15 top fun pronunciation games

1. Shadow reading Students try to speak at exactly the same speed and rhythm as the CD, then try one more time with the sound turned down in the middle of the recording to see if they are still in time when the sound is turned back up. 2. Syllables snap Students take turns turning […]

1. Shadow reading
Students try to speak at exactly the same speed and rhythm as the CD, then try one more time with the sound turned down in the middle of the recording to see if they are still in time when the sound is turned back up.

2. Syllables snap
Students take turns turning over cards with words written on them from their packs. If the two words have the same number of syllables, the first person to say “Snap” and/ or slap their hands down on the cards wins all the cards that have been turned over so far. The person with most cards at the end of the game is the winner. This also works with vowel sounds in one syllable words and word stress.

3. Word stress pellmanism
Pellmanism (= pairs/ memory game) can be played with the same cards as Snap, but is a slower game. All the cards are spread face down on the table and students take turns trying to find matching pairs of cards by which syllable is stressed. This is easier if all of the words have the same number of syllables. This game can also be played with students matching by vowel sounds or number of syllables.

4. The yes?! game
Students try to give as many different feelings and meanings to one word or sentence as they can by varying the stress and intonation. The other students guess what feeling they were trying to convey.

5. Yes. Yes! YES!
Similar to The Yes?! Game, students compete to say a word or sentence in the most extreme way they can, e.g. they take turns being as angry as possible and the angriest person wins.

6. Sounds brainstorming board race
Teams of students try to write as many words with the sound they have been given on the board as quickly as possible. Each team member can only write one word before they pass the pen onto someone else, but they can prompt each other. This also works for number of syllables and word stress.

7. Minimal pairs stations
Students show which of two words they think they have heard by racing to touch one of the things that the teacher or class decided will be used to represent that thing, e.g. the table for /l/ or the chair for /r/. More active classes can run and touch things like the door and the window, while shyer classes can just raise their right and left hands.

8. Sounds same or different
In this variation on Minimal Pairs Stations, rather than indicating which sound they hear, students indicate if they think two words you say have the same or different pronunciation. This is good for homophones as well as minimal pairs. The easiest way to explain the task is to give students pieces of paper with “Same” and “Different” written on for them to hold up or race to slap.

9. Sounds same or different pairwork
You can add lots more speaking practice, both controlled pron practice and free conversation, to Sounds Same or Different by giving students worksheets with the words you want them to compare highlighted on Student A and Student B sheets. First they read out just the word to decide if the pron is the same or not, then they read out their different sentences to see if the context gives them any more clues. When they have finished, they can spell the words out to each other and then look at each other’s sheets.

10. Tell me when I’m odd
In this variation of Sounds Same or Different, students listen to a whole string of words with the same sound (e.g. the same vowel sound) and race to indicate the first word they hear that is different.

11. Silently mouthing
Students try to identify the word or sentence that the teacher or a student is mouthing silently. This is good for awareness of mouth position for English sounds.

12. Sounds puzzle
You can get the logical parts of their brain working during pronunciation practice by hiding the sounds that make up a word that is the answer to the puzzle. Students find the sounds in common in each pair of words, put all the sounds together (mixed up or in order) and write the word they make.

13. Pronunciation maze
This game also allows them to use a little bit of logical problem solving to help with a pronunciation task. In a grid, write a string of words with a common sound, e.g. the same vowel sound, between the top left corner and the bottom right corner. In all the other squares, write in words that people might think have the same sound but don’t. Students then have to get from the starting point to the end by the right route. After they have finished, drill the words on the right route, and then all the surrounding ones with different sounds.

14. Common pron pictures
Students draw lines between the pairs of words that share the same sound on their sheet, and see what kind of picture is made by those lines. This can take a lot of preparation, but is easier if you just have the thing they draw as a letter of the alphabet, usually an upper case one as there are more straight lines.

15. No sounds listening comprehension
Students try to identify which sentence in a dialogue the teacher or a student has chosen without them using any English sounds. This can be done by waving your arms around to show sentence stress or intonation, or beating out the rhythm on the sentence on the table or your palm.

Written by Alex Case for Tefl.NET March 2008
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers


  • Martina says:

    Great ideas, thanks.

  • Marla R. says:

    I wish I could find engaging ideas like these for my one-on-one online classes. I teach adults and since the pandemic am only online. It’s a bit more challenging to come up with fun ways to practice pronunciation, but my students want it and need it.

  • Elizebeth says:

    I think it would be a good idea to for a activity to get a sentence or a name that can be conveyed in various different ways and then to say it for example lets say I act/say a name like Sam in a rude way then the next second in a very nice way this would be good for them to practice how to convey filling in a play/acting job.

  • Mary Okumu says:

    Pronunciation is an area that requires a lot of attention, especially for teachers. This is a really useful approach, I will definitely use these games to make my pronunciation lessons more interesting.

  • Alex Case says:

    The worksheets I linked to below are now moved to https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/worksheets/pronunciation/

  • Truman.Rebecca says:

    If we do or don’t do it, someone will laugh

  • Marcus.Ross says:

    Luck can never last a lifetime

  • Colleen says:

    These games are great. What a help in teaching English! Keep up the good work.

  • lenin chigbundu says:

    Thank you so much for your gallant effort. We shall not forget. You have equipped us for the 21st century class combat zone.

  • suman says:

    I am an English teacher. Although I do not teach ESL, I still have some students with pronunciation problems.

    Thank you for a vast variety of useful and fun activities to teach pronunciation.

  • Juliana says:

    I too am a student teacher of ESL.
    These have helped me with ideas to finish an assignment and to use in the classroom. I hope one day I can be some help to others as you have been to me.
    Muchas gracias

  • Rod.Bennett says:

    As a student teacher of ESL It will definitely come in handy during class.Thanks

  • Octavio says:

    Hello, in my case I am studying to be an English professor, I am in my second year of the career, and all these activities are excellent. They give different options to work with students, and could change the way English in taught in my country. Greetings from Costa Rica and thank you very much. Pura vida!!!

  • salwa says:

    thank y a lot y help me in my teahing

  • Alex Case says:

    Hi Rhoda

    Not many on here yet, but some examples of worksheets for pronunciation here:


  • Bowie Brannen says:

    all are really useful n i gonna try all of these for my students

    Seriously! Wonderful

    they’ll improve a lot i ‘pose

  • Madeleine Barthelmess says:

    Great activities!!! My Ss loved the games specially the yes game!!

  • Alex Case says:

    Thanks Elizabeth, that is a nice one.

    Ha, stress is another thing that usually needs worksheets (see Pronunciation Games by Mark Hancock for many great ideas), but you can use “stress minimal pairs” like thirTEEN THIRty or an INcrease/ to inCREASE and use games like bingo, students throwing something at the side of the whiteboard they think has the right stress on, or brainstorming words with a certain stress pattern.

    Hope that helps

  • elizabeth says:

    good ideas, thanks!

    Another game I pull out when I have 10 or 15 minutes free is a minimal pairs bingo. I made a list of minimal pairs that the group has trouble with (tree/three, light/right, ship/sheep) and made a set of bingo cards with them. To make it go faster, the squares are only 4×4, but not every word is on every card! For the first round, I read the words. Once someone gets a bingo, I check their answers, and then they get to be the caller.

  • ha says:

    Hi! Ur sharing is really useful for me. Have u got any games on stress? I’m glad if u give me some. Thanks

  • elena says:

    the 15 tops games are good for students

  • fatiha says:

    I find all the activities motivating and relevant to our syllabus.But we have overcrowded classes and I see that we cannot involve all the learners in one lesson.Time management is another problem for us.Too many things to teach and too many pupils to involve.Any teaching tips?Thanks in advance.

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