Word games really can improve vocabulary. This is because most word games use semantic and / or phonological skills, which are the exact same skills that we need for learning words. A simple pun will play with the sounds of words and require the listener to reflect on word meanings and make important connections between words. So whilst having fun we are also developing a deeper understanding of vocabulary.
Equally important is that we all learn better when we are having fun. For many children vocabulary may usually be hard work. They may really struggle to develop their vocabulary. By making it fun we can engage them and get them motivated about learning words.
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Here’s a simple game to get you started. It does not take long and the only requirement is to be able to see some artwork on the wall.
Look at a range of artworks that the class has displayed on the wall. Children are encouraged to call out (constructive) adjectives that can be used to describe one of the artworks and these are written on the board. Teaching staff can also add a few more advanced adjectives, thus extending children’s vocabulary. Children then take turns to select an adjective, nominate several artworks that fit that description and explain why.
Give it a go and let us know how you get on.
Stephen and Anna