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.

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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

22 October 2018

If you have a language school or you are a private tutor this blog post may help you find more students. It's relevant for all ages and all types of new teaching business. I've started several teaching businesses and I was always successful at finding new students. So many people want to learn English today, I'm sure you can be successful too, even if you have no money to start out with. Choose your business nameI suggest A1 English + your town.- Why A1? Because if you advertise in the local phone book or yellow pages, listings are in alphabetical order. A1 will be a the top.- Why your town? People in Barcelona want a teacher in Barcelona. People in Shanghai want a teacher in Shanghai. To be found online you need to be as precise as possible. I just searched for "English lessons" and found over 700 million results. Searching for "English in Barcelona" there were 27 million. And "English in Poblenou Barcelona, 100,000.  Make your business card or flyerStart by making a business card: A1 English Barcelona. Native speaker. Fun lessons. All Ages and Levels. FREE trial lesson, just call ......... or visit www.A1-English-Barcelona.com Give students a great reason to come to you- Offer a free trial lesson and put that on your business card - that way you get people in the door!- Have a nice space for lessons. It's fine if it's at your home. Make sure it's super clean of course!- Be local. If you are near your students, it's easy for them to get to you.- As soon as you can, offer small groups, that can be cheaper per pupil, but more money for you in total.- Propose an English outing that is free for all your pupils, anyone welcome, where you go and see a movie in English, or go to a restaurant together - like an Irish pub, and everyone has to speak English all evening. Students buy their own tickets or meals. Free local advertising- Using your business cards, advertise in all the local shops where you are allowed to display a free ad. There might be noticeboards at the local supermarket, or shelves for business cards in shops, libraries and learning centers, waiting rooms, anywhere people are allowed to post an ad or leave a card, leave yours.- Start with everything surrounding your house or the location you plan to use for lessons and work out from there. Leave cards in the halls of buildings around you. The more it's local, the easier it is for people to come to you. Would you rather have a teacher next door or the other side if town?- If you have a car, get stickers on it with your business name and phone number. Leave this step till later if you are on a tight budget. Target learning centers- Go to the local schools and ask to meet the head of department, offer your services for any pupils struggling, leave your contact details and business card.- Hand out your business cards outside schools when parents collect their kids. Introduce yourself, say that you help with homework and in particular with English, and offer your card.- Put notices in the university library and language department. Go back and re-post them every week - some people might take your notices down...at the beginning, you need to be on it!- Go into business buildings, leave your cards at reception, or on a noticeboard, or post them in the letter-boxes. Offer a free lesson to the boss, or the human resources manager. Do not shoot yourself in the foot- Do not register with a company that offers tuition - you won't be able to teach on the side during, or even after your contract, because they have non-competition clauses in their contracts. Those companies charge a fortune to customers, but you only get paid peanuts. It's best to find your own clients and go direct. You can undercut all those online companies easily and still earn more.- Don't be too cheap. Giving lessons for peanuts undermines the value of your lesson. Price yourself at market value, or slightly more. If you want to help people who struggle financially, put them on a waiting list until you have a small group. Each participant can then pay peanuts, but you still end up with a proper salary.- Even if you don't have many customers, don't take people who are the opposite side of town so it takes you half an hour to get to their house and half an hour to get back. That lesson will take you two hours, plus ten minutes to prepare, and you are only being paid for one.- Do not buy dozens of teaching resources. Why am I saying that? After all, I sell teaching resources for a living! Teachers often throw money at resources and don't use half of them. You only need a few GOOD resources to get started. For your trial lesson don't use a book. Use games and have your student participating the whole time - not sitting there reading out a paragraph in a book. They can do that at home without a teacher. Your shop front is your business card and a simple websiteYou only need a simple, one-page website to get started. Students need to know who you are, where you are, how much you charge and how to get their free trial lesson. Use Facebook, or a popular trusted social media site for your country. On this page tell customers:- how to contact you- how to get their free trial lesson- a location map showing where the lessons take place- the full address of your teaching location, to help searches online be specific- a nice picture of yourself, smiling, looking straight at the camera, where people can see your open, friendly face clearlyYou don't need a super-duper website to get started. A free one will do. It's just a contact page to get people to contact you for their free lesson. This is your shop front, it's who you are and what you offer. You'll be able to put testimonials on there from existing students in time. Yellow Pages and Google MapsGet your teaching business listed in the yellow pages and on Google maps and your local equivalents. You may have to pay for this, but it's worth it. If you have no money at all, skip this step and come back to it once you have the budget. The secret to your success is thisIf your lessons are effective and fun you will keep your students long term. In addition, they will recommend you to others. That's the key to success. Eventually you won't have to run around putting flyers out. You'll have your base of customers and a network of people who recommend you. Be sure to use my resources that will save you time preparing for lessons, and make sure your lessons are fun! Kind regardsShelley Ann Vernonwww.teachingenglishgames.com

