Using Bingo with ELLs

Using Bingo with ELLs

Bingo is a classic game that can provide students with an engaging way to practice language skills. You can use the game to help students practice vocabulary, reading comprehension, and more.  For ELLs bingo is a fun way to practice basic listening and reading skills. Keep reading to get a FREE set of blank Bingo boards.

Research supports that using games as students are learning a new language has positive benefits. Games can increase student motivation (Martin, 2016) and student achievement (Marzano, 2010). Here are ideas for using Bingo with ELLs.

Using Bingo with ELLs

Practicing Vocabulary with Bingo

One simple way to play Bingo is to have students practice a set of vocabulary words. You can use the written words so that students practice reading, or add in pictures to help with identifying the new vocabulary. To make the game for challenging for older students and those at higher language levels, you can give clues instead of showing them the vocabulary word as you play the game.

back to school bingo

One way to differentiate a vocabulary Bingo game is to give some students a word list. For example, if a class is playing synonym Bingo, you can give ELLs at lower language levels a list of the synonym pairs to use as they play the game.

If you are looking for other vocabulary games to use with ELLs, check out my post about Using Vocabulary Games with ELLs.

Practice Spelling with Bingo

You can even have students create their own bingo boards. If students have a set of word study words Bingo is a fun way to practice them. Print out an extra set of words for each student. Then students cut out the words and glue them onto a Bingo board template.

beginning sound sorting cards

Get your own FREE set of blank Bingo boards.

Practice Reading with Bingo

For ELLs that are just learning how to read, Bingo games are a low-stress way to practice decoding. You can call out a word, give students the change to try and find it on their board, and then show them the word/picture. You can also use Bingo games as a way for students to practice simple reading comprehension questions. Students can write down character names and settings from a book. The caller reads out clues instead of the name of the character.


If you are looking for premade Bingo games, I have sets of alphabet Bingo games.

I have sets of word study picture sorting cards. These are great for students to use to build their own Bingo boards.


Martin, J. (2016, December 13). Research shows how gaming can support language learners. Pearson English Blog.

PeaMarzano, R.J (2010). The art and science of teaching/using games to enhance student achievement. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 71-72.



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