It’s Not Rocket Science: Embed Specialised Vocabulary With These Simple Matching Activities

Literacy Word Match

Working with specialised language and technical vocabulary represents some of the biggest bang for buck if you’re in education and need to make sure your learners understand what you’re saying to them.


  • Most trainers, trades people, academic staff, and other subject area experts are so close to their own content that they constantly assume that everyone else knows what they are talking about. Actually, they don’t. We don’t. And your learners (or customers) don’t.

I’ve written about vocabulary a bunch of times including here most recently. But in terms of sheer practicality it’s hard to go past something like a simple matching activity either as diagnostic check on who know what, or as a fun way to engage people with new words, in particular specialised or technical words.

With that in mind, here are some templates to make your life easier. Just download and substitute your own words. I’ve pasted in screen shots as well, but you need to download the MS Word templates and make them your own.

How to use

  • Print on card, cut out, mix up, and get pairs or groups to work together to match up words and definitions.
  • Variation: Go for the three column approach once you think your learners are getting 95% correct on the two column. I’ve suggested separating out definitions from examples, but the third column could be any other aspect that you like, including images if you resized the cells of the table.

The first one is an example that contains 20 technical words from the world of literacy. It’s a test (if you’re up for it). How many do you know?

Otherwise though, just have a go with the templates and let me know how you get on.

The templates

3 col

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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