If you’re looking for some of the best ESL reading activities, games, worksheets and lesson plans, then you’re certainly in the right place. Keep on reading for all the ESL reading comprehension activities you need to!
ESL Reading Comprehension Activities and Games: Top 16
Are you reading to get into the top ESL reading games and activities for kids, teenagers and adults? Without further ado, here’s the top 16!
#1: Dialogue Substitution Reading Activity
Have you ever noticed that when students have to read a dialogue of some kind in the textbook, most of them just read it without really thinking about what they’re reading? It’s not really their fault, it’s just that we haven’t given them a reason to read carefully.
In order to turn a simple reading activity into one that focuses on grammar and meaning is to remove some of the words! Tricky, right? Try it out for yourself and you’ll notice how much more carefully students have to read. Learn more about it here:
#2: Brochure Scanning ESL Reading Activity
Students are often quite good at reading for detail. However, the downfall is usually that it can take them forever to do this! This is often not like real life though in that students have to scan something quickly to find the information they need. For example, if they’re looking for a certain type of food on a menu, or the time of a certainly flight on a schedule.
An ESOL reading exercise that can help your students out with scanning is this one that uses a brochure of some kind like a travel brochure. Find out more details about it here:
#3: Concentration Reading and Memory Game
A fun way for students to work on their reading, along with memory skills and grammar or vocabulary is with concentration.
The way it works is that you make a bunch of cards that match in some way. They can be opposites like hot-cold, words with definitions or pictures, or present-past tense verbs. These are only a few examples—there are more options you may want to consider as well.
Then, in groups of 4, students place the cards face down on their desks in random fashion. They take turns choosing two to see if they match. Find out more about it here:
#4: ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template
Are you a little bit unsure how to go about planning an ESL reading lesson? Don’t worry. Many teachers, even experienced ones aren’t that sure how to do it. But not to worry! You can follow these simple steps that include warm-up or lead-in, scanning, reading for detail, follow-up and more.
Check it out right here: ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template.
#5: Is that Sentence Correct?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 72 Pages - 05/02/2017 (Publication Date)
A fun way for students to review grammar by reading is to try out this error correction activity. The way it works is that you can write a few sentences, some of which have errors while others do not.
Students have to read the sentences and then correct the errors. You can make this into a friendly competition by giving the first team to complete the activity correctly a small prize of some kind. If I do this variation, I usually tell students how many errors they should be looking for.
Learn more about it here: ESL Error Correction Game.
I love to use this game before a midterm or final exam to review material from the semester. The way it works is that you can write some questions and answers on a spreadsheet. Then, print them off and cut them out into separate strips of paper. Give each student a mix of question and answer papers (5-6).
Then, they have to go around the class to find their matches. Once they do, they can do rock-scissor-paper and the winner takes both papers and gets one point. The winner is the person with the most points at the end of the activity. Find out more here:
#7: ESL Surveys
I’m ALL about using surveys in my classes. They’re fun, engaging and cover a wide range of skills, including reading. The best part is that you can use them for just about any vocabulary set, grammar point or topic. They’re truly one of the most versatile ESL activities so try them out with your students today.
Do you want to learn more about how to make your own? All the details are right here: Surveys for ESL Students.
#8: English Reading Test Tips
Students are often trying to improve their reading skills in order to score better on English proficiency exams. If this is the case for your students, you’ll certainly want to check out these tips that’ll help improve scores, no matter what the best. And of course, teach them to your students.
You can find them all here: Reading Comprehension Test Tips.
#9: Odd One Out
If you’re looking for a quick ESL warmer that’s heavy on the reading, then consider trying out Odd One Out. The way it works is that you write groups of 4 words on the board. For example:
Apple orange carrot banana
Students have to say which one doesn’t match and then why. One possible answer for this one is carrot because it’s a vegetable, not a fruit.
Find out more about it here: Odd One Out ESL Warmer.
Teaching Reading Skills
If you want to learn more about teaching ESL reading skills, then check out this short video:
#10: Flyswatter Game
If you want to have some fun with your students, consider pulling out the flyswatters! The way it works is that you divide the students up into two teams and each team sends one student up to the front.
On the board, you’ll have a bunch of words related to a certain topic. Then, you can give some hints and the first student to slap the correct word with their flyswatter is the winner. There are also other variations and things you can use this game for besides vocabulary. Learn more about them here:
#11: Proofreading and Editing
A key part of English writing is reading closely to find errors. It’s not uncommon that English teachers fall into the trap of students writing and teachers correcting. Instead, opt for the better way of teaching students how to self-edit their own work with this simple activity:
#12: Mixed Up Sentences
If you want your students to get some practice with reading and sentences structure, then consider this quick activity. The way it works is that you can write a few sentences on the board but with mixed up word order. Students have to write them on a piece of paper in the correct order.
It’s simple, but works well as a quick warmer activity to review material from previous classes. Learn more about it here: ESL Mixed Up Sentences Activity.
#13: Problem/Advice Board Game
I love to play board games in real life which is why I like to bring them into my TEFL classroom as well. One area that they work extremely well for is problem and advice. The way it works is that students land on a square with a problem of some kind.
They have to read it, and then give some advice using the correct grammar. Find out more about it right here:
#14: Information Gap Activities
I love to use information gap activities. The way it works is that students work in pairs to complete a set of information, but each student only has half of the details. These kinds of activities are usually heavy on the reading, but also include a good dose of speaking. Check out our top picks here:
#15: Story Timeline
If you get your students to read a story of some kind, then consider using this follow-up activity. The way it works is that students have to put some pieces of paper with the main sequence of events in the correct order. You can learn more about it right here:
#16: Extensive Reading for English Learners
If you have access to a library or budget to buy some English novels, then consider doing some extensive reading in your classes. It can help your students with their reading skills as well as vocabulary acquisition in a big way. Find out more details about it right here:
How to Teach ESL Reading
Do you want some tips and tricks for teaching reading to ESL/EFL students? Then you’ll want to check out this video on YouTube to pick up a few new ideas:
ESL Reading Lesson Plans
Are you looking for some of the best lesson plans for teaching English reading comprehension? The good news is that you don’t have to make your own! Others teachers have gone before you and done the hard work. Here are some of my go-to sources:
ESL Reading Worksheets
As teachers, it can be super helpful to just print of a worksheet and go! It can potentially save you a ton of time when planning lesson. Here are some of our top picks for ESL reading comprehension worksheets:
Did you Like these ELL Reading Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 146 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then the book you’re going to love is this one over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English classes is a wide variety of interesting and engaging activities and games and this book will help you get there in style!
The best part is that the book is well organized into sections: reading, speaking, review, icebreakers, etc. so you should be able to easily find what you need in just a minute or two. If that’s not some ESL teaching awesome, then I’m not sure what is.
You can get these ESL activities in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference guide. Or, taking the e-version with you to your favourite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
It really is that easy to have better English classes! Head on over to Amazon to pick up a copy of the book for yourself:
Have your Say about these Reading Activities for ESL Students
What are your thoughts about these reading comprehension activities for English learners? Did you try out one of them from this list or do you have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API