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

children playing a game to learn English
23 August 2017

I received a question today about the difference between an exercise and a game. It seems to me that an exercise is just a drill, there is no game element. An exercise does not purport to be fun, whereas a game does. The element of fun might be to go against the clock or to compete with other participants, individually or in teams, but a game does not have to be competitive. For instance, take the game Hot Potato. In this game there is no competition. Students pass objects around the classroom, repeating a phrase or word each time they pass something. When the teacher says, "stop", all those students with an object perform a silly forfeit, such as a dance, pretending to be a chicken, hopping on the spot ten times, or whatever. Fun learning is more effective than dull learning, because students are more involved and motivated. Most of my games for children are disguised drills or exercises, but since they come in an attractive game package, children enjoy them and participate. As a consequence, pupils learn English more easily. See my book 176 English Language Games for Children for great tips and games. It's in instant PDF download on this website, and in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.

child and father taking photograph together
22 June 2017

*Most kids don't like homework! Make it manageableTo encourage kids to do homework firstly, make the homework short and quite easy. When kids find the homework relatively easily they are more likely to do it. If kids are unclear about their homework or can't do it on their own because it's too hard, then many won't do it, because there is no one at home to help them. Others will give up because the task is overwhelming to them. You can always give your best pupils something more challenging. Make it relevantKeep topics relevant to your students' interests. If homework is related to things the class enjoy students are more likely to be interested in doing it. Football fans would most likely enjoy preparing a profile of their favorite player for homework and presenting it to class. Variety is the spice of lifeVary the type of homework you give. Giving the same types of homework task, such as gap fill, or reading and writing, it can be limiting, especially to students who have other skills or learning styles. For example, homework could be taking a photograph and describing it, or drawing pictures of 3 new vocabulary words, and knowing those words in English. FeedbackAlways acknowledge and take an interest in homework done - either have buddy marking, or mark it yourself. Students don't like doing tasks in a void. Team workGet students to work together on homework tasks, in pairs. It can be fun for them to get together and prepare something as a team.

14 June 2017

*Using pen pals to exchange with students abroad can be motivational and fun for children learning English. Children do not generally receive post, so it can be quite a thrill for them to receive good-old-fashioned letters and cards through the mail. Schemes can be set up with schools abroad where children always write in their non-native language. So Spanish children write in English and English children reply in Spanish. If you can't communicate outside your school for security, or other reasons, consider setting up a pen pal scheme within your own school, using your own English students. All students write exclusively in English and the teacher acts as the postman. Students take a nickname and communicate with a different classroom, without knowing who they are writing to. Since teachers are so busy, keep logistics simple. Have one post box only - a cardboard box with a narrow slit. The box spends one week in classroom A, and the following week in classroom B. That box is only for those two classrooms so students are grouped together so it's quick to deliver the letters and you don't get into a muddle given that students are using nicknames. If the idea is a success students can decorate the post box to look like an English post box (or US mail box) and you might roll the scheme out to other classrooms, with a different colour post box so you never get them mixed up. It's best to give students guidelines for what to write since some pupils won't know what to say otherwise. Provide a structure for students to fill with their own ideas. For example the framework for the first letter might be: Name: Write your pen pal nicknameWhat's your favourite subject in school?What do you like doing on a weekend.Ask your pen pal a question, something you would like to know about him or her. Develop from there but keep things structured because with creative writing tasks the temptation is to get carried away, when the level of English just isn't there. As you go through the year students can ask each other what they got for Christmas, are they going to trick or treat for Halloween, what costume will they wear, did they get a chocolate egg or bunny at Easter, and so on. Adapt these special days, feasts or holidays to your culture. Look back (what did you do) or look forward (what are you doing this weekend) to work on different tenses. For each letter insist that students always ask two questions to their pen pal to find out something about him or her. For lower levels provide those questions if necessary. For ten great stories to teach English, while learning about English and American culture and customs, check this out. 10 stories, with lesson plans all done, and flashcards provided. A fun teaching kit where teachers save loads of time, lessons are fun, and children learn about the world.https://www.teachingenglishgames.com/eslstory.htm

3 April 2017

Here is a poem by Abdul Hafeez Jhelumi, from his book of Urdu poetry, published in Pakistan. For such a short poem so many questions arise and could be discussed in small groups. Thank you Abdul for this concise, elegant and thoughtful poem and for allowing it to appear on this blog.One sees the man at the gallows giving up his life to remain integrous. Who would do that today? It happened often in Europe during the religious wars. What historic events do your students know of when this happened? How truthful are people today? Many of our politicians lie to us routinely, but what about you, how truthful are you?Then comes the quiet admission of great pain, but kept private. This is not some people gossip magazine, where people spread their innards out over glossy pages. This personal poem has dignity. I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I do and share it with your students to help increase their appreciation of literature, while improving their English discussion skills.  If I were Looking glass By Abdul Hafeez Jhelumi Never ever in my life,Would I lie for expediencyEven before the king, even at the gallows,Only and only truth I’d speak,If I were Looking glass, But for being human,I’m born to be shattered ceaselessly, dear.Sometimes by shock,Sometimes by fatal pangs of separation,If I were Looking glass,Surely I'd be crashed into tiny pieces by ruthless stone.But only once it happened – just once in my life.If I were Looking glass.  

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: