Games for Advanced ESL Students

Advanced ESL students can benefit from challenging classroom games.

Even the most advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) students can easily become bored with repetitious exercises and rote memorization of vocabulary words. No matter their age, ESL students will enjoy fun, educational games that engage them and create a more interactive learning experience.

1 Say It Right

ESL students constantly strive for correct pronunciation. Prepare a set of flashcards with words on each side that sound similar, such as "fork" and "pork." Split students into two teams. Call two students from the first team to the board. Choose a card, write both words on the board, then show one of the students one side of the card, blocking it from view of the other student. The first student reads that word aloud, and the second student circles the word he hears on the board. If he circles the correct word, his team wins a point. Alternate between teams, being sure each student has a chance to both read and circle.

2 Celebrity Walk

This is a fun game that will encourage students to ask and answer questions. Prepare flashcards, each with the name of a celebrity whom students have most likely heard of. To begin, pin one flashcard to each student's back without allowing him to see the name. Move the desks to create an aisle down the middle of the room. Begin with one student, who walks up and down the aisle so everyone can see his flashcard. The other students act as paparazzi, asking him questions that hint at his identity. The "celebrity" tries to guess whose name is on his flashcard. Record how long it takes the student to guess his identity. Continue with each student.

3 Matching Captions

Students can have fun trying to understanding descriptions and reading journalistic-style writing with this game. Split students into groups of four, with two on each team facing the two others. Provide a newspaper to each group. The pairs each take half of the newspaper, then cut out five to eight pictures and their captions and glue them on colored index cards, separating the captions from the pictures by color (for example, pictures on blue cards, captions on red cards). When they finish, the group mixes all the index cards, then sets them in a grid face down in the center of their desks. The first pair flips over two cards, one of each color, to see whether there is a match. The challenge is that each pair will have read only their own captions and must read carefully to decide whether the caption is a match to the picture. If they have a match, they claim the cards. Continue until all of the cards are matched.

Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.