Get your students up and involved in engaging review games with the literature, writing, and grammar terms every student needs to know. These versatile ELA academic vocabulary game cards with words and definitions work for a variety of whole-class activities or in a learning station rotation in your classroom.
✔ 145 vocabulary words and definitions aligned with ELA Common Core standards
✔ Formatted for easy two-sided printing
✔ Choose full color or low ink versions
✔ Editable pages to add your own words and definitions
1) Product overview
2) Tips for printing PDF files
3-15) Colored academic vocabulary card fronts
16-28) Card backs with definitions
29-41) Black and white academic vocabulary card fronts
42-54) Card backs with definitions
55-57) Editable cards
First, choose whether to print color or black and white cards.
If you want to add your own words, type those into the editable spaces on pages 55-57 before printing.
For Set 1 (with color) print pages 3-28 double-sided. For Set 2 (low ink) print pages 29-54 double-sided. Flip on the long edge if your printer dialogue box asks this. Cutting lines are marked on the backs of the cards.
For single-sided cards for matching/memory games, print pages 29-54. Use colored paper or cardstock to
ensure students can’t see the word through the paper.
I hot-glued magnets to the back of a small plastic storage box (5¼ by 4 by 1¼ inches) so that I could keep these cards right beside my Academic Vocabulary Word Wall. A sandwich size plastic bag would work as well.
I begin the year with all of the cards in my file drawer. Then I move cards into the box on the board as we add those terms to the word wall and our academic vocabulary dictionaries. That way, I know anything in the box is a word I have already introduced in class.
How to use these Academic Vocabulary Game Cards
The front of each card has an ELA academic vocabulary term. The back of the card has the term, the strand (literature, grammar, writing, etc.) in which the term would be used, and a brief definition. Note: the card backs in Set 2 do not show the term so that these can be used as flashcards for study. You can use these for a variety of review activities.
Time filler for last 1-2 minutes of class
Randomly pull a card and read the definition aloud. The first student to give the correct term gets to pull the next card. If the class needs some extra motivation, you might give a mint, sticker, or some other tiny prize.
Whole class game
Have students roll a die to determine what they must do with the word: 1 = Describe it, 2 = Draw it, 3 = Sing it, 4 = Act it out, 5 = Use it in a sentence, 6 = Free choice. To make sure everyone is involved, one option is to play this like charades. The class doesn’t know the word and must guess what the “performer” is describing.
Learning station or center activity
Use the game above with a small group or print single-sided cards and definitions for Go Fish or Memory matching games for a fun review.
Use these cards together with my other Academic Vocabulary and Common Core resources to get the most from your ELA academic vocabulary instruction.
Download a list of all the words on the vocabulary game cards correlated with the ELA standards for grades 6-12.
For more ideas, read my blog post on How I Teach Academic Vocabulary.