The Impact of Playing Word Games on Young Iranian EFL Learners’ Vocabulary Learning and Retention

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Acquiring adequate vocabulary in a foreign language is very important but often difficult. Considering the importance of learner’s vocabulary learning and retention, the present study aimed at examining the impact of playing word games on young Iranian EFL learners’ vocabulary learning and retention at Irandoostan language Institute in Tabriz. To that end, 50 female learners at the age range of 8-12 were selected and assigned into an experimental (n=25) and a control (n=25) group. The design of the study was quasi-experimental with pretest, immediate posttest and delayed posttest. The content of the tests were based on the students’ course books and consisted of 20 items. The researcher utilized the word games in order to teach the selected vocabulary items during the course which lasted for a month and a half. The games were played each session for about 15 minutes. The experimental group was engaged in playing word games as a treatment and the control group received usual instruction. After the treatment, the participants in both groups took the post-test and after two weeks the learners were asked to take the test once more. This time their scores were assigned as the retention post-test scores. The mean scores of two groups were compared three times through the independent samples t-test. The results of the data analysis revealed that playing word games were effective in helping learners to improve their vocabulary learning and retention.


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