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

shy asian student in classroom
14 June 2018

*As an EL teacher, you have no doubt noticed that some students never say anything in class! Why are some EL learners so shy? - They might have no confidence in their English. - They might be intimidated speaking in front of a large group. - They might be too polite to barge in with an answer. This is often the case with Asian students. Asian students are often used to a teacher-centered classroom. In Western classrooms, students are expected to participate actively and are often graded on their participation as well as their written work. In addition to that, it would be culturally unacceptable for many Asian students to interrupt someone or jump in first. Helping shy students feel more comfortable - Have a discussion session on class participation and evoke cultural differences. Create awareness. Ask students how they might solve the problem of shy students themselves. Make the louder, more confident or pushy students aware that others should have a chance to participate too, but please don't crush their enthusiasm or humiliate them. - Make interrupting or blurting undesirable or against the rules during discussion. - Make eye contact with the student and ask him or her an easy question. Success with easy questions could boost the student's confidence over time. - Give shy students a head start. Discreetly give them have the text up for discussion in advance. If learners feel more confident with the subject matter, they will feel more comfortable making a contribution in class.Play a participation game. Divide the class into teams. Every member of each team has to say something in a two-minute time-frame. If this doesn't happen, that team doesn't earn a point. Let the next team have a turn. If teams are only made up of 3 students each, allow one minute. - Give students the chance to discuss things in small groups. This is less intimidating than expressing oneself before a crowd. - Put shy students together in a group, or at least don't mix the shyest student with the pushy ones, or they will never get a word in edgeways! - Give them something interesting to talk about. Ask the shy students to choose the topic for discussion. Even shy students find it hard to resist joining in when the topic is close to their heart. - Have the shy ones present the topic and open it up for questions. - Try making the shy student the president of a meeting, inviting speakers to the floor and maintaining order in the event of a heated debate. Have fun experimenting with these ideas and please do let me know how you get along, I'd love to hear about it! All the best,Shelley Ann VernonTeaching English GamesPS: Get my games book for teens and adults to help make your classes fun and your preparation easier.

children of mixed ages in classroom
4 June 2018

Hello, my dear Blog readers, It can be problematical teaching mixed age groups, especially at preschool. Let's hear from an ELL teacher taking a mixed age group and see what problems she has and how we might resolve them. If you are also teaching children in a mixed age group then you might like this post. The pupils I am teaching in a centre which supports teaching through play. There are no desks or books, only 10 kids and a space for the lesson. There is a wide age range with children between 3 and 7 years of age. Most of the children are about 5 with the odd 7 and 3-year-old. The problem The problem is I can't get all of their attention at the same time. I'm used to teaching with games, but in this setup, I can't get the games started efficiently. The kids get too excited and it's chaotic! I try scolding them, but it has no effect. Lately, I have resorted to giving them crafts and painting, but that really isn't the most effective way to teach them English in one hour a week. Hmmph! Suggestions and Tips My games books and, in particular, my plays and skits, are ideal for this situation. The biggest challenge that you are facing is combining one or two three-year-olds with the older children. Three-year-olds, unless they are turbo-charged, exceptional beings who are invited to become members of Mensa, simply cannot learn at the same pace as children aged 7. It's unfair to expect them to be able to. And it's unfair to expect the 7 year-olds to wait around in class while the 3-year-olds learn. It's a very difficult mix as far as teaching English as a foreign language goes and if you can, split the group. It's one thing to be in an open-ended activities environment where children learn through playing with toys, sandpits, lego and so forth. But in the case of an intensive hour-long English class, it's not so easy to get fast results. If you have to teach such a mixed group and there are no solutions to split the group, I would be inclined to let the 3 year-olds hang in there and absorb what they can, but focus your lesson on the 5-7 year-olds. Ask very easy questions to the younger ones, such as asking them to name "red", while the others are learning white, silver and gold. This way all kids stay together on the colour theme, but you make it easier for the younger ones. Keep the youngsters involvedYou shouldn't completely ignore the youngest, but don't hold everyone up while little Johnny takes an hour to learn three words. The rest of the class will be so bored that they will soon start to mess around and you'll have chaos. At that point, you won't be able to teach anything to anyone! Challenge the faster learnersAim the level of the class at the 5-year-olds. Give faster learners special tasks to keep them interested. For example, let the older or faster learners take a turn calling out the instructions instead of the teacher. Have them write things on the board for you. Have them decide if a sentence is correct or not. Ask them harder vocabulary words and quiz questions. Make them team leaders. Have them help younger learners complete a task. Keep the fast learners challenged so they don't become bored and go off your class. It's quite easy to do all this when you have a small group. Use open-ended activities or workstations some of the timeGive children an open-ended activity such as sorting or playing with vocabulary items, arranging them in order of size, colour or use. Older children will finish sooner and can continue with spelling games while the younger ones finish. Ideal multi-level toolTo handle this type of group, try my plays and skits. They really are the ideal tool or curriculum for mixed ages and abilities, especially when you are lucky enough to teach small groups. The youngest can be paired up to take the same lines as an older child. They can be given actions to do in the skit, and just take the simplest lines or responses. Even if these younger kids are not saying much, they will be listening and participating, so they will be soaking up English like a sponge. It won't be a wasted class for them, especially if they are part of the team and enjoying themselves. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to keep the three-year-olds in the group, so if you have to, let them play with some flashcards or toys for part of the lesson, while staying in the room, so they still hear English going on around them. There is a free skit to try. Give the better pupils more lines. Let the younger ones take short lines and say them together. It's super easy, and it's from my collection of 30 easy plays and skits for children. These cover the basics for A1 and beginners English. To prepare for the skit you need games. You need calm games if the kids are boisterous and there are plenty in my primary and preschool games books. I hope some of you reading this post found it useful! Do leave a comment or any advice you might have in the comments box so future readers may benefit from your wisdom. I'm here to help if you need me. Kind regards Shelley Ann Vernon

