Are you looking for some of the best ESL reading games and activities, along with lesson plans, worksheets and exercises? Then you’re certainly in the right place as we have the best ESL reading comprehension activities for you to consider including in your reading lesson plans.
Top 17 ESL Reading Comprehension Games and Activities
Are you ready to get into the reading activities? Let’s get to it. Keep on reading!
#1: Hot Potato ESL Reading Game
If you’re teaching students how to read then you may want to try out this hot potato game. It’s a fun way to get them practicing this important skill.
The way it works is that students have to pass an object around the class and when the timer goes off or the music stops, they have to do something. In this case, it may be showing students a flashcard with a word and they have to say it. Or, reading the next sentence in an article.
Find out more here: Hot Potato.
#2: Dialogue Substitution ESL Reading Activity
There are a ton of dialogues in ESL textbooks as it’s a very common way that new grammar and vocabulary are introduced. However, have you noticed that students often just blow through them and don’t really pay attention to what they’re reading?
A way to combat this is to remove some of the key words. Then, it turns it from simply an easy reading activity to one that focuses heavily on meaning as well. Learn more about it: Dialogue Substitution Reading Activity.
#3: Learning to Read ESL Game
There are lots of great ideas for ESL reading activities on YouTube. Here’s one that you might consider using if you’re teaching your students how to read:
#4: Do you like to _____?
Try out this simple reading, writing, listening and speaking activity with your students. Yes, it covers all 4 skills and is some ESL teaching gold.
The way it works is that students have to write 5 facts about themselves. It could be something they like, or another kind of fact. Then, distribute the papers around the class to the other students and they have to mingle with their classmates finding the matches.
Sounds like something you want to try out? More details here: Do you Like to ____? 4-Skills ESL Activity.
#5: ESL Board Games
In real life, I love to play board games so I also like to incorporate them into my classes as well. It’s really easy to make your own and they also have a good amount of reading comprehension in them as students have to read the question or statement and then respond to it correctly.
Want to check them out? You can see all the details here: Board Games for ESL.
#6: Post-Reading Activities
After getting students to read things, it’s always a good idea to do some post-reading activities to get the most bang for our buck! There are tons of things you can do and it’s good to mix things up to keep it fresh and interesting for our students.
Find out more about this: ESL Post-Reading Activities.
#7: Task-Based Reading Activities
I LOVE task based teaching and learning and try to incorporate at least some of it into each of my classes. There are numerous advantages to them including being a nice change of pace from the regular routine, students have a large degree of freedom and also that they’re very student-centred.
As far as reading goes, there are numerous things you could do for task-based activities:
- Novel studies with a group project
- Reading a newspaper article and making a short presentation to the class
- Ordering events based on a short story
Want to know more? Check this out: Task Based ESL Activities.
#8: The Reading Race
Who says that ESL reading can’t be fun? It certainly can be with one of the best ESL reading games:
#9: Conversation Starters
Although this is mostly a speaking and listening activity, there is a good dose of reading comprehension as students are given a list of questions from which to read from. It’s a nice way to combat the silence when you tell students to talk about a certain topic!
More details here: ESL Conversation Starters.
#10: Rocks Scissor Paper ESL Reading Games
Try out this fun review game with a serious dose of reading in it! The way it works is that you make up a bunch of questions and answers and then cut them all up into pieces of paper.
Each student gets a mix of questions and answers and then circulates around the class trying to find their matches. When they do find a match, the students do rocks scissor paper, the winner takes both and gets a point.
Want to know more? Find out all the details here: Rocks Scissor Paper ESL Game.
#11: Got to Hand it to You
This is a simple review activity that’s heavy on the reading and turns something that’s usually kind of boring (review and error correction) into something new by making it into a relay race.
Want to give it a try? You can learn more here: Error Correction Relay Race.
#12: Reading Comprehension Games
Here are even more ideas for you to consider:
#13: Agony Aunt Advice Column
One fun reading comprehension activity that you may want to try out is this one for giving and getting advice. Students have to read about a problem and then work together in groups to give that person some advice.
You can see all the details here: Agony Aunt Problem Advice ESL Activity.
#14: Story Timeline ESL Reading Exercise
One of the best activities for after reading a short story (or even a novel) is to do the story timeline. Students have to work together in groups to put the events of the story in the correct order.
Find out more about this useful reading comprehension activity here: Story Timeline Reading Activity.
#15: Current Events Presentation Project
Although this activity focuses mostly on speaking, the basis of it is a current events new article that students have to read and base their presentations on. The results with this activity in my classes have been excellent so definitely consider trying it out in your classes.
Check it out: Current Events Presentation Project.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 72 Pages - 05/02/2017 (Publication Date)
#16: Running Dictation
One of the ESL activities to try out with your students is running dictation. It hits all the skills in a big way, including reading and it’s also fun and challenging. It does take a bit to explain how to set it up and play it, so be sure to check out this detailed explanation:
#17: ESL Surveys
Surveys are another one of those multi-skill ESL activities that also have a good dose of reading in them. The way it works is that students have to circulate around the class finding someone who can answer yes to a question on their paper (that’s the reading part of it). They also lend themselves to just about any topic.
Check out this versatile ESL activity here: ESL Survey Ideas.
ESL Reading Exercises and Lesson Plans
There are lots of excellent reading lesson plans that are available to just print off and use in your classes. It’s a huge timer-saver and any busy teacher should definitely take advantage of this resource! Here are some of the top picks:
ESL Reading Comprehension Worksheets
The good news for teachers is that there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel! There are a ton of great resources online, including reading comprehension worksheets and exercises for ESL. Here are some of the top picks:
Did you like these ESL Reading Games?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 107 Pages - 02/16/2020 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: ESL Reading Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English classes for adults is a wide variety of interesting, engaging and student-centred activities and games and this book will help you do that in style. Seriously, you’ll be able to make it through an entire semester of reading lessons without having to repeat an activity!
Keep a copy of the book on the shelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide when making your lesson plans. Or, download the free Kindle reading app onto your phone, laptop or tablet and take it with you to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning on the go.
Either way, it’s the book you need if you’re serious about levelling up your English teaching game! Find out more about these ESL reading activities on Amazon:
Have your Say about these ESL Reading Activities and Games
What’s your top pick for an ESL reading game or exercise? Is it one of the options from this or do you have your eye on another one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.
Last update on 2020-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API