teaching resource

Vocabulary Match-Up

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Grades: K - 1

Our engaging picture-word memory game gets students actively reading while matching images to their words.

Not only is learning to read made more fun with pictures…

It just makes sense! 

When introduced to new words, using a matching image creates a stronger connection to its spelling in your students’ minds. Pictures as visual aids, therefore, help students recall words faster and with greater accuracy, over time building a bigger and more diverse vocabulary

To play our Vocabulary Match-Up game, students will take turns matching word cards with their corresponding pictures. 

How to Play Our Word to Picture Matching Game

This resource can be used as a reading center activity. It can also be used for individual instruction in your guided reading group

Students will shuffle the cards and lay them all face down in rows. Each player takes their turn flipping 2 cards at a time until they find the matching picture and vocabulary word cards, setting the pair aside to keep score.

Get More Out of Vocabulary Match Game

Looking for more fun ways to get your students actively reading, either individually or with your whole class? We’ve got more ways to use this vocabulary matching activity below! 

Sort it Out

Take this activity even further by having students sort the word cards. They can put them in alphabetical order, or categorize each by its part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb). Advanced students might also be able to sort the cards by the number of syllables in each of the words (all words have either 1 or 2 syllables). 

Find Your Match

Provide each student in your class with either a picture card or a word card. Challenge the students to find the student with either their matching picture card or word. For an extra challenge, make the activity a race, or ask the students to complete the task in silence!


Ditch the word cards and use the picture cards as charades prompts (don’t worry—they’ll still have to spell the word!). Divide your class or small group into 2 teams. Teams will take turns sending up 1 student to act out the picture on the card for their team while you keep score and hand the cards to the players. Each team gets a set time period (1 minute for example) to guess the word. If they say it they get 1 point, but the person who guessed correctly must also spell the word on the whiteboard to get another point. If they are unable to spell the word, the other team can steal the point by spelling the word correctly. Once every student has had their turn to act out a card, the game is over and the group with the highest points wins. 

Change the Difficulty Level if Needed

Remind students to use the classroom word wall if they need an additional visual cue.  They can also refer to an alphabet display or their desk plate to review letter sounds and formation. 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the task cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access. 

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. An answer key is also included with this download.

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 


We’ve got many more English Language Arts and Reading resources to get you started, or to continue existing lessons! Check out these teacher-and-student-approved activities: 

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