If you want to help your students out with ESL pronunciation, then you’re definitely in the right place. Keep on reading for the best English pron games and activities, along with lesson plans and worksheets.
ESL Pronunciation Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best English pronunciation games and activities to try out with your students. ESL pronunciation games, here we go!
#1: Bingo with Minimal Pairs
All students love Bingo! The first step to better English pronunciation is recognizing differences in sounds. Something like this minimal pairs Bingo can be a very useful exercise.
A minimal pair is simply two words that vary by only one small thing. For example:
Fill your Bingo board with minimal pairs like this and then carry on as you normally would with an ESL Bingo game.
#2: Flashcards and ESL Pronunciation
There are a ton of ESL activities and games for flashcards and working on pronunciation is one of them. There are a few things to do related to this, including the following:
- Say the word on a flashcard
- Make a sentence with the word on the flashcard
#3: Memory Circle Game
A fun way to practice pron is to use this memory circle game. The way it works is that the first student says a word from a certain set of vocabulary (animals, jobs, etc.). Then the next student says that word and adds their own. The game continues on until someone can’t remember and they are “out.” Continue until there are only 1-2 people left standing.
This is a nice activity to allow for monitoring pronunciation.
#4: Plan an ESL Speaking Lesson
ESL speaking lessons should certainly contain an element of pronunciation. Check out these simple steps to see how easy it is to plan your own lesson about almost anything:
#5: Telephone ESL Speaking Activity
A fun way for kids to practice their English pronunciation is to play the telephone game. I’m sure you played it when you were a kid. The way it works is that students line up and the teacher gives the first student a secret message. The students pass down that message from person to person until the last person who says it out loud. The results are usually hilarious and it’s certainly one of my favourite ESL pronunciation games.
#6: Minimal Pairs Go Fish ESL Pronunciation
I’m sure you know how to play Go Fish. Instead of using numbers or pictures, play the game with sets of closely related words. It’s a serious challenge and the students will have lots of fun doing it too!
#7: Bit Bet Bat ESL Pronunciation Activity
Write down 10 very similar words in terms of pronunciation in a line on the board. For example:
- Bit, bet, bat, but, bot, both, beat, bite…
Then, students can listen and repeat the words, making note of the differences in pronunciation. After that, put a number under each word and tell students you’re going to say words that correspond to your phone number. They have to write down the numbers under the words.
After that, students can have a chance to try with a partner.
#8: The Flyswatter English Pronunciation Game
One of the first steps to better English pron is being able to hear the difference between very similar words. This fun game can help with that.
Write a bunch of minimal pairs randomly on the whiteboard and then have a student from each team come up. Say one of the words and the first student to slap that word with a flyswatter gets a point for their team. Replace that word with another one and continue until everyone has had a chance to play.
#9: Running Dictation
This is a challenging, 4-skills ESL game that is perfect for working on pronunciation. Students have to say the words correctly in order for their partner to understand them and be able to write them down. It works well for just about any topic so have a look here:
#10: Basketball English Pronunciation Game
Write down a bunch of words with tricky pronunciation on slips of paper. Divide them equally among students on various teams. Each student has to say a word and if correct, they get a chance to make a “basket.” I have various lines for 1, 2, or 3 points to make it more exciting.
If they make it, they get the points for their team. If not, it goes into the trash. Finally, if they don’t say the word correctly, I will take the slip of paper back and distribute them to people who don’t have any left at the end of the activity.
#11: Focus on Homophones
#12: Odd One Out
Write down a group of 4 words on the board. 3 are similar in terms of pronunciation but one is different. For example:
- bite, tight, sit, kite
Sit would be the odd one out because it has a short “I” sound. Students have to decide which one is different and then explain why.
#13: Dictation Listening and Writing Practice
Students need to have good listening skills in order to have great pronunciation. One simple activity that can help with this in a big way is dictation. Kind of old school but also very effective and it’s a nice review of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation.
Find (or write) a passage with lots of your target vocabulary in it. Or, include lots of very similar-sounding words. Then, read it slowly, sentence by sentence and have the students write down what they hear. In the end, they can compare what they have with the original.
