Vocabulary Study and Play at Your Fingertips

Quizlet.com is a site for teachers and students to create word cards for vocabulary learning through reading, listening, matching, spelling and flashcard games.

There are many great things about Quizlet. It’s a free site full of already created vocabulary card sets on loads of different thematic topics for all levels of ESL learners. (NB: It’s a site for all language learners, but the focus here will be on ESL learners). Even better is the fact that students (and teachers) can create and save their own vocabulary card sets – with both words and pictures – on the site once they sign up. I would recommend signing up before you do anything else because you can’t save anything until you create your own account.

There are so many uses of this site, so take time to explore it on your own, and find the vocabulary sets that fit your students’ needs.

Here are a few things to get you started on using Quizlet:

  • Search for “ESL” resources: Search the site for vocabulary sets that other teachers and students have created by just using the search button. Check out this vocabulary set that has the names of vegetables
  • Study or Play Games to Practice: Once you click on a set you’ve got a range of study activities and games for practice with the vocabulary. Some of the options (at the top of the page) for study and play are:
    • Study: Flashcards / Learn / Speller / Test
    • Play: Scatter / Gravity
  • Create your own set of cards: (Make sure you are logged in when you do this because otherwise you will not be able to save your set!)
    • Go to “Create”
    • Create a “Set Title” for your vocabulary words.
    • Create a “Description” for your vocabulary words.
    • Look for “Visible to” drop down menu and set it to “everyone” or “just me”.
    • Now you can “Enter Your Terms”. (Click on the box that says “Add Images” for cards with pictures.) Don’t forget to save the set at the end. You can edit or delete the set at a later date.



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About Moira Taylor

Moira Taylor loves her reading time on the C train as she travels from Washington Heights to Brooklyn. Her ESL career started at the Riverside Language Program more than 20 years ago. She's also taught in Thailand, the New York Public libraries, and The New School. She's been at CUNY as an ESL professional developer for 10 years.

10 thoughts on “Vocabulary Study and Play at Your Fingertips

  1. I use Quizet.com all the time with my students! We also have students who participate in a culinary arts program. The text that is used in their class has card sets already created for their use. The students also create their own sets. The students like to play the games to practice their vocabulary terms.

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  2. Quizlet is fantastic, free and usable online and on smartphones! Be wary, though, that some of the public sets are made by students and therefore may contain errors. A “best practice” is to create a class and add relevant sets that you review for accuracy (and also create your own sets based on course material). Students will feel more supported by having the sets already curated for them as opposed to needing to seek out relevant and reliable sets by themselves.

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  3. Quizlet would be a wonderful tool for my students who have the technology. I would need maybe to model its use in a computer lab before I assigned a task. I need to practice it myself first to make sure I know all the elements it offers. Then I could turn them loose!

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    1. Hi Kristin,
      I have confirmed that Quizlet does have a library of stock photos for use with word cards, but that library is limited. In order to upload your own images, you need to upgrade to the Teacher Superpower account for $24.99/year. That upgrade also gets you other benefits. Hope this is helpful.


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  4. I totally agree. Quizlet is a wonderful resource for teaching pronunciation, spelling and meaning of vocabulary units. I particularly like the speller and the game functions. We, teachers, can create vocabulary sets, and we can show our students how to create them. By the way, there is a phone app.

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  5. For teachers, it’s nice to access sets of ready-made word cards. It’s also nice to be able to customize your own word lists to suit the needs of a particular class. I also like that students can access the word lists and engage in a variety of activities that make them use the vocabulary.

    One thing I noticed, though, was that when I wanted to upload my own images, I was prompted to upgrade to a membership that costs $14.99 per year. They had some stock images that were available for free, but the choice was rather limited.

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  6. There are pre-made WANY vocab quizzes for each of the WANY episodes. The teacher name is WANYESOL.

    Are the above-mentioned stock photos part of the free subscription? I haven’t been able to add photos, I’m considering forking over the $ for a sub, as I’ll be teaching 2 0level classes in the fall…

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  7. It’s seems like a really helpful strategy to give students a game-way to build vocabulary. growing vocabulary is essential, and yet deathly boring!

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