stuffed animal toys
15 October 2018

Kids are usually fascinated by animals. Maybe it's because they look so cute...but it's no coincidence that lots of kids toys are stuffed animals.So many course books for young beginners learning English start with "Talking about myself" and the alphabet. "What's your name" is a mouthful for a 6-year-old beginner. The alphabet is abstract and unexciting. But you might find you get your pupils' attention with a safari park of stuffed toys! Through teaching animal vocabulary children can learn their first syllables in English. Develop with:What are their names?How old are they?What colour are they?How many are there?Are they big or small?What do they like to eat?Where do they live?With preschool childrenPlay listening games to introduce animal vocabulary. (See preschool games book for ideas, for sale here). Play miming games using sounds and actions. Play guessing games. Pay musical games where kids mime the animal you name when you stop the music. Hide animals about the classroom. Children search and touch the one you name. Sort animals into groups of colours, sizes, those that eat grass, those that eat other animals, those that live in the cold, those that live in the heat...those that are pets, those that are dangerous. Have an animal tea party. Or make a library scene.For older childrenTeach adjectives with animals and play Find the Pairs Memory Games in small groups with animals and adjectives. (It's a big brown bear. It's a long thin snake.) Do an animal quiz. Team one have 30 seconds to describe an animal to team two, (or mime it for beginners). Team two try to name the animal. If team two is successful, both teams get a point. There's a cute animal skit in my book of plays and skits for children. And see this blog for more ideas on animals and making a giant safari parkhttps://www.teachingenglishgames.com/have-you-ever-spent-hours-looking-something-specific-use-lesson

possessive pronoun mine written with sweets
4 October 2018

A teacher asked me for ideas to teach students the possessive adjectives and pronouns. His students have problems understanding them and they mix them up all the time. What are they?Possessive Adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our and their.Possessive Pronouns are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours and theirs. ExplanationA possessive adjective is not used alone. It’s my book.A possessive pronoun can be used alone. It’s mine. A possessive adjective describes the noun, so it comes with the noun, not alone.It’s my book. You can’t just say « It’s my » A possessive pronoun is used without the noun.Who does this watch belong to? It’s hers. It’s your problem, not mine.Your problem – your is a possessive adjective, it describes the problem and is used with the noun, problem. Not mine – mine is a possessive pronoun – used without a noun. Why is it confusing? Often confusion with this sort of grammar is down to the fact that students have never actually grasped either set of possessives. For example are they able to recite the list of possessive adjectives from memory? My, your, his, her, its, our, their. If they cannot do that there is little wonder they mix the two sets up. Drill game for possessive adjectives First do some drill games on the possessive adjectives until students know them backwards. You could play Simon Says telling students to touch things in a selection of pictures. You need a picture of yourself, a man, a woman, an animal and a group of people. Demonstrate this first using these commands:« Touch my hair. » Students touch your hair in the picture of you.« Touch your hair. » Students touch their own hair.« Touch her hair. » Students touch the woman’s hair in the picture.« Touch his hair. » Students touch the man’s hair in the picture.« Touch its tail. » Students touch the tail on the animal picture,« Touch their hair. » Students touch the hair of the people in the group.They need to touch the hair of more than one person at the same time. You might be able to do this with students in the class, but most people won't like others touching them, so it's safer to use pictures. Repeat this but vary the things students are to touch and use Simon says: « Simon says touch his shoe. Simon says touch her bag. Simon says touch their body. Touch your hair. » Any student who touches his or her hair at that point loses a life. Next put students into groups of four and have them play together with one of the students being Simon. If you don’t have enough pictures have each group quickly sketch a man, woman, baby, dog and group of two people using stick figures. Drill game for possessive pronouns Next drill the possessive pronouns. Write the list of possessive pronouns on the board. Students pass an object around in a circle. On passing the object the first student says « it’s mine ». The next student takes the object and passes it on, saying, « it’s yours ». The next student takes the object, passes it and says « it’s his ». Continue passing and working through the list on display. Students continue non-stop passing and working down the list of pronouns. As the game goes on, erase the first pronoun, "mine". Students must say that one from memory. Leave 'It's' on the board as a prompt. Next erase "yours", leaving "It's" as a prompt again. Continue until all the pronouns are erased and students know them from memory. Now play a game to mix the two together such as Joker from 176 English Language Games for Children. Instead of asking a question students take turns to create any sentence using the two types of pronoun. JokerDeal out half a pack of playing cards, including the jokers, to a small group of up to six students. The players must not look at their cards but place them face down on the table. Player 1 turns over a playing card from his or her pile and makes up a sentence using the two types of pronoun such as, « It’s my book, not yours ». If this sentence is correct, the card is taken out of the game. If it is incorrect, the card is placed in a pile in the middle of the group. Continue with player 2 creating a different sentence, such as « It’s your money, not mine ». When the joker turns up, the person who turned it over must collect all the discarded cards from the pile in the middle, unless he or she has just formed a sentence correctly, in which case the joker is taken out of the game. You may like to add in a couple of extra jokers from another pack for more action! You could play Typhoon along the same lines, or Grammar Drill. You could play Guess the Question using questions with the two pronouns, such as « Is she your girlfriend or mine? » « Are they our pens or hers? » (All those games are in this book 176 English Language Games for Children or paperback from Amazon.) Note: « Its » is rarely used as a possessive pronoun because « It’s its » sounds funny even though it’s correct grammatically. It’s more common to use « It’s the dog’s. » All the bestShelley Ann VernonTeaching English Games

