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.

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

two esl song movie extracts
25 April 2018

Hello and welcome! There is a free song movie for you on this page. But first, let's see how best to use it.  Songs are brilliant for vocabulary acquisition, language learning and fluency. Music also lightens the mood in class and makes people feel good, (as long as you aren't teaching aggressive rap by "I'm deeply cool but everybody else, the government, society and the rest of the world totally sucks"). Pupils need to hear a song many, many times before they know the words and tune by heart. You can't very well play a song over and over in class while the kids sit there, so how can you teach songs? Using the six steps below you will teach songs in a varied and interesting way, and appeal to all different types of learning styles. 1. Use songs with limited words. Too many words and your kids have no chance of learning them. My songs are perfect. Use them alongside the matching stories, or alone. 2. Play the songs as background music to games. If you have space there are fun games like musical vocabulary. If you don't have space, play a passing game and when you stop the music, kids do a forfeit. (A forfeit in this context is something like say ten words without taking a breath, do five star jumps, pretend to be a monkey, mime being a hairdresser, etc.) 3. Pre-teach the key vocabulary in the songs using games. When children hear the song they will already recognize the main words and this helps them piece the rest together. 4. Work with the text: It's fun to piece the text together like a puzzle while listening to the music. Or play a game like Find Your Friend, where kids have part of the song and they have to find the students who have the other parts. 5. Work with the meaning: Do actions for the key nouns and phrases. As the song plays rehearse a choreography with meaningful actions. My songs come with masks of the characters, for role-plays and acting out the song. Wearing a mask can help shy kids come out of their shell too. 6. Use song videos: Once you have done the five steps above, show the song video. Here kids see visual vocabulary clues and how the words are written. You get a few minutes breather while your class is mesmerized by the screen!    "I just wanted to say that my son adores The ants are marching down the path song. We often hear your CD in the car and M. likes to follow the sequence of the ants falling asleep. Sometimes I have to leave him in the car for a while until the song is finished. I love your song and lessons too because they are very repetitive and the vocabulary gradually increases. You play with the same terms and each time add some more. I really like your teaching style!" Tatiana Costache. Russia.  Order my complete song kit here. Includes:- 16 songs for children aged 3-6.- 16 backing tracks for karaoke- Masks of the characters in colour and black and white- Activities to teach every song- 16 song movies with words and pictures- Receive all of the above instantly via download.

girl learning English with puppet
24 April 2018

Infants and preschool children are fascinated by puppets. Cash in on this attraction and use puppets to help you teach English. Let the puppet be your ally, a bridge between you and the children. Your puppet only speaks English of course! This makes the children motivated to communicate with your puppet character. Read Max's story: I've used a puppet at home with my youngest child. The hand puppet can only speak English and best of all he does say some silly things! I speak to my children in English but they know I speak French fluently so they talk back to me in French and it was a problem to get them to talk English. However, quite by chance whilst going through some boxes of old toys with my youngest son, Max, we came across a 'Pinocchio' hand puppet. Max said, (in French) 'can you make him talk Mummy?' I replied 'of course!' and put on the puppet and it spoke to Max in English 'Hello, what's your name?'  (I gave him a funny voice, to make it different from my own), my son replied (he was 3 1/2 at the time) in perfect English 'My name is Max, what's yours?' I was very surprised and ever since every time we take Pinocchio off the shelf Max always communicates with him in English, sometimes if he's not sure of a word he asks me first, then he tells Pinocchio. Pinocchio does silly things at times he gets the names of things mixed up which makes Max laugh and naturally he corrects him, sometimes Pinocchio contests and asks me if that's right and I tell him that Max is absolutely right. Pinocchio is Max's best friend, he even talks to him on his own when I'm not around and it's all in English, amazing! I would really recommend this with preschoolers, I wasn't able to use Pinocchio when I taught English to Max's class (Max is too attached) but I did use a small teddy bear when I was using your Hetty and the Lion story, they loved him and had no problem repeating words to 'teddy' and answering him when he asked questions. Teddy was always hungry too and the children loved 'feeding' him with the flash cards. Teddy would talk in my ear 'Ice cream' I would repeat it and all the children with Ice cream flashcards would give them to Teddy and he would devour them making lots of noise! The children found this hysterical.Resources Related to this Blog:Teaching Toddlers EnglishTeaching Preschool Children English Beware of scary puppetsA teacher complained that her preschool children were afraid of the expensive puppet that she had just purchased. When she sent me the picture of the puppet, I could see why! A gaping open mouth, startled eyes and creased mouth corners and huge crinkly hands - this puppet reminded me of the baddie in Batman (The Joker). So if your pupils do not like your puppet, put it away immediately and try a different one the next time. 

