BINGO for Speech Practice

Most people think of bingo as a game of numbers.  However, with a little variation it is great tool for teaching new vocabulary and language skills for about any age or ability level.  The traditional bingo is built on a 5×5 grid.  BINGO or some other 5 letter word is placed on the top of the grid with numbers underneath.  Each player’s card is a mix of numbers that are placed in different squares from other players cards. There is usually a free space in the center square.  Numbers are drawn randomly and called using the letters on the top and a number that would fall underneath.  Participants look for the numbers on their cards and place a marker on any that are found.  The winner is the person who gets five markers in a row or other designated shape.  When that happens, the person yells Bingo, is declared the winner and possibly gets a prize.

For educational purposes, the number squares can easily be replaced with pictures, vocabulary words, or phrases such as definitions or idioms.  These then provide the answers to questions that are drawn randomly.  This game allows players to search for the best possible answer from a closed set even though they may not know the correct answer from memory.  They are required to review the answers multiple times increasing the likelihood they will remember them in the future.  The difficulty can be adjusted by using pictures or written words.

In the past, to make multiple cards using the same set of items but in a different sequence required a lot of cut and pasting.  Now the internet has made a lot of cards available free of charge.  I have listed some sites that have ready made bingo cards using vocabulary in selected categories and themes.

Bingo cards can also be used for articulation practice.  The squares can have words that contain certain sounds for practice. This site has several.  One game suggested the player to roll a dice to determine which row they could choose a picture from before marking it out. 6 became roll again.   This allowed children to play with cards from different sound sets in the same group.

There are also sites that allow you to make your own cards. They can generate multiple cards from words placed into the program.  The program automatically switches the order of items so that each card is different from the previous one.

I used this program to make a set of cards to teach idioms. I placed the idioms in the squares on the cards and made a draw pile of the definitions.  The idioms and definitions came from


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