english teacher showing phoneme position for 'th' sound
4 October 2018

Phonetics and phonology can be extremely useful when teaching pronunciation. If you feel overwhelmed at the sight of the phonetic chart, just imagine how your students feel. But don't panic, just take it one sound at a time. In fact you might not even need to teach all the sounds, only those which present the greatest challenge for your students. As ESL teacher Elena Baito told me: "I'm experimenting with recognizing sounds using songs. I present the new sound, such as the unvoiced interdental sound. Students have a look at the phonetic transcription of this sound in the sound chart and then try to practice the sound. Then they write the phonetic symbol in their copybook.Next we listen to a song with the lyrics shown on the board (I chose "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons). I explain to them that they have to find in the song all the words containing the interdental unvoiced sound. After that we write all the words in the copybook and repeat them. We also sing together. I love singing." If you want to use the song Thunder, you'll find it on YouTube...weird video...It's a great choice of song given the number of times the word thunder is repeated! TIP! Ask your students to find a song for you so you don't spend the evening watching inane videos online! After doing Elena's work above I suggest continuing with a dialogue. Students write a dialogue in pairs. This can be on any topic as long as the target sound is used in every sentence. Tell the class they will listen to everyone's dialogues and vote on them. This gives everyone a reason to listen to the dialogues. Students can vote on the funniest, the most innovative, the saddest, the most outrageous and even the most boring! Listen to the best ones again and have students raise an arm whenever the target sound is said. Use all the vocabulary drill games in my book ESL Activities for Teens and Adults to drill phonemes and pronunciation. Use the listening games with words that contain the target sound. Then use those same words in the speaking drill games. Work with one new sound at a time. That's enough for students to think about. However when you revise sounds, work with several at once. Put students in groups of four to play Happy Families with four phonemes. Student A copies a phoneme onto four cards and draws a father, mother, son and daughter. For the "th" phoneme, this could be the Thunder family. Students B, C and D do the same, each with a different phoneme. Students shuffle and deal out their pack of cards. Each student takes a turn asking any other student for a family member. E.g. Do you have Mr. Thunder? The first to have a complete family is the winner. BUT the aim of the game is to work on excellent pronunciation, not just win the cards! Tip: For cards use post it notes, cut up cereal packets, or cut scrap paper into rectangles.All the bestShelley Ann VernonTeaching English Games

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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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