Teaching english games
Learning is fun!

Are you new to ESL, switching age groups or looking to motivate your pupils? Make your ESL teaching easier and more fun here.

Hello. I'm Shelley Ann Vernon and I specialize in teaching English as a second or foreign language through English games, short stories, songs, plays and more. I have already helped over 15,000 teachers take the stress out of teaching and put the fun back in. Now I'd like to help you too. I am here for you. I offer you personal support to get the best out of my resources. Every email is answered. (I use cookies and 3rd party analytics to track the use of my website. I use this info to improve my services and I never use this data for marketing purposes. Check out my privacy policy here.)

Stories Games and Songs, the acknowledged and documented BEST resources to:

- develop children’s attention span and listening skills*

- stimulate children’s imagination and understanding of the world*  

- develop language ability and appreciation of literature

**(Dragan 2001, Rippel 2006)

Here’s how to motivate your pupils, help them learn effectively and ensure you and your pupils enjoy your lessons more.

Receive free games and stories here!

Books of ESL games
ESL Stories
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What teachers are saying

USA, All my best and with so much gratitude

Thank you, so very tremendously, for your stories, activities and ideas for keeping this very active age of 2-5 year olds engaged. I see the looks on the parents faces and the children are opening up more and more each class. You make me look Soo good!

Milan, Italy, Dec 2015

I’m very excited about using all the activities and transforming my lessons into less teacher-centered ones. Congratulations on the book! It is really well organized and easy to use.

Han sur Lesse, Belgium, Jan 2016

I keep being a bit afraid to 'abandon' my school book, but from time to time I use the games in your book for a change. My pupils really appreciate it and I see them change. When I use a game, they are happy and all participate.

Turkey, March 2016

I keep using the games from primary esl games book and so many things have changed for me for the better. My classes are more fun, I am gaining more confidence as a teacher. My pupils love the games and are learning very fast!!! It's all been really great!

Qatar, March 2016

The Adult games book has really reduced my preparation time. Activities such as 'Guess the Question' have really gone down well with my classes.

International School, Prague

You have no idea how much your resources have changed my work, professional business AND personal life! My job is a source of pleasure and I look forward to it every day. Once again, thank you for all your help and inspiration! You are a great contributor to our world!

France, Nov 2015

I love this book. It has saved me many times. I love getting the kids to work together, it's such an important skill to learn. It is just such refreshing relief for these French kids who have no idea about learning through games.

Dec 2015, China

After I bought your "games for kids" book and started using it my lesson planning became so much simpler and quicker. The lessons a lot more fun and rewarding for my students. I am totally happy with it.

Kiev, Ukraine, Nov 2015

The stories and songs are brilliant, my 4 1/2 year old student loves them and his mother is rapt with his improvement.

Chengdu, China (Wuhou District), Nov 2015

First of all... I love you!!!!! I teach English to 3-7 year olds in China. You speak my children's language! F-U-N !!!

Poland, May 2016

You make the best teaching materials on the planet.

New Zealand, May 2016

I am still enjoying my English teaching. After the 20 stories I am finding the children are able to respond and answer questions. Your course is fantastic. Last week I used the teddy story, it went so well. Thank you for making ESL such simple fun.

Great work, Love from Portugal, Luzia, May 2016

My little students love your stories and I love the fact that I can teach the language always doing what they like best - playing and listening to stories.

Teaching English Games Blog

Useful ESL tips to solve teaching problems

13 March 2019

I'm all about hands-on results, but academic types often ask me for research backing the use of games in language learning. Playing games is natural for children. Games motivate students to join in. Check authors like Hadfield and Rixon, who point out that games should have a central place in language teaching because they create a friendly atmosphere in the classroom. Games are fun and relaxing. Check also author Penny Ur, who thinks games provide a necessary and meaningful context for language learners. EFL author Mario Rinvolucri believes games enhance students´ involvement in language learning. Despite all these advantages of teaching with games in the EFL-classroom, some teachers and schools still frown upon using them.  When it comes to teaching grammar, that important and tricky part of learning a language, games are seen as frivolous. Grammar should be taught in a ´serious, academic´ way. Playing games in grammar lessons is a waste of time. Use a game at the end of the lesson, as a reward for good behaviour, or as a time-filler. Poor students. Change teacher! In the classroom, there's nothing better than repeating grammatical structures to learn and integrate them into one's linguistic toolbox. Repetition is the mother of skill. Games put emphasis on fluency and speaking activities whereby grammar structures are repeated and drilled abundantly. This is a key point. It's not just about having fun or being relaxed. It's about learning effectively. Get games here, for all ages. All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon

bright students 3 students on a podium
11 March 2019

English teacher Firoozeh asked me: I have a question in relation to reading stories to preschoolers. While reading the story, some of the kids like to translate the sentences I read, to show they understand the meaning. But I'm worried that this doesn't let the other learners make their own guesses to understand the story. How to deal with these enthusiastic participantsIf it's the same child jumping in each time, you don't want to crush or discourage him or her. Yet you don't want them to spoil the show for everyone either, by answering everything first. An enthusiastic child, who is learning faster than the others, can be your ally, not a nuisance. Give these children a special role. Ask them to repeat the line from the story for you, but in English. Ask them not to translate the story until the end. Then at the end, if you want to check the story meaning, you can ask a child in the class to translate the line and have your special students listen and say whether the translation is correct or not.  You should give your better students jobs, so they are challenged, stimulated. Otherwise, they get bored. And certainly, you can't penalize them for being the best in the class.  Then you can prepare to act out the story, using some basic props. For this, your best children get the key roles. Do leave helpful comments on the blog about how you handle this situation.All the bestShelley Ann Vernon

