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

a cow jumping over the moon nursery rhyme picture
31 January 2019

A teacher asked me for some traditional English nursery rhymes for toddlers and preschoolers. I found this to be the best source of information:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nursery_rhymesHere you'll find nursery rhymes predominantly from England, America and Scotland. You get the words, origins and folklore, and notes for the erudite!In my Preschool Games book for children learning English, you'll find plenty of nursery rhyme games and ideas to use while you chant the rhyme. If you have the preschool games book already, check out these games to use with rhymes:Boom Chica BoomDuck Duck GooseHead to HeadHoopsHot PotatoLuck GameParachute GameWho Is It 2?And see the section on rhymes too.If you don't have my preschool games book, here is a taster.Boom Chica BoomCategory: Step 3 speaking drill and naming vocabularyGroup: Any number of childrenSpace: Can be done at desks if no space is availablePace: Calm to wake upMaterials: A rhyme and some flashcardsWhile useful for vocabulary revision, the main purpose of this game is to help fluency and pronunciation by having children repeatedly using the same rhyme or phrase.How to playChoose a silly rhythmic phrase, which everyone says together in rhythm, clapping on the stressed syllables. In this example, for those who know music, imagine two four-beat bars. Place stress on the syllables in bold. It takes the same time to say "I said a" as it does to say "boom".Boom chica boom, I said a boom chica boom,Boom chica rocka chica rocka chica boom.Children each have a flashcard that they do not show to anyone. At the end of the phrase, a chosen child acts out the picture on his or her flashcard. The other children attempt to guess and name the word. When done, repeat the rhyme and have another child act out his or her picture, and so on. More advanced children can give a sentence with the word in instead of simply naming single vocabulary words. Phonemes: Exploit this game for fluency and pronunciation skills by having children repeatedly using the same rhyme. Make one up that targets phonemes pupils need to work with. With French preschool children try this one: Thicker thacker thumper, thicker thacker thumpThicker thacker thicker thacker bump bump bump. French children have difficulty with the ‘th’ sound, so even though the words are nonsense this rhyme is very useful for pronunciation. If you are going to use this example, you must insist on the correct pronunciation of the ‘th’, with the tongue being placed between the teeth to make the sound. If left to their own devices, French children will say ‘Zicker zacker zump’, which does somewhat defeat the purpose of the activity! Other Nursery Rhyme Activities1. Have children draw pictures of characters or objects in the nursery rhyme or give them pictures to colour.2. Say the nursery rhyme in a high squeaky voice, in a deep low voice, very fast and very slow.3. Do a craft based on a character or key object in the nursery rhyme.4. Act the nursery rhyme and see if your pupils can guess which one you are acting.5. Make sock puppets of the key character/s in your nursery rhyme.6. Play hide and seek with your puppet or a key object mentioned in the nursery rhyme.7. Make a model set, use objects or toys to stage the nursery rhyme. This could be a shoe for There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, a farm for Baa baa black sheep, a wall for Humpty Dumpty, a clock and toy mouse for Hickory, dickory dock. And so on. Do please write your comments and any ideas in the comments below. Your email is kept confidential, only your name and comment will be published.

teacher reading to her students
30 January 2019

Hello there, Welcome to this page for reviews.  You'll find reviews for Teaching English Games and for my resources here:1. On Amazon you'll find hundreds of reviews for my books. There are more reviews on amazon.com but all the amazons have some. Here is my author page.2. On Linked in I have endorsements and recommendations.3. On Facebook I have Facebook reviews.4. On Trust Pilot. 5. On Google My Business - this is coming, just getting verified...5. On my website, on the links below, you'll find reviews for specific age groups If you are a teacher using any of my resources please feel free to comment in the box below. I would love to hear from you. Your email is kept confidential, only your name and comment is public. Preschool: Reviews for my preschool games, stories and songs.  Primary: Reviews for my games and stories for primary school age children. Teen and Adult: Reviews for my games and activities for teens and adults.  One to One: Reviews for my games for teaching Children 1-2-1.  Plays and Skits: Reviews of my plays and skits for children  I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon, Teaching English Games. 