kids learning English through a vocabulary game
12 April 2018

Here is a fantastic game for beginners. It's ideal for:- new vocabulary- vocabulary revision- getting rid of inhibitions, even shy students can join in with this one. This game is so easy to do and needs no preparation. Play in small groups of 15 students. Split your class into two or three groups if you have too many students. How to play Circle set up: Ideally have children sit in a circle with one pupil in the middle. The child in the centre calls out someone’s name three times, for example, ‘Maria, Maria, Maria!’ Maria must react and say her name quickly before the child in the middle has finished saying it three times. Use the game with names the first time you play it and at the start of a new class where children do not know each other.Classroom set up: If you have a cramped classroom, play with students at their desks. Place 5 children at the front, each with a word. These 5 take turns to say their word while the class members try to interject before the three repetitions are up. This way kids can see the faces of those speaking, which is easier than having no visual clues. Bring 5 kids at a time to the front to keep the pace up. If you switch kids over one by one this game will be a drag. Once the children know the game, use it for vocabulary. Give out picture flashcards to the children. The children hold their cards so the child in the middle can see them and play as above. The child says one of the words three times and the child or children holding that picture must say the word or hold up the picture quickly before the three repetitions are up. The teacher can go in the middle if the children do not know all the words. If the same students jump in time and again:- Put them in a group together and let them work together as a "fast" group in future.- Or simply tell them that they cannot win every time and must play one turn and take one turn out.- Or make them judges and in charge of a group. This game is taken from Fun ESL Games for Preschool, available in instant download and paperback.For kids from age 6-12 this book instead: ESL Games, 176 English Language Games for Children 

french girl speaking english with an accent
11 April 2018

*First a calm listening game for any class size:Pronunciation Hands Up How to play This listening game works with phonemes or pronunciation. The teacher repeats a word several times and then unexpectedly changes to another word using a different phoneme. Pick words that students have difficulty with. The teacher says ‘lorry, lorry, lorry, lorry, lolly, lolly, lolly, lolly, lorry, lorry, lorry’. When the students hear the change, they raise their hands. When the change reverts to lorry, students lower their hands. With a small group do this in pairs and award points to the first student to put his or her hand up. Deduct points for hands going up before the change! With a bigger class, split students into teams. Count the number of times you say ‘lolly’ before all students on that team have their hands up. Repeat with team 2 and award the point to the team that was fastest. • A big challenge is to let the students take over from you with the speaking. This certainly encourages them to focus on how they pronounce words. • Try ship and sheep with Spanish students, pass and path with French pupils and lorry or lolly with Japanese learners.Examples of words to compare and contrast in this game Ship and sheepSink and think (th)Eat and heat (h)Earth and hers (th and s)Right and light (r and l)Cat and cartHour and areTail and tellBill and pill (b and p) Now for a calm speaking game for any class size Pronunciation Pictures How to play Put a selection of words or pictures on the board in contrasting pairs or groups that you know your class have trouble with. Then, in pairs, let one child tell the other what to draw from those on the board. The children will understand how important accurate pronunciation is if their partner draws something different to what they thought they said! For example, a Japanese student may have difficulty saying lorry and lolly, so these would be two words or pictures to put up on the board. If you write a selection of totally unrelated sounds, this activity will not be so effective. The idea is to put up very similar-sounding words so that children have to concentrate on saying them correctly so that their partner draws the correct item. This can be a one-off activity or an ongoing one. The pictures could go on the walls, and the children add to them any time they think of another matching word. Other blog posts on pronunciation:Teaching-English: Will I ever improve my pronunciation? 

If you prefer paperbacks and Kindle books by Shelley Ann Vernon, you will find them here:

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

Books by Shelley Ann Vernon: