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.

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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

15 February 2018

Hello teachers! A dismayed ESL teacher found that his students did not understand the concepts of subject, verb, object. When he tried to explain English grammar, he found that he needed to explain grammar. My games and teaching philosophy work for this too! Here's how to teach the concepts of subject, verb, object. Explain what they are with examples. subject - who or which does the action - Iverb - what is the action - DRINKobject - what is affected by the action - MILKSHAKE Ask pupils for other examples of subjects, verbs and objects. Then show a list of ten sentences and ask kids to read out all the verbs.If you have these on the board have a kid underline all the verbs in green as the class calls them out.Then have the class identify all the subjects - underline in pink.And then do the objects - underline in blue. Have the class choose and write down EITHER a subject, an object or a verb,(preferably using the colour code on the board). Now kids go around the class looking for two other people with whom to make a sentence.If a child has written down an object he or she has to find a subject and a verb.When kids have joined up in groups of three they stand in their groups and wait a few minutes for others to finish.Don't wait till everyone has finished.Ask everyone who hasn't made a group to sit down and be prepared to switch places with a student in a group. Then listen to the sentences that have been created. Have each student sitting down swap places with someone in a group. This is important as they are included, even though they did not manage to find partners to make a sentence. Follow-up ideaUsing pictures ask children to make up 3 sentences each using a subject, verb and object. With the blog picture here examples are. The dog drinks milkshake. The dog is lying on the bed. The dog is wearing sunglasses. I can see a dog. Try finding the subject, verb and object in questions...can you see the dog? In a future lesson you can play this again, but making groups of four and including adverbs.Get the book in download or in paperback.All the bestKind regardsShelley Ann Vernon

3-year-old child fist touching father's fist
19 January 2018

"I want to teach my 3-year-old son English, but don't know how to go about it or how long lessons should be. As I’m not a professional teacher, I don’t expect to have a bilingual child but, it would be a pity not to take advantage of the incredible capacity children have to learn new things at early ages. My three year old son is extremely excited about learning English and is always asking me "Daddy, how do you say this in English? Can you help?" Firstly, how long should lessons be? If logistics are not a constraint the little and often is the secret to success. Teach for 25 minutes and stop while the child is still having fun. It's best to stop with the child wanting more than going on until he or she is fed up. That is a strategy so that your child keeps wanting to learn English with you long-term. If your child or pupil feels that learning English with his teacher, mum or Dad is a special time, then with luck he'll keep wanting more. Another reason to keep lessons short and sweet is that young children need repetition to learn and remember. Little and often is more effective than one long chunk. That said one can go up to 45 minutes with a 3-year-old, if you include a break for a drink and keep the activities varied. More on that coming up...! What should I teach and how? 1. Use games and play together2. Use songs and music3. Use mime and make-believe4. Use storiesThe best way to experience how to teach a 3-year-old child is to receive my free emails. There you'll receive games, a story and a song. You'll learn exactly how to do it, in a way that your child or pupil loves."My son loved the games and we had a lot of fun together. Actually, the day after the first section day, it was him who asked me to play with the flashcards again. Later, I caught him playing alone. By the end of the third session, he was pretty confident in identifying the 7 animals in the listening drills and also saying them in an understandable way." To learn this fun method just try out this lesson plan and story. It's a free sample from my method,(which is an absolute bargain, even if I say so myself!)I'm Hungry Story and Lesson Plan Free Gift When do I move on to a new topic? The question now is how do I know when it's time to move on to a new topic? Answer: Move on to a new topic after three or four sessions, but do not abandon the first topic. Keep revising in every lesson, as well as adding some new vocabulary, short phrases or sentences. To keep revising fun do something different with the topic each time. If you are using my stories curriculum, see the post story ideas. These include acting parts of the story, doing sound effects and mimes, doing a craft, or playing more vocabulary games. I spell it out for you step by step in my lesson plans for each story. In every lesson have something new, and some revision. You don't want to stay on the same story or theme until it's word perfect. Move forward, but revise constantly.Preschool teachers and parents, get the bargain lesson plans and stories for three to five year old children.Teaching your child at home?You also need these video demonstration lessons and 1-2-1 games book. Teaching a toddler?This is for you. How to teach toddlers English. Leave your comments and ask your questions - I'm here to help!All the bestKind regardsShelley Ann Vernon, Teaching English Games