new student in first class
11 March 2019

When you start with a new student you never know what you are going to get. It's pointless preparing a lesson really since you won't know the real level of the student until you meet them. The student might have told you that they have been studying English for seven years, but that doesn't tell you much. Some people know virtually nothing after seven years of English lessons! I therefore recommend giving students a language test in the first lesson. You'll have concrete evidence of what they know. You can find free tests online. Here are three links but if you search yourself, you'll find more. Copy and paste the links to go through to the page:www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-englishwww.testmylevel.comwww.ilsenglish.com/quicklinks/test-your-english-level If you have new students join your existing group, the golden rule is not to hold up the students already attending. Likewise, if a student misses a lesson, don't go back over old ground and hold back those who were there. When the new student joins the group, give them a language test to do quietly, while you teach your regulars something new. Then, in the second part of the lesson, you could ask the students to find out all about each other with interviews. Work in pairs, find out as much as you can and then present the other student to the class. This might mean that one of the students will interview and present you. This is quite a nice thing to do in the first lesson. Also, this type of multi-level activity allows more advanced students to use more language and those with less ability can stick to questions at their level. Do write your comments and ideas in the blog below. Don't worry, your email is kept private, it's only there in case you ask me something and I need to get in touch with you. 

a cow jumping over the moon nursery rhyme picture
31 January 2019

A teacher asked me for some traditional English nursery rhymes for toddlers and preschoolers. I found this to be the best source of information:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nursery_rhymesHere you'll find nursery rhymes predominantly from England, America and Scotland. You get the words, origins and folklore, and notes for the erudite!In my Preschool Games book for children learning English, you'll find plenty of nursery rhyme games and ideas to use while you chant the rhyme. If you have the preschool games book already, check out these games to use with rhymes:Boom Chica BoomDuck Duck GooseHead to HeadHoopsHot PotatoLuck GameParachute GameWho Is It 2?And see the section on rhymes too.If you don't have my preschool games book, here is a taster.Boom Chica BoomCategory: Step 3 speaking drill and naming vocabularyGroup: Any number of childrenSpace: Can be done at desks if no space is availablePace: Calm to wake upMaterials: A rhyme and some flashcardsWhile useful for vocabulary revision, the main purpose of this game is to help fluency and pronunciation by having children repeatedly using the same rhyme or phrase.How to playChoose a silly rhythmic phrase, which everyone says together in rhythm, clapping on the stressed syllables. In this example, for those who know music, imagine two four-beat bars. Place stress on the syllables in bold. It takes the same time to say "I said a" as it does to say "boom".Boom chica boom, I said a boom chica boom,Boom chica rocka chica rocka chica boom.Children each have a flashcard that they do not show to anyone. At the end of the phrase, a chosen child acts out the picture on his or her flashcard. The other children attempt to guess and name the word. When done, repeat the rhyme and have another child act out his or her picture, and so on. More advanced children can give a sentence with the word in instead of simply naming single vocabulary words. Phonemes: Exploit this game for fluency and pronunciation skills by having children repeatedly using the same rhyme. Make one up that targets phonemes pupils need to work with. With French preschool children try this one: Thicker thacker thumper, thicker thacker thumpThicker thacker thicker thacker bump bump bump. French children have difficulty with the ‘th’ sound, so even though the words are nonsense this rhyme is very useful for pronunciation. If you are going to use this example, you must insist on the correct pronunciation of the ‘th’, with the tongue being placed between the teeth to make the sound. If left to their own devices, French children will say ‘Zicker zacker zump’, which does somewhat defeat the purpose of the activity! Other Nursery Rhyme Activities1. Have children draw pictures of characters or objects in the nursery rhyme or give them pictures to colour.2. Say the nursery rhyme in a high squeaky voice, in a deep low voice, very fast and very slow.3. Do a craft based on a character or key object in the nursery rhyme.4. Act the nursery rhyme and see if your pupils can guess which one you are acting.5. Make sock puppets of the key character/s in your nursery rhyme.6. Play hide and seek with your puppet or a key object mentioned in the nursery rhyme.7. Make a model set, use objects or toys to stage the nursery rhyme. This could be a shoe for There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, a farm for Baa baa black sheep, a wall for Humpty Dumpty, a clock and toy mouse for Hickory, dickory dock. And so on. Do please write your comments and any ideas in the comments below. Your email is kept confidential, only your name and comment will be published.

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shelley ann vernon photoSuccessful author and ESL teacher Shelley Ann Vernon has a passion for helping teachers make their job easier and more fun. Having been a dedicated teacher herself, Shelley knows exactly what it's like to spend hours preparing for a lesson, trying to make it fun and interesting for the students. She has shared her extensive experience as a fun, effective ESL teacher. She has two highly rated books on Amazon, plus other outstanding resources for teaching children. She always responds to fan mail and questions. Shelley speaks at conferences such as IATEFL Cardiff 2009, YALS Belgrade 2011, UCN, Hjorring, Denmark 2014 and Barcelona in 2015. See her upcoming events on author-central for the next opportunity to meet her.

Shelley Ann Vernon, BA, BAMus

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