ELA Games: 15 Fun Language Arts Activities for Middle School

Games are exciting, and when incorporated into learning activities, learning becomes fun. Language art games help introduce, reinforce concepts and keep middle school students engaged for hours.

Students learn English and develop their grammar skills and vocabulary through the games. But which ELA activities are ideal for middle school?

This guide explores 15 ELA games. Read on.

1. Reading Bingo

bingo card activity in class

Reading Bingo cards are language art games that promote reading. These cards include 9-15 reading activities where learners win a prize after accomplishing their task. Winning prizes helps learners maintain their reading enthusiasm.

The main rule of Reading Bingo is to have the class read one row on the card, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. You could have each student read individually, with a partner, or in a book club.

When learners accomplish their reading tasks, offer prizes that encourage reading. For instance, you could arrange a visit to the public library or the book fair. These activities will facilitate the study of language arts.

2. Parts of Speech Bingo

Unlike Reading Bingo, this interactive ELA teaches parts of speech. It helps learners perfect their knowledge in identifying the eight parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions.

To play, provide Parts of Speech cards to your middle-grade class. Readout words with different parts of speech. The students will put a marker on a part of the speech, and you will state the correct answer. The winner is often one who gets five correct answers in a row, but you can change the rules to suit your middle-grade learners.

3. Charade

Charades are among the fun ELA activities for middle school kids. This fun game involves using gestures to guess the correct secret word or phrase.

To play, divide your class into two teams. Have each member from each team write down one familiar but secret word. Place these secret words in a box and hand them to the opposite team.

Have a member from the first-team pick a random word written by the other team and act it out. The teammates then guess the correct answer. Time the act for 30 seconds to a minute for more fun, then switch to the next team.

Since charade uses gestures to correctly name the secret word, it is an effective way for middle graders to learn English excitingly.

4. Discussion Questions

ELA games for middle school should include discussion questions. These discussions promote critical thinking, where a learner not only reads and analyzes context but also tries to incorporate what they learn in the real world.

To drive these Language Art discussions, start with simple questions such as, ‘What do you think happens next? What did you like or dislike? What did you learn from this chapter?’ With time, you can discuss aspects such as imagery, themes, symbolism, allusion, allegory, and more.

Discussions help learners understand there is more to just reading a book. Reading stops feeling like a chore but a platform to understand different concepts.

5. Vocabulary Pictionary

Another fun language arts game is the vocabulary Pictionary. This game involves the use of pictures to teach vocabulary.

First, prepare a list of vocabulary for your middle-grade learners. Divide them into teams and provide a scribbling book. Show one word to a player from the first team secretly. Have the player draw a picture that guides the teammates to guess the secret word correctly. Award points and repeat the same with the other team.

Vocabulary Pictionary helps a learner visualize a vocabulary rather than memorize, copy, or recite it. The visual representation enables a middle grader to relate the image to its definition, thus promoting learning. The game also boosts creativity since the expression is in the form of pictures, not words.

6. Balderdash

Balderdash is another interactive ELA activity for middle school. The game is simple, fun, creative, and silly. It involves guessing the definitions of new vocabulary.

Make teams of four and have each student write down a word from the dictionary. Place these words in each team’s box. A player(dasher) then dashes a word from the box and reads it out.

Other players write down their definitions and place them in a bowl. The dasher reads out the player’s definition along with the true definition. Players guess the correct answer, and the dasher scores them.

Balderdash improves creativity as well as writing skills. Young learners have to write down the first impression they derive from a new word and thereby develop their vocabulary.

7. Board Games

students playing boardgames

Board games are indeed fun ELA activities for middle school. These art games are fun, educational, and interactive. They help learners improve their vocabulary and their spelling without much hassle.

There are numerous ELA board games for middle graders. Scattergories, for instance, promote creativity since all answers should start with the selected letter on the dice. Scrabble, a crossword game, also helps learners improve their spelling.Taboo, is another game where players guess a word without mentioning the forbidden word. This game boosts speaking and listening skills.

8. Story Telling

Stories are fun for middle school kids. Divide the class into groups and ask them to narrate creative stories amongst themselves to improve their speaking skills. Also, encourage the listeners to ask questions.

Alternatively, ask the class to write a creative story. Come up with an introductory line and have each student write it down in their notebook. Each student should write the next line and then pass their book to the next person. Ensure all students contribute a single line to everyone’s story.

9. Write Haiku

middle graders writing in school

A haiku is a poem with just three lines. However, these three lines should be structured with just 17 syllables: five in the first and last line and seven in the middle.

Writing haiku poems can be fun for middle graders as they learn how to count syllables. In addition, they will not have a difficult time writing just three lines.

10. Hink Pink

Hinky Pinky is a language arts game that uses rhyming pairs of words to teach about adjectives and synonyms. The rhyming words can have one syllable (Hink Pink), two syllables (Hinky Pinky), or three syllables (Hinkity Pinkity).

To play, develop non-rhyming clues for the students to guess the correct pair of rhyming words. For example, you could ask, ‘What do lawyers feel after they lose?’ The answer: Brief Grief.

11. Hangman

hangman activity for school

Hangman is another interactive ELA game that will keep middle-class learners hooked. It requires one player (host) to come up with a secret word that the other player will guess correctly.

The host draws blank dashes that match the number of letters in the secret word. The player then tries to guess the letters. You can customize the game to have the host draw a hangman for every wrong guess the player makes. Too many wrong guesses will mean a complete picture of a hanging man, which is a loss.

By playing hangman, your students will learn new words from their friends.

12. Who Am I?

This learning activity helps learners better understand the characters from their literature texts. When reading literature, type out the characters’ names on cards and ask your students to say what traits they remember about them.

Alternatively, tape the card on a student’s forehead or back, so they have no clue about their secret word. Then, ask the other students to help list the said character’s qualities for the student to identify them correctly.

13. Kahoot

middle school students holding cellphone

Kahoot is an online site to get some fun interactive language arts games. This free website features question games in Classic and Team Mode. Classic mode involves player versus player, while Team mode allows competition among teams with shared devices.

To access Kahoot, you need to create an account. Once you do, check the Kahoots Quiz page and choose the ELA that suits a middle-grade class. Alternatively, you can create content that fits the topic you are teaching. Then customize the page by keying in the game pin, randomized questions and answers, and point bonuses.

14. Gimkit

ELA activities should be memorable, and Gimkit facilitates this. It keeps students engaged, making it perfect for teaching or reviewing a concept.

The site offers question sets that work more or less like flashcards. You can create your questions, copy some from other users on the site, or ask your students to chip in their individual questions.

Gimkit also features engaging live gameplay that requires knowledge, teamwork, and strategies for a team to win. Thanks to the constant updates, there is something new for a classroom to do, making language art games fun.

15. Mr. Nussbaum Learning + Fun

phonics word in tablet with writing tools on table

Mr. Nussbaum Learning + Fun also provides online ELA games for middle school students. There are over 50 language arts that teach spelling, phonics, punctuation, grammar, sentence puzzles, and more. The activities are perfect for practice and reinforcement of the topics covered in class.

Final Thoughts

The above ELA games will keep middle school students engaged while learning. All the activities are fun, interactive, and easy to incorporate into your curriculum. They are helpful when introducing a new concept or reviewing one. Either way, your learners get to improve their reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.

Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Emily

Emily/ author of the article

Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.

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