picture to illustrate the verb to wake up with two bears
25 January 2019

*How would you teach these common verbs to preschool children? To wake upTo get upTo wash your faceTo eat your breakfastTo brush your teeth Why not teach daily routine through games and a cute story? Groundhog day is the story. North American folklore says that if it's sunny when the first groundhog comes out of his burrow, it'll be a late Spring. If it's cloudy, Spring will be early. Groundhogs sleep all winter, like their European brothers the marmots. So our hibernating groundhog is called Sleepy. The first thing we are going to do is wake him up.Wake up Sleepy! Children lie on the floor pretending to sleep. The teacher calls out “Wake Up Sleepy!” All the children jump up and run to the wall. Use heads in hands at desks in a classroom situation. Children jump up and stretch their arms out rather than running to the wall.  Children return to their sleeping position, face down and no looking, but lots of snoring! The teacher creeps around and touches one child who shouts out “Wake Up Sleepy!” Do this a few times then try a variant. Variant 1: if it's a girl's voice they don't move, if it's a boy's voice they “wake up”. This won't be so easy with preschool children, but that can add to the fun. If it's too difficult, use a high voice and a low voice. Variant 2 is for the teacher to pick one child who then hides before calling out “Wake up Sleepy!” Children jump up and must call out the name of the missing child. They only have ten seconds to guess, you count down from 10 to 0. If no one has guessed, help them by asking, "Is it Juan?  Is it Sasha?" Children then return to their sleeping position and a different child hides and calls out “Wake up Sleepy!” Verbs: brush your teeth, wash your face, eat your breakfast, go outside Introduce these verbs briefly with miming games. Play Simon Says, but with these verbs rather than body parts. Rather than using “Simon says”, use the phrase “Wake up Sleepy and...verb”. "Wake up Sleepy and brush your teeth." Children all mime brushing their teeth. "Wake up Sleepy and go outside”. Children go to the wall or mime popping up out of a marmot burrow. “Wash your face.” Oops! Any child miming face washing sits down for a turn, as the command was not preceded by “Wake up Sleepy.” With 3-year-old children you'll have to help them by miming yourself when they are supposed to mime, and not miming when they shouldn't. Don't make preschool children lose, it upsets them. Play as a non-competitive group game. At this point tell the story about Sleepy the groundhog, and then continue with post-story activities, such as acting out the story with sock puppets. Eventually, you want your pupils to act the story out while you tell it. You can buy Sleepy the Groundhog story, and the full lesson plan for daily routine in this great package deal of ten stories, with lesson plans made of games. Flashcards included. Matching songs available too.Silly Sleepy Game Bring up three children and hide them behind your desk or a blanket that you suspend between furniture, heavy books will hold the blanket in place. One child puts on my groundhog mask (included with the songs that go with these stories). Those watching have to call out “Come out Sleepy!” The three children take turns, but in random order, to quickly stick their head out suddenly. ONLY when the marmot mask appears do the children call out “Groundhog!” or and the first child to call it out comes behind the desk instead of one of the other two, but perhaps not every turn or the whole thing will be too slow. Instead randomly from time to time swap over one of the children. With younger children give everyone a turn. With young primary kids reward those who react quickly, it's an additional motivation for the class to be paying attention. If anyone calls out “Groundhog!” when a child is not wearing the marmot mask he or she stands up. After two or three turns, all those standing up do a silly forfeit such as a marmot dance, and then all sit down again and be back in the game. Keep the class on their toes by having Sleepy pop out from different parts of the blanket, out the top, on the left, on the right and so on. Have multiple appearances such as two children with no mask together. Get the full set of stories for preschool and young primary school children. 10 great stories. 10 lesson plans with games, pre and post-story ideas, 96 flashcards covering basic vocabulary for beginners learning English, bingo, and more. Full details are here.

31 December 2018

Any teachers taking culturally diverse classes will tell you to be careful. Refugees may be feeling vulnerable, shy and fragile. A simple question such as "Where are you from?" may result in floods of tears. There may also be tensions between students with cultural differences and backgrounds. There may be enemies from two sides of a war present. Using non-competitive games can help relax the atmosphere and create a friendly classroom. Unit 1 from any workbook typically includes "Talking about yourself" but this can be dangerous territory. Stick to structured questions and answers rather than general chat. Allow students to communicate inside safe boundaries. The game Good Evening Beach Ball is a good example. When students catch the ball they answer the question or read the phrase to which their thumbs are pointing. Then they throw the ball to someone else. There is no pressure, and throwing a ball brings back the innocent fun of childhood play.Why not teach students about the new host country? This will help them integrate. Everything is of interest, from geography, (cities, states, rivers, etc.) to key historical figures, but also famous musicians, fashion designers, architects, artists, culinary specialties and so on. Talking about neutral facts will help avoid conflict. Religion, politics, and probably relationships are off the agenda! Have students research and make up questions for the next class. Collect all the questions and make your own Trivial Pursuit game, just for your specific classroom. Play in teams, not as individuals, this avoids one poor student being last! For higher level students you might consider teaching through a novel, but perhaps choose something light-hearted. Reading poetry is an uplifting way to study language and I recommend the Puffin books of children's poetry - for the adults! Children's poetry is easier to understand (less cryptic) and often light-hearted and amusing. For plenty of ideas do get my book of activities for teens and adults. I also have plenty of resources for teaching children. Feel free to drop me a line and ask for some free samples. For a more detailed look at teaching refugees English please see this article: How ESL Games Help With Difficulties in the Classroom

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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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