ESL Activities for One on One Tutoring


Top 10 ESL Activities for One on One Tutoring

If you’re looking for some ESL activities for one on one tutoring, you’ve come to the right place! We have our top 10 ESL activities that will help get your private tuition student talking, enjoying their lesson and coming back for more! Without further ado, here are our favourite ESL activities for one on one tutoring.

Activity #1: Use Some Videos

Videos are a great way to generate some interest in a topic. Almost everybody watches YouTube or TV, so it’s a natural kind of way for your students to learn English too. Check out this post for details on using video in the classroom. The suggestions lend themselves well to private 1-1 classes as well.

How to Use Video in the ESL Classroom

Activity #2: Brochure Scanning

ESL-reading-activityIf your student wants to focus on reading, brochure scanning is one of my favourite ESL activities for one on one tutoring. When we read, it’s quite rare to read every single word in detail. More often, we scan quickly to find what we’re looking for and then skip the rest. Except when you’re learning another language, it’s common to read very slowly. This activity forces students to read more quickly in English and to look for only the relevant information.

Brochure Scanning ESL Reading Activity

Activity #3: Proof-Reading and Editing

If you are focusing on writing for your 1-1 lesson, a great activity to do with your student is proof-reading and editing. This is an oft neglected skill that can really help out your student. For whatever reason, it’s not taught that often in ESL or EFL classes, but it’s editing and proof-reading that can really take writing from average to good, or good to excellent.

Proof-Reading and Editing ESL Writing Activity

Activity #4: An ESL Reading Lesson

ESL reading lesson planThis ESL reading lesson plan template works great for classes of 40+ students as well as it does for a class with a single student. I’ve also used it for a 30 minute class, and expanded it to a 4-hour class. Beginners to fluent-it can work for everyone. It really is that versatile! Once you get the basics of this ESL reading lesson plan template down, you can just adapt and go from there to suit whatever you need.

ESL Reading Lesson Plan Template

Activity #5: Agony Aunt Problem and Advice

Everyone has problems and everyone loves giving advice! This is one of my favourite ESL activities for one on one tutoring when I want to get my quiet, shy student talking. You can adapt this activity from high-beginner to advanced, depending on the problem that you choose. It can also be a quick warm-up activity, or an entire lesson.

Agony Aunt Problem and Advice ESL Activity

Activity #6: ESL News Articles

ESL News Articles are a great way to teach 1-1 students. They make your life easy by grading the language from current events into different levels. Choose the article to match the level of your student and away you go! Most of these sites have questions to go along with the reading as well.

ESL News Article Websites

Activity #7: Fortunately, Unfortunately

This is a fun ESL warm-up that you can do with your student. It’s a great way to get your student thinking, speaking and having some fun using English at the beginning of the lesson.

Fortunately, Unfortunately ESL Warm-Up

Activity #8: Would you Rather?

Would you Rather is a fun ESL warm-up for kids. You can make this as silly as you want, and your student can help you think of some questions too. You could also use this every 1-1 class you have, with a different question each time.

Would You Rather ESL Warm-up for Kids

Activity #9: Picture Prompt

This is another one that works best for kids, but you could also use it for very low-level teenagers or adults. The way it works is that you show your student a picture and elicit a bunch of information from them. Of course, it should lead into the lesson that you’re teaching them that day.

Picture Prompt ESL Activity

Activity #10: Retell the Story 1-2-3

Dictogloss ESL speaking and listening activityRounding out our list of ESL Activities for One on One Tutoring is Retell the Story 1-2-3. It’s a great way to work on speaking fluently and your student is guaranteed to have a bit of fun in the process! You can use this ESL fluency activity over and over again, just make the topic different each lesson.

Retell the Story 1-2-3 Speaking Fluency Activity


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