Free ESL Writing Game

Dear Teacher,


On this page is the game Writing Race - it's a GREAT game!!

Here is an easy, fun writing game, which you can use with small to medium class sizes. You need some room between desks in class, or you could play in a space. You can adapt this to your circumstances apart from if you are in a lecture theatre type environment with no room to move, then sorry, you can't use this game - (instead you can use the games for very large classes in 176 English Language Games for Children).


1. How to Play 
2. Language ideas to use with this game 
3. Materials to use with this game 
4. Tell a Friend 

Category: Writing 
Group size: From 2 players to medium-sized class 
Level: Beginners to intermediate 
Materials: Pens or pencils and paper 
Age: 4 to 12 
Pace: Wake up 

This game is to be played once your students are familiar with the vocabulary and sentences and you are ready to revise or practise it. This game is particularly good for working on specific grammatical points or spelling.  It adds a really fun twist to worksheets!


I suggest dividing the class into pairs, threes or fours, but no more than four per group. 

Each group has two pencils, one worksheet and one blank piece of paper (see materials section for examples). 

On the word Go! The first child of each pair or group runs to the worksheet and fills in the first item. The pencil stays with the worksheet so the children are not running with them. He or she then runs back to the blank piece of paper and writes the item out in full there. If you have long sentences then you'll only ask the class to write out the relevant part or it will be long and laborious.

As soon as the first child reaches the blank piece of paper the second child can run to the worksheet and fill in the second item, leave the pencil on the desk and run to the blank piece of paper. The first child should have finished writing out the item by now, and either runs back to the worksheet to do the third item, or waits in line until his or her turn comes round again. 

Here is a concrete example of how that works. Using the worksheet for a/an provided the first child runs to the worksheet and fills in item 1, in this case 'an' before elephant. The child then runs back to the blank piece of paper and writes out 'an elephant', while the second child runs to the worksheet and fills out item 2, and so on. 

A variant is to have two worksheets - either identical for reinforcing newly learned things, or different ones for revising a greater number of items. 

When the worksheets are all filled up the game is over. 

For marking I suggest that everyone marks their own, or the sheet is marked by the group. Each person or group can have three lives, which means that as you go through the answers, they can rub out three incorrect answers and replace them with the correct ones. This means that it is highly likely that the whole class will get 100% which is great for the feel-good factor. In addition the fact of rubbing out the wrong answer and rewriting the correct one helps learning far better than a big red cross does. Now if any children rub out more than 3 incorrect answers then I say so what? Let them, just pretend you haven't noticed. 

If a child squeals on another then you could say, thank you for helping but in this case it's better if you concentrate on your own worksheet. That has got to be better than putting the spotlight on the child who has got so many wrong answers that they have to keep rubbing them all out! 

2. Language ideas to use with this game 

This game lends itself to any language as long as it is short - being a writing race it isn't practical to have great long sentences to write out. However if you use 2 worksheets and just do fill in the blanks then the sentences can be as long as you like. 

If you wanted to reinforce some spelling then you could have one worksheet which the children run to, they memorize the first word, run back to the blank piece of paper and write that word down from memory while the second child runs to the worksheet, and so on. You could use that idea for very short sentences or vocabulary. For example the worksheet could just have pictures on it, the child looks at the first picture, runs back to the blank piece of paper and writes down the word. 

Those are two spelling ideas. You can also use fill in the blanks, and that means you can practise just about anything, such as question forms, verb endings, parts of verbs, vocab, pronouns, etc. 

3. Materials to use with this game 

To give you an idea I have prepared a worksheet for a/an and another for the present tense including question forms. 

I have not included pictures because in this case the game is sufficiently fun in itself, but you can make up worksheets with pictures too. I have made the worksheets dense so if you feel there is too much there for your class then you can fill in one section and leave the rest for another lesson. 

You can access these two worksheets by visiting the web page below. If the link is dead please copy and paste it into your internet search bar and press enter. 

Writing Race Worksheets 

4. Tell a friend 

If you know someone who would like this game, please feel free to send them the link to this page.


I hope you enjoy using this game with your pupils soon. 

Kind regards 

Shelley Vernon 

Preschool, Primary School, Teens and Adults

P.S. Get the bumper e-pack of games and bonuses now to bring even more variety and learning to your classroom:

Full information 176 English Language Games for Children Now!