27 May 2018

This can be played after Jump the Line to reinforce new vocabulary.  It can also be used at any time for revision. Even though this is super simple, kids love it, and the repetition means they learn new vocabulary and grammar while enjoying themselves. The game is in the games demonstration video where Anna and I aim at vocabulary flashcards with a rolled up pair of socks.  Lay out your vocabulary cards and call them out in turn. Let your pupil aim and throw the missile, which must land on, or in contact with the card. To use this as a speaking game the pupil and you may take turns in aiming, and the pupil names the item you must aim at. To make it easier for your pupil pick pictures that are close to him or her. Your pupil will quite likely pick ones that are far away for you to aim at!Make sure your pupil wins anyway - it's quite easy to miss deliberately.Vary the game by playing with real objects instead of pictures. Make sure they are not breakable. This is so easy to do there's no excuse not to get started if you haven't already! For pictures, you and your pupil can draw them, or cut them out of magazines or get my colourful set, with an addictive vocabulary game. Get the complete book of one to one games here in instant download from Shelley, or in paperback. For 140 language games, over two hours of video lessons to make your child bilingual! All the bestShelley Ann Vernon

24 May 2018

This vocabulary game is ultra simple and it's a listening game so you may introduce new vocabulary with it, without expecting your child to be able to immediately say the words him or herself. Jump the Line and it's suitable for any age from 3 up. It's certainly beginning to get childish for the 11 to 12-year-olds. Play for not more than 5 minutes - that's quite long enough for a simple game like this or it becomes monotonous. Lay picture cards out on the floor. Alternatively, use real objects. Your children probably have plenty of toys you can use, or take food items from the kitchen or objects you have around the house. In a classroom situation for a private tutor, pictures are the easiest because they are light to transport to class. This game is demonstrated with Anna right at the beginning of the video here: I call out an animal and Anna jumps on the picture. The pictures are laid out to the left and the right of an imaginary line. Use a real rope to make a line. The child can either jump to the left or to the right according to the picture you call out. Alternatively, and this is what Anna does, the child can jump ON the picture itself. Get the complete book of one to one games here in instant download from Shelley, or in paperback.

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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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