For Teachers: Pronounciation Games for Students
Teachers who place more emphasis on grammar lessons and vocabulary activities often overlook ESL pronunciation. However, pronunciation is no less important than grammar and vocabulary.
Teaching pronunciation could come more naturally to students who already live in an English-speaking country or to those who spend a lot of time in an English-speaking environment. Teaching pronunciation involves not only correcting mistakes, but also using special methods. As a result, students remember better how to pronounce certain words once and for all.
Some English sounds can be confusing and challenging for some ESL students because there are no such sounds in their native language. For example, Slovak students sometimes struggle with the sound of "r" or "th" when learning English. Therefore, students should be able to hear the difference between the wrong sound and the right sound, learn how to make the right sound, and be aware of when and how to make the right sound.
In this article, we are going to outline some pronunciation games that are fun and informative.
Games for pronunciation ESL
Minimum bingo pairs
Minimum pairs are pairs of words that sound almost the same, but differ by only one letter, such as the short "i" and the long "ee" in the words "ship" and "sheep." Another example is the words "rip" and "dip". The teacher demonstrates the differences between the words. Students then put each word on the random square of their bingo card. Students take turns choosing words randomly and pronouncing them. As the word is said, other students mark the square that occupies the word. The game moves on until someone gets bingo.
Language twisters are another effective type of ESL pronunciation exercise. You will find a wide range of them on the Internet and you can use them, for example, during classes as pre-school warm-up activities. Write a language twister on the screen and have the students read aloud. Then delete a few words and let the class re-read the twister, remembering the deleted words. You can then delete other words, etc. You can also encourage students to create their own twisters based on the sounds they will find most difficult to remember. This exercise is easy to use for online English teachers.
Weird one out
Organize similar-sounding words into groups, but include one word with a different but similar pronunciation, and tell students to identify that odd word. For example, meat, sit, sit. Students can hear and read words.
Total physical response
This practice of ESL pronunciation is especially fun for younger students, but it can also be enjoyed by older ones. "Assign" certain movements - such as jumping, clapping, stomping, etc. - make a certain sound and encourage your students to make these movements when they hear the corresponding sound.
The class or student will receive a series of images that contain items representing minimal pairs. Students should mark pictures of their minimal pair words or even draw some other items.
Each student will receive a card with a minimum number of pairs of words. Then they have to find the same word or sound on the screen.
Create a list of 6 sounds, each for one number of 1-6. Then, use an online dice - students should roll the dice and pronounce the words containing the sounds according to the number they get.
In this ESL pronunciation game, you should draw a 10 × 6 table and fill random cells with words with the pronunciation sound you want to practice. Then fill the remaining cells with words that do not have this sound, and encourage students to combine these words. The winner is the one who gets to the end of the maze first.
Use a memory game with cards with words that rhyme, such as bee, cat, rat, tail, etc. Students should turn the cards over to find rhyming pairs.
Read My Lips
Students try to guess a word or sentence that the teacher or student quietly "pronounces".
Create a crossword puzzle containing only the words with the specific sound you want to learn in class, such as "ch" or "th".
To summarize, ESL pronunciation activities should be an integral part of any ESL lesson plan, along with grammar, vocabulary, and other important aspects of the language.
Let us know if you have more ways to improve the pronunciation of your ESL students.