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

to get ahead you have to get started mark twain
19 April 2019

*This blog post is for customers who have bought one of my four games books.I hope you've started using your games book but if not, here is some encouragement. 1. It's a manual, not a novel. Firstly, please don't try and read the whole book. You might end up feeling overwhelmed by all the options and do nothing. Have you ever browsed through a cookery book and then not actually made a single recipe? I know I have! 2. Start by reading the introduction to glean any tips relevant to you. It's especially important to read the classroom management tips with children. 3. Just pick a game and try it! Decide what vocabulary and/or phrases you are teaching in your next lesson. And pick a game, any game, and try it in the next lesson. The sooner you get started, the easier it will become. 4. Use the steps The games are divided into steps, listening, speaking, and reading and writing. (The preschool games doesn't have any reading and writing games.) You start by presenting new language using any listening game. Use one or two of those, depending on how fast your class learns. Then try step two...and so on! 5. Other quick start methods Look for the section that concerns your latest book purchase: PreschoolWith the preschool games book, it's really helpful if you have the stories. You can use the lesson plans that come with those, all made of games from the preschool games book. PrimaryWith the primary school games book "176 games" you get 16 elementary lesson plans made of games to get you started, so try those. Those lesson plans can be adapted to teach anything. Teen/AdultIf you can't get started try Battleships, Fill in Drill and Ten Important Sentences with Watermelon for starters.  One to oneIf you have Teach Your Child English start by watching the 3 demo lessons and copy those. When you watch them, read the comments in the book at the same time. You'll glean extra tips that way. And ask me any questions in the comments below - I'll reply to you!All the bestKind regardsShelley Ann VernonTeaching English Games

teachers touch lives message on chalkboard
18 April 2019

"Often and to be honest sometimes I wonder if learning another language is for everyone," says this despondent teacher. For sure, we all have different natural talents, some are better at numbers, some at painting, some at words. But think about it, everyone learns to speak their own language, so the human brain can do it. It's just that some people aren't motivated enough to make the effort. But, special learning difficulties aside, everyone CAN learn a language...IF they want to. If you have some students who don't care about learning English, you can't really help them. Concentrate on the others and get as many as you can along their path. Despite those students who you seem to be leaving by the wayside, don't despair! A teacher's role is never just about the subject being taught. A teacher has the opportunity to influence lives and inspire. Seemingly small things learned in a random lesson in school can stay with people for life, and change them. Here are some examples, and I'm sure you can think of many more cool things you can impart to your students other than the English language. Interesting content aside from English language, quizzes, debates, facts, ideas.Presenting in front of others, confidence speaking in public.Learning discussion in groups - listening to others, diplomacy when disagreement occurs, thinking.Respect for others, being on time, being polite to classmates, writing legibly, teamwork, group work.Studying autonomously with home assignments or group work, learning to work to deadlines and organize your time.Being creative, inventing stories, thinking of original ideas, taking photographs to talk about in class, working with music, with art, with poems.Encouraging and believing in your students. Pushing them beyond what they know today.Being a mentor, after lessons, in the playground, creating a bond, even if the student is weak in English, and showing students you care about them.Teaching is never just about English. That's why it's such a vocation and is so demanding. It's not the easy option!What else can a teacher impart? Let's hear your ideas in the comments below, be bold! We'd love to hear from you.

children of different skin colour and origins
15 April 2019

"I’m working as an English teacher in China. When I teach 3-year-old children they are completely afraid of my “brown skin”. (I am African American by the way.) I try to play games with them and they won't stand up, or get involved with any of the games." It's normal for young children to be shy when they meet a new teacher. For sure they can even be apprehensive, or fearful. I guess your students are not used to seeing Afro Americans, or at least, not so close up! I guess you will have to get them used to it over time, just like they get used to any adult coming into their life. Be sure to get down to their level, even if that means sitting on the floor with them. Don't tower over them, it's intimidating. How could you do it? Start with pictures.- Talking about race and colour is a good way to get started. Bring in pictures of lots of different types of people - all kids, so the preschoolers can relate more easily to the pictures. They won't relate much to Obama, however famous he might be! Check out the cute pics at the top of this blog for ideas.- Bring two of each picture, the same identical picture twice - 2 Afro Americans, 2 Chinese, 2 Hispanics, 2 white kids, 2 American-Indians, and 2 red-heads. You can add to the collection over time. Have the kids sort the pictures into pairs. Then shuffle and let them do it again. Kids could sort these pictures into piles for all sorts of things, like eye colour, happy or sad, black hair and other hair colours, and brown, black or white skin.Print your cute kids in colour in duplicate. Stick the pictures onto card, and then cover the card with plastic. That way these sets will last you for life. Otherwise, preschool kids will trash them in the first lesson. You'll be able to use these to talk about race and colour to educate the kids, and also for all sorts of things like, the pronouns he and she, hair colour, hair type, eye colour, what is he/she wearing, what is his/her name... Use toys and your Chinese assistant to break down the barriersOnce your preschool class has been exposed to all sorts of children, with darker and lighter skin, they may start to comprehend that it's quite normal for others to look different. At this point, you might attempt some physical contact with the kids.- You could have the Chinese assistants play with you, touch you, stroke your skin and say how nice it is. That's showing the young kids that it's fine to do this and that nothing bad happens.- You could have toys and teddy bears touch your skin, and say mmmm that's nice. See if you can find some dolls with darker skin colour for the kids to touch and play with.- Then, maybe, offer a prize to each child who dares to touch your hand. The prize could be something healthy like dried fruit, or maybe a sweet - if the school is OK with that. Since you have preschool children, make sure that you don't give them something they could choke on.- Later on, as kids are getting used to you, you might put some different smells on your skin, like orange or peppermint (with essential oils) and have the kids smell to guess what it is. Feedback and Comments BelowSince this is such an interesting and sensitive topic, I would love your feedback in the comments box below. Perhaps you have a similar experience and you could share your knowledge with other teachers. 