#14: Pronunciation Drills
Create drills that target specific sounds or sound patterns. Provide a list of words or sentences that contain the target sound and have students practice saying them repeatedly. Gradually increase the speed and difficulty as their pronunciation improves.
#15: Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters are fun and challenging exercises that help improve pronunciation and fluency. Choose tongue twisters that focus on specific sounds or sounds combinations and have students repeat them multiple times at a faster pace.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 56 Pages - 05/18/2023 (Publication Date)
#16: Rhyme Time
Introduce rhyming words to help learners identify and reproduce similar sounds. Provide pairs of rhyming words and have students say them out loud. This activity helps develop phonemic awareness and improves pronunciation accuracy.
#17: Choral Reading
Choose short passages or dialogues and have the whole class read them aloud together. This activity helps learners focus on rhythm, stress, intonation, and overall fluency. Encourage students to mimic your pronunciation and pay attention to the natural flow of the language.
#18: Record and Compare
Ask students to record themselves speaking and compare their pronunciation to native speakers. They can use online resources or apps that provide audio samples for comparison. Encourage self-reflection and provide feedback on areas that need improvement.
#19: Authentic Listening
Use audio or video clips of authentic English conversations, songs, or speeches for students to listen to and imitate. Encourage them to pay attention to the pronunciation of native speakers and try to replicate the sounds, stress, and intonation.
#2-: Mimic and Repeat
Model the correct pronunciation and have students listen and repeat after you. Break down sentences or phrases into smaller chunks and have students mimic your pronunciation. Gradually increase the complexity and length of the phrases.
#21: Personalized Feedback
Provide individualized feedback to students, identifying their specific pronunciation errors and offering guidance on how to correct them. Use visual aids, mouth positioning diagrams, or hand gestures to help them understand and imitate the correct sounds.
ESL Pronunciation Lesson Plans
There are lots of excellent ESL lesson plans for pronunciation to be found online. Here are some of our recommendations:
English Pronunciation Worksheets
If you’re a busy teacher, then you’ll know how much time you can save with some top-quality ESL pronunciation worksheets. Here are some of the top picks online:
There are a number of common questions that people have about English pron. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is a neutral English accent?
At present, there is no neutral English accent on a global scale and it’s still divided into subcategories of American English, British English, etc. However, in American English, there is a neutral accent that is known as General American which isn’t associated with any geographical location in the USA.
How can I reduce my accent?
There are a few ways in which you can reduce your accent to make yourself more easily understood.
- Try speaking more slowly.
- Listen to lots of podcasts, radio shows or audiobooks.
- Watch TV or movies.
- Study in an English speaking country.
- Learn from a native English speaker.
- Pay attention to intonation and stress of words.
- Practise tongue twisters.
- Find out the major differences between American English and British English.
How do you practise pronunciation in ESL?
There are a number of ways to practise pronunciation in ESL classes. Some of the best ways include Minimal pairs bingo, basketball pronunciation games, odd one out, dictation exercises, the telephone game, running dictation, dictogloss, and more.
How do you evaluate ESL pronunciation?
There are a number of ways that you can use to evaluate ESL pronunciation. They include the following:
- Recording students as they speak for the purpose of giving feedback.
- Monitoring students as they’re speaking in class.
- Interviews with students.
- Pronunciation quizzes and tests.
- Assigning making videos for homework.
What are the four elements of pronunciation?
The four elements of pronunciation include the following:
- Sounds (consonants/vowels)
- Rhythm (word/sentence stress)
- Music (intonation)
- Flow (linking/connected speech)
Did you like these ESL Pronunciation Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 138 Pages - 05/30/2015 (Publication Date)
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You can easily find it in both digital and print formats. I recommend keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide. Or, take the e-version with you on any device to your favorite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning on the go.
Yes, it really is that easy to have better English classes! Pick up the book today to find out how:
Have your Say about Pronunciation ESL Activities and Games
Do you have a favorite ESL game or activity to help students with their English pron? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have a recommendation for another one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API