Try some of my fun, engaging games and activities for free!

Join now for access to the freebie library filled with exclusive resources you can’t find anywhere else.

Games to Practice ELA Vocabulary

5 Games to Practice ELA Vocabulary Pinterest Design

If you are looking for some games to practice ELA vocabulary, then you are going to love this mix-and-match of digital and hands-on games for upper elementary students.

Let’s be honest, ELA vocabulary can sometimes feel like you’re teaching a different language.

Language Arts class is full of all sorts of different terms to represent all the ways that we speak and use language. Whether we’re using figurative language to describe the setting of a book or we’re discussing whether the point of view of the latest book in a popular trilogy is 1st person or 3rd person omniscient, as ELA teachers, it seems like we’re always stopping to explain another word or another example. 

Getting to know these terms takes time and many, many, many examples. It is not just enough to be able to define the term, students also need to be able to identify the term being used correctly and create their own examples when asked.

Luckily, we’ve got several games to practice ELA vocabulary with your upper elementary students, and we’ve also got a couple of extra activity ideas as well.

Activities and Games to Practice ELA Vocabulary

#1 | [FREE] ELA Vocabulary Candy Game

This digital board game is fun for everyone involved with colorful digital game pieces, intriguing questions and examples, and just a touch of friendly competition.

You can use this candy-themed game to practice ELA vocabulary in a variety of ways. 

This game is particularly fun with small groups, but you can also work through the game as a whole group review activity (where students can work in teams or partners) or as a no-prep station activity.

#2 | ELA U-Know Game 

U-Know is a task card-based game that gives students over 50 opportunities to practice the topic they’re studying. 

You can play a classic game of U-KNOW following the rules included with the game, or you can play a different game with the cards like ‘Markers’ or ‘War.’ You can read more about the ‘Markers’ game in this post or you can find out how to play ‘War’ with the U-KNOW cards by clicking this link.

#3 | Game Shows

You can create your own game show games to practice ELA vocabulary or you can use one of ours. 

Game Shows are fun, semi-competitive activities for students that can be played either in small groups, pairs, or as a whole group. We have two different game shows that may be fun to play as you study ELA vocabulary.

The first is an ELA Vocabulary Game Show that was created for test prep and review, and the other is an ELA Skill Review Game Show that includes slightly longer passages for students to consider but reviews many of the same vocabulary as the ELA Vocabulary Game Show

ELA Game Show Image

#4 | ELA Skills Digital Game

If you like the free resource in #1 above, you’ll also love this one. 

The ELA Skills Digital Game is based on the same concept with the same game board but with paragraphs practicing the different ELA skill questions. 

Since this game is task card-based, you can also use the questions with one of the other ideas that we outlined in a blog post called 3 Unexpected Ways to Use Task Cards. Just print off the slides as cards, and try some of them out!

ELA Vocabulary Digital Game Image

#5 | Color Race

Another fun activity that will get kids up and moving is a color-themed race. To play this game, you can simply use any of the task cards or questions from any of the activities above. This is a super fun game to practice ELA vocabulary, but it does take a little bit more set-up.

  • To begin, construct six lines of index cards (each a different color). You can also decide how many cards you want to use, but we recommend between 6 and 10 in each row.
  • On each card, put a point value (you can decide what point values you want to use). Each line of cards should be the same. 
  • Find a place to document scores. Ideally, this would be on a whiteboard or on a poster where all the participants can see the score. 
  • Finally, create a large dice that has each color represented on one of its sides. Try to find a large enough dice that can easily be seen from a distance, as the students will not want to have to move from their spots to see the result of the roll. 
  • Six students will stand at the end of one of the rows of cards holding whiteboards with markers. 
  • The teacher or leader will roll the dice. Once the color rolled has been determined, the student standing in that color line will take a step forward. 
  • The leader will then read the first question from the task cards. After reading the question, all students will write their answers on their whiteboards. If the student on the rolled color gets the answer right, then they stay where they are at, and they earn the number of points listed on the spot that they’re at; if they don’t, they move back one space, and the leader rolls the dice again. If it rolls the same color (re-roll). If another color is rolled, the student in that position will have the opportunity to ‘steal’ the points by showing that they have the right answer.
  • Once someone gets the answer correct, the leader will roll again, and the next student will move forward on their line.
  • The game continues until a student reaches the end of their line, the group runs out of cards, or an individual reaches a predetermined number of points.
5 Games to Practice ELA Vocabulary Facebook Image

Teaching and reviewing vocabulary terms is an ongoing occurrence in upper elementary and even throughout middle and high school. If you are looking for some student-guided practice, you may like one of our other blog posts called Stop Reteaching ELA Vocabulary: Use this Activity Instead. This blog post goes over an activity that you can use to help your students take initiative over their own learning. This activity is great if you are reviewing vocabulary at the beginning of the year or working with upper elementary students who have already been taught the same ELA vocabulary before. 

Once students have a foundational understanding of the terms, use this list of games to practice ELA vocabulary on an ongoing basis!

BONUS: Want to get a little seasonal? Check out this special winter-themed blog post about studying ELA vocabulary! Winter-Themed Activities for Reviewing ELA Vocabulary After Break.

Share it:


You might also like...