This picture is of a student reading a definition from a second student's back.

Multi-Modal Vocabulary Review Game

Students review vocab as they play a matching game.

Review prior to an assessment often becomes boring for students as it often involves much bookwork.  In an effort to make review more interesting for students, the following game can be employed. I first saw this matching game played in a colleague’s classroom.  Each student had either a holiday character (mostly from popular TV shows) or a description of a character on his/her back in large print and braille.  The students walked around the room and read each other’s backs looking for a match.  The activity was a lot of fun for the students and included tactile, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities.  I thought this would be a more interesting and engaging manner in which to review vocabulary.  I requested a set of cards from our braille transcriber for the words to the next chapter.  The students’ comprehension of the terms and retention improved and I saw higher test scores.  Whenever possible, I use this game to prepare students prior to a test.


Words and definitions for the metric units of mass, volume and length
Words and definitions for the metric units of mass, volume and length


  1. Request or make cards with large print and braille – words and defintions for the chapter.
  2. Choose sets of words for each round that are similar enough to make the game a challenge (Examples: cell, tissue, organ, system)
  3. Prepare cards prior to arrival of students with tape on the back of each card.
This picture is of the cards for the word
Card in print an braille with text: liter — a metric unit used to measure volume of a liquid or gas

Vocabulary Review Game – Rules


  1. The purpose of this game is to find the match to the term or definition on your back.
  2. The students who find their match first and are correct will win a point.

How to Play:

  1. The teacher will tape a term or definition to each student’s back
  2. Students will wait until the teacher says “Go” to begin reading other students’ backs.
  3. Read the word or definition from other students’ back out loud so that the student himself can hear.
  4. Students may not remove the term or definition from their own backs to read them.
  5. Walk around the room and read other students’ backs.
  6. If you think you have found your match, discuss this with the other student- Does he/she agree?
  7. If students agree that they are a match, they should grab hands and raise them together.
  8. If they do not agree, both students will continue searching for a match.
  9. Students who have raised hands can’t change their mind and find a new match.
  10. All students continue to look for their match until each has found his/her match
  11. The first team with hands raised and a correct match wins.
  12. After all students have a match, allow each group to describe the term and description to the class and discuss.

How to Win:

Be the first group to find your match correctly.


This game can also be played at the students’ desks in the following manner:Student reads vocab card at her desk - See variations

  1. Give each student 2 or 3 sets of words and definitions to match – words on the left and definitions on the right.  Some students prefer the words in a pile and other prefer the cards lined up from top to bottom. 
  2. Have students race to finish.
  3. Assist slower readers in reading the words and definitions.

As an added incentive, points throughout the semester can be tallied toward a prize of some sort. For instance, I use this tally to determine which student will choose a snack at the end of the semester.

Multi-Modality Vocabulary review

Photos by Ditmar Hospitál

By Laura Hospitál

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