Story Timeline: ESL Reading and Speaking Activity


An ESL Reading and Speaking Activity

If you’re looking for an ESL reading and speaking activity, check out this story timeline activity. It makes an excellent follow-up activity for whatever reading your students are doing inside, or outside of class. It works equally well for both children and adults. It’s an excellent 1-1 activity, or if you have a bigger class, you can put students into pairs or groups of 3-4 and have them work on it together.

If you want to make it more difficult for advanced level or older students, just include some extra strips of paper with unimportant events that the student will have to leave out. If you like this ESL reading and speaking activity, consider getting the book it’s from: 39 Awesome 1-1 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults, available on Amazon.

Story Timeline ESL Activity

Skills: Reading/Speaking/Writing
Time: 10-15 minutes
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Materials: None
Optional Materials: Sentence strips of important events in a novel

Extensive reading is an excellent way to build your student’s vocabulary quickly, but you and your student probably don’t want to spend too much class time reading novels. What you can do is assign a novel for homework and in each lesson, go over unfamiliar vocabulary or situations as well as any number of extension activities. This is one such activity.

A timeline, or chronology, of important plot events is a useful way to have the student briefly summarize the story chapter by chapter. A timeline will help him/her keep track of the story while providing practice determining important events. With lower-level students, you may want to scaffold the activity by providing the sentences for the student to order.


  1. (Optional) In advance, prepare sentence strips describing important events in the plot.
  2. Have the student either order the sentence strips you have provided or determine the events on his/her own. If you are not using sentence strips, you can have the student complete the activity orally or in writing.

Like this ESL Reading and Speaking Activity?

It’s from the book, 39 Awesome 1-1 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. It’s available on Amazon in both print and digital formats. You can download the ebook to any smartphone, tablet, PC, or Mac by getting the free Kindle App. It’s easy!

—>Buy 39 Awesome 1-1 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults on Amazon<—

1-1 ESL Activities


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