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Bingo is thought to have originated from an Italian game in the 16th Century and remains popular today in both online and offline versions. It is very easy to adapt for English lessons with groups and requires no or only minimal pre-lesson preparation.

teaching listening skills
Listening bingo is a fun and easy way to teach listening skills with any age group


1: Before the lesson, find a list of vocabulary (about 12 items) that you want to use for the lesson. This could be a lexical set from the coursebook, or a list of soundalike words such as minimal pairs.

2: Tell students to choose five or six of these items and write them on a piece of paper.

3: When students are ready, start by reading out different items. As students hear the items on their list they should cross them off. The first to cross off all of their items is the winner, and should raise their hand and shout “Bingo” (or some other word if you prefer). It is a good idea and younger students often enjoy practising this before the game starts.

4: Repeat the game by having students pick new words and bringing a student to the front to be the bingo-caller. Finally, if you have enough students, but them into groups of 4 to 6 students and have them do the activity in groups.

S1: Tent, compass, water bottle, sunglasses, torch, sleeping bag, snacks.
S2: Bingo!


1: By using minimal pairs (e.g. sit, seat, this, these) you can focus on pronunciation of particular phonemes.

2: You can play this game with young children by giving them bingo cards with pictures of the items. This does involve some preparation of the bingo cards.

Follow on:

This is a useful activity to do either before students will hear some of these words in a listening exercise, or between presenting these words and more productive controlled practice. It is therefore assumed that some freer productive activity stage will follow later in the lesson.

Example Lists:

Numbers (including non-standard numbers e.g. fractions, ratios, measurements, percentages, etc.)

A lexical set (camping theme): tent, sleeping bag, compass, map, water bottle, penknife, torch, snacks, playing cards, hiking boots, matches

Minimal pairs (/ɪ/ and /i:/): sit, seat, this, these, his, he’s, it, eat, ship, sheep, bin, bean

Delayed plosion pairs: white wine, why twine, red eye, red dye, wet towel, wet owl, great ape, grey tape

Catenated phrases: do you want to (/ʤəwɑnə/), are you going to (/əjəgʌnə/), a lot of (/əlɒtə/)

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photo credit: byzantiumbooks BINGO via photopin (license)

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