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WordBURST A Word Recall Game
Ages: 8-Adult   Grades: 3-Adult

Practice four word-finding strategies in this fast-paced game played like Outburst.  Game participants develop rapid recall and word flexibility as they hurry to "beat the clock." 


  • Use word-finding strategies to improve rapid word recall
  • Expand vocabulary
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Players can focus on one word-retrieval strategy or combinations of strategies in this word recall game.  Each double-sided game card has 20 target words or stimuli.  A variety of high to low frequency words are used.  The 100 game cards are divided into four types of word-retrieval strategies: 

  • Visual Imagery—Quickly name up to ten items associated with the target item (e.g., Things you see in a backpack, Things you see at a post office, Things you see in a parade).
  • Synonyms—Quickly complete synonym pairs (e.g., look/see, chore/job, messy/sloppy).
  • Word Association—Quickly identify items associated with the target word/concept, matching as many of the words on the stimulus card as possible (e.g., Artist: paint, brush, easel, canvas, color, picture, pencils, charcoal, paper, creative).
  • Sound/Letter Cueing—Recall a given word when cued with the word's initial sound or letter.  All of the words on a card are related by category (e.g., shapes: triangle, diamond, heart, rectangle, oval, circle, square, cube, cylinder, star or green foods: lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, spinach, pickles, limes, grapes, apples, beans, pears).

Players are divided into two teams: the delivering team and the receiving team.  A game card is inserted into a shielded decoder, making the target words visible only to the delivering team.  The delivering team announces the word-retrieval strategy and the stimulus category and sets the timer.  The receiving team then gives answers as the delivering team keeps track of the responses by marking them off on the game card with a grease pencil.  Players name as many of the words on the shielded card as they can within the time limit. 

Copyright © 1997

100 double-sided cards, 4 divider cards, instructions, two-minute timer, shielded decoder, grease pencil, sturdy box
  • Therapy should include memory strategies to support and organize learning, such as recoding, paraphrasing, chunking, forming associations, writing down steps, and/or creating pictures in the mind (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Effective vocabulary instruction strategies actively engage the student and require higher-level cognitive processing.  These strategies include using new words in novel sentences based on connections to prior knowledge, identifying synonyms and antonyms, analyzing word features, and using visual aids (Kester-Phillips, Foote, & Harper, 2008).
  • Word-finding problems can negatively impact learning and socialization at all ages (German & Newman, 2004).
  • Intervention for word finding should include retrieval strategies, word-finding accommodations, and patient self-awareness (German, 2009).

WordBURST A Word Recall Game incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


German, D.J. (2009). Child word finding: Student voices enlighten us. ASHA Leader, 14(2), 10-13.

German, D.J., & Newman, R.S. (2004). The impact of lexical factors on children's word finding errors. Journal of Speech-Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 624-636.

Kester-Phillips, D.C., Foote, C.J., & Harper, L.J. (2008). Strategies for effective vocabulary instruction. Reading Improvement, 45(2), 62-68.

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech & language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Gina Williamson, Susan S. Shields


Gina V. Williamson, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, received her B.S. from the University of Massachusetts and M.Ed. from the University of Virginia.  She has worked with a variety of communication disorders and program development at community centers, and rehabilitation and acute-care hospitals.  She is currently in private practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  WordBURST is Gina's first publication with LinguiSystems.

Susan S. Shields, M.S., CCC-SLP, received her B.S. from State University of New York at Plattsburg and her M.S. from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She is currently in private practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  She specializes in pediatric communication disorders and has worked in the public schools, multi-disciplinary centers, and at the university level.  WordBURST is Susan's first publication with LinguiSystems.


Research has shown that visual imagery, use of synonyms, word association, and sound/letter cueing, among other strategies, have been effective in facilitating word retrieval and building vocabulary.  The following strategies have been selected and highlighted in WordBURST:

  • Visual Imagery
    Create a picture in your mind of the item or its associated environment.  For example, for Things you see at a grocery store, you might say, "Close your eyes and paint a picture of a grocery store.  Imagine that you are walking down the fruits and vegetables aisle.  Tell me what you see."
  • Synonyms
    Think of a word that has a similar meaning.  For example, for big, you might say "large, huge," or "tremendous."
  • Word Association
    Recall words by identifying related items such as objects, parts, descriptors, and object functions.  For example, for bird, you might say "nest, wings, fly, chirp" or "beak."
  • Sound/Letter Cueing
    Recall a given word by cueing with the initial sound or letter.  For example, for Flowers, you might say, "It starts with the sound d."  The player says, "daisy."  Or you might say, "It starts with the letter d."  The player says, "daisy."