having a baseline grasp of these word components (especially those with a Latin base) can significantly help readers make senses of the unfamiliar words they encounter in texts.

Vocabulary Jeopardy!

This interactive game borrows heavily from the popular television quiz show of the same name. Students work in teams to find vocabulary terms that fit the given definition. It is an exceptionally popular way to review lesson/unit vocabulary or even to introduce new vocabulary.

I created this particular game in  PowerPoint. Doing so requires a lot of effort because you must create dozens of internal links. Fortunately, there are numerous Jeopardy templates online, both in ppt/pptx and html.