8 January 2018

Here's the problem: "I need activities for teaching, reinforcing and expanding vocabulary for primary school kids. Chinese teachers are not fond of games, so I need your help. Have you got any books on teaching vocabulary to kids?" Yes, I do have books on teaching vocabulary to kids! Games books. But the teacher asking this question doesn't think he can use games, so how can you teach vocabulary without games? a. You could write words on the board for kids to copy and ask them to learn the vocabulary for homework.b. You could give kids lots of worksheets to fill in and hope they remember them.c. You could hope kids will learn vocabulary by sitting in class while you go through the textbook. Good luck with those methods. You are going to need it! Instead of those boring suggestions, you'll achieve better results if you actively teach vocabulary. Having kids copy words off the board isn't teaching! You want to present vocabulary so kids hear it and understand it. Then have kids practise saying the words, by heart. Then show them how the words are written and drill spelling. Then revise everything. If you don't use games for this, your classes are going to be so boring I don't think anyone will stay awake in them. Either that or kids will be reading novels under the desk to keep from going mental with boredom. The good news is that any of my games can be turned into drills. You don't have to have any "game" element. The Chinese teachers won't know it's a game if you tell them it's a drill or an exercise. For example in my game "Jump the Line" kids jump from left to right depending on which side of the line the picture is you name. This is a basic listening game to introduce and drill new vocabulary. Kids hear the words over and over, associated with a picture, so they learn the meaning of new words and how they sound. To use this in a school where games are disapproved of, skip the jumping. Keep kids seated and have them point to the left and the right in silence. Gradually speed up, getting faster and faster. The kids will have to concentrate and listen, and in doing so, will learn the words much more than passively looking at them in a book. Now move on to a speaking drill. The game Hot Potato is a great speaking drill but might look like too much of a game to some. Instead of passing potatoes, pass vocabulary flashcards. Students pass the picture and say the word. Do not pass the written words, students will just read the word off the card and make no effort to remember it. This is a much more active way of teaching than reading from a book and copying from the board. The teacher has to work harder but the results are so much better, job satisfaction is so much greater and pupils' motivation is so much higher, it's worth it! You really have to use games, sorry, drills and exercises to teach vocabulary. Otherwise, you'll have to rely on your students to learn it for themselves.To enjoy your teaching and help your pupils, use my games books for different ages: preschool, primary, teen/adult and 1-2-1.

cartoon of esl game bang
7 January 2018

Here are game ideas for teaching adverbs of frequency to primary school children. These games are taken from 176 English Language Games for Children.1. Present the adverbs of frequency in a way that your pupils relate to and have them join inIntroduce the adverbs of frequency associated with hobbies, sports and activities that your pupils like. Put the following adverbs on the board:AlwaysUsuallyOftenSometimesOccasionallyHardly everNeverSay, "I hardly ever dance." Those students who rarely dance put their hands up and repeat the phrase together. Say, "I usually play sport at school on Wednesday." The students who play sports on Wednesday put their hands up and repeat your sentence. Continue making up sentences along these lines, making sure your topics are relevant to your class. More examples are: I always listen to music in my room. I occasionally chat with my friends late at night when I should be asleep. I often do my homework after school. I never cook dinner for my family. I hardly ever make my bed in the morning. I always put ketchup on my chips. And so on.2. Drill the adverbs of frequency with a fun gameAlmost any game from 176 English Language Games for Children will do to drill any grammar! Here's the game BANG, adapted to adverbs of frequency.Students form a circle with the teacher in the middle. The teacher pretends to ‘shoot’ a student in the circle by firing a question at him or her. The teacher's question is, "How often do you...?" However, it is the children on either side of this student who must race to shoot each other with their answer, using the adverb of frequency that corresponds to them, like "Never!" or "Often!" The fastest student with correct English wins, and the other person is out.If your class is small then continue until only two students are left. These two then take four steps away from each other. Then the teacher calls out the question and the two students turn round and shoot at each other with the answer.Request silence aside from the words used in the game. Eliminate students who are noisy. Tell them to read the workbook in the meantime.3. Consolidate with a reading and writing taskNow is the time to open your textbook and have students race to count all the adverbs of frequency in the unit. Otherwise, have students make up fill in the blanks sentences for the class to fill in, or try this writing race.I hope this blog post helped. Your comments and questions are welcome. If you are stuck for an idea on how to teach a grammar point, just ask!Get the book in download or in paperback.All the bestKind regardsShelley Ann Vernon

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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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