23 March 2019

Have you ever wanted to use ESL role plays and skits in your English classes but you don't feel sure of yourself? Dragica Zdraveska is a talented and inspirational English language teacher who has fun with esl plays and skits at a primary school in Macedonia. She tells her story below from wanting to use role plays with her children, but not getting around to it, to finally taking the plunge and discovering a world of fun and motivation for her young ESL pupils. Here are her comments from her experience with the short ESL role plays. You'll see from the final video that children really do love learning English like this and that ESL role plays really are a way to make your teaching more fun, more interesting, more motivating and MORE EFFECTIVE! So what are you waiting for? Read Dragica's article and take the plunge to make short, fun ESL role plays for children a part of your English lessons. Now let's hear from Dragica: "I was by no means unfamiliar with the benefits of using drama, role-plays and skits for children in the ELT classroom. As an ardent conference and seminar attendee, I got acquainted with the basics and was very keen on using ESL role-plays and skits when I first began teaching English. As time went by I experimented and introduced different activities and took various approaches toward teaching English and got somewhat sidetracked from my basic interest in using drama and ESL role plays for children in class. The main reason I hadn't use ESL plays and skits as often as I would have wanted was the fact that I couldn't find proper material in terms of content and level of English. Apart from that, I thought that it would be time-consuming and that my very young students wouldn't be able to stay focused and concentrate long enough for me to pull it off. However, once I came across Shelley Ann Vernon's book “ESL role plays and Skits for Children” I could no longer make excuses since the role plays were all I have ever wanted. Simple, straightforward, catchy and interesting they were perfect for exploration and use. I presented them to my English students certain that they would share my opinion and enthusiasm. I carefully read them beforehand and chose the ones I found most appropriate and relevant in my context in terms of vocabulary and structures. For example, when we learned about places in town we decided to stage the ESL skit “Let's go for a walk” which gave a wonderful touch and wrapped up that particular theme. I wanted to start with vocabulary themes the children were familiar with to make it easier for them but also more meaningful. Moreover, I was realistic in my expectations English language and acting-wise. What I was aiming at was the use of the plays and ESL skits in the classroom with virtually no props and as part of regular classes. We decided to stage at least one short ESL role play “properly” and perform it in front of parents, which helps parents feel included and involved in their child's progress. We are working on making them perfect!Prior to the short ESL skit, we had activities and games to recycle vocabulary and structures. We also made a booklet, drawing sketches of the scenes from the role play, featuring the characters in the skit and their speech in bubbles. We did matching and guessing activities, associations, pantomime, etc. What I take to be the biggest success was the children's willingness to participate no matter how uncertain they may have felt about the language, which meant the first and the most difficult step had been taken. Some children were very shy and didn't feel at ease when I filmed them which made them react differently and not perform the role play or skit as well as they did when they weren’t recorded. That was what I consider to be a major drawback.* Furthermore, I felt that correcting them while they spoke would backfire and they would step back so I tried not to interrupt and instead discussed the error or hesitation with them afterwards. The video I made also revealed that their pronunciation was occasionally unclear and some phrases sounded ambiguous at times. That gave me food for thought and encouraged me to prepare my students better and practice the short ESL skits far more so as to gain better results. What I am sure about is that using ESL role plays and skits helps children learn English, improve their acting and social skills and learn structures, vocabulary, everyday phrases and soon in an authentic manner and while having fun! I recommend these short ESL role plays and skits for children to any teacher wanting to make learning English more enjoyable while giving English learners a boost in confidence." Dragica Zdraveska, English language teacher at Cyriland Methodius Primary School, Prilep, Macedonia* Note from Shelley: Wait until the skit is fully learned before filming. When children are confident enough to perform it, that's when they will enjoy showing off in front of the camera.PS Teachers and parents, you will find extracts from Dragica's video on YouTube, here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj2gN56ENnE&feature=youtu.be

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: