If you’re looking for some fun ESL article games and activities, along with worksheets and lesson plan ideas, you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about teaching articles to English learners.
ESL Article Games and Activities
Let’s get into the best games and activities for teaching articles.
#1: Dialogue Substition
Have you ever noticed that when you give students a dialogue to read with a partner, they just blow through it? A nice way to get students to focus on meaning is to remove some of the key words. In this case, you may want to remove the article or the corresponding noun, and students have to fill in the blanks from a word bank as they read. Learn more:
#2: Mixed Up Sentences
#3: Articles Running Dictation
If you want to bring some energy into your class, then you’ll need to use running dictation. It’s fun, engaging, and ideal for just about any topic, grammar point, or vocabulary set, including articles like a/an/the. Have a look here to find out everything you need to know about it:
#4: Picture Prompt
A nice way to introduce articles it to use a picture. Perhaps a bedroom with a variety of singular and plural nouns. Elicit from students what they see. “Book.” Reframe it, using an article. “A book.”
#5: Use the Test Teach Test Approach
Unless students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they’re at least a bit familiar with articles. That’s why I like to use the test teach test approach sometimes for this unit. It can help you uncover what students already know about a topic, so that you can focus on what they don’t. Learn more here:
#6: Flashcard Sentences with Articles
I love to use flashcards in my classes with children. They are also a nice way to review articles and nouns. Have a look here for some ideas on how to use them:
#7: Article Vocab Auction
This game does require a bit of prep work, but it’s totally worth it if you can use the game for multiple classes. Students LOVE it! Basically, they have to bid on words that they think will help them make complete sentences (in this case, using the correct articles). Learn more about how to set it all up:
#8: Use Presentation-Practice-Production
#9: Basketball Game Challenge
Try out this fun vocabulary game for kids. It can be easily adapted to be used for teaching articles. Check it out:
#10: Error Correction Relay Race
I love to use this game to turn something old (error correction) into something new and fun by making it into a relay race. Take a look at how I do it here:
#11: Article Dicto Gloss
This is a challenging listening activity for higher-level students that can be used for just about any grammar point, including this one. Find out more here:
#12: The Memory Circle Game
#13: Disappearing Text
Try out this quick review game that’s ideal for reviewing just about anything, including a, an, the. Have a look here for more details:
#14: Role Plays
Using role plays can help students use their new knowledge or grammar or vocabulary in context. Learn more about using them with English learners here:
#15: Songs or Chants
Have a look on YouTube and you’ll find a million songs and chants that are designed to teach children who are learning English about articles.
#16: Dictation Activity
#17: Telephone Game for Children
Try out this hilarious game with kids! In this case, you’d want to make a sentence with a lot of articles in it. Check it out:
#18: News Article Analysis
Find a news article on a place like Breaking News English. Then, have students circle all of the articles and analyze how they are used.
#19: Sentence Building Games and Activities
There are plenty of other excellent games and activities for helping students build better sentences. Check them out here:
#20: Fill-In-the-Blank Worksheet
A very simple way to have students practice using articles is to have them do a fill-in-the-blank worksheet.
ESL Article Worksheets
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time it can save to use materials that other teachers have created. Here are a few of the best articles worksheets for English learners.
Articles Lesson Plans
Check out these top-quality ESL lesson plans for teaching articles:
Online Article Practice
If your students want some extra practice opportunities with articles, be sure to refer them to these resources:
ESL Article FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about using and teaching articles. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones:
What are articles in English?
Articles are small words like “a,” “an,” and “the” that are used before nouns to specify whether the noun is known or unknown, specific or general.
When do you use “a” and “an”?
“A” is used before words starting with a consonant sound, while “an” is used before words starting with a vowel sound.
When do you use “the”?
“The” is used to specify a particular or known noun, and it’s used before both singular and plural nouns.
Can you use “a” or “an” with plural nouns?
No, “a” and “an” are used with singular nouns, not plural nouns.
What is the difference between “a” and “an”?
“A” is used before consonant sounds, while “an” is used before vowel sounds to maintain the flow of speech.
Is “the” an indefinite or definite article?
“The” is a definite article because it specifies a particular noun.
Can you use “a” and “an” with countable and uncountable nouns?
“A” and “an” are used with countable nouns, but they are not used with uncountable nouns.
How do you use articles in general questions?
Use “a” or “an” for general questions about unknown or unspecified things, and use “the” for questions about specific or known things.
Do you use “a” or “an” before words that begin with silent consonants?
Yes, you should use “a” or “an” based on the pronunciation of the word, not the written letter. For example, “an hour” (pronounced as “ow-er”).
What’s the rule for using articles with proper nouns?
Generally, you don’t use articles with proper nouns (e.g., “John,” “Paris”), except in specific cases like “The Hague.”
More Ideas for Teaching English
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 153 Pages - 01/03/2023 (Publication Date)
For even more ideas for teaching English, be sure to check out this book: Great Debates for ESL/EFL. There are dozens of lesson plans, specifically created for English learners. Have some debating the important topics of the day with your students.
Pick up your copy of the book today, and get ready for better English lessons tomorrow:
ESL Article Games: Join the Conversation
Do you have any games or activities for teaching a/an/the that you’d like to add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you!
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API