You can often find a unit on reported speech in most intermediate level English textbooks. But, it’s not that easy to design some ESL activities to practice this. Check out one of my favourite: “Tell a Story.” It’s fun, engaging, and creates some great opportunities for students to practice this important skill.
Reported Speech ESL Speaking Activity
Time: 15-30 minutes
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Materials Required: Nothing
Have students write something interesting. Some examples are: most embarrassing moment, scariest thing you’ve ever done, your dream for the future, etc. Base it on whatever you are studying in class.
Then, distribute the stories to other people in the class. They have to go around the class, finding the person whose story they have by asking questions. Once they find that person, they have to ask three interesting questions about the story.
Teaching Tips for Tell your Story:
Emphasize to students that they are to practice asking good questions. For example, “USA?” is not a good question, while, “Did you study abroad in the USA?” is much better.
Also emphasize that students should think of interesting follow-up questions that expand upon their knowledge about that situation. This involves reading carefully so they can avoid asking about things that are already mentioned.
You can give your students a couple of minutes before the activity starts to write down a few questions based on the paper they received to help facilitate this.
This activity provides an excellent opportunity for your students to work on reported speech. This is something that high level students are often surprisingly weak at. If you have a small class (less than 10), students can report what they learned about their partner to everyone.
If larger, students can tell their seating partner what they learned. For example, students might say something like, “I talked to Min-Ji. She told me that she got in a car accident last year. She said that it was really scary, but thankfully nobody got injured seriously.”
Procedure for Tell your Story:
- Have students write an interesting story based on a certain topic. Adjust for length and difficultly depending on your students.
- Collect stories and redistribute them–one per student, making sure a student does not get their own story.
- Students go around the class asking people if that is their story. For example, “Did you get in a car accident when you were little?”
- When they find the person, they must ask them three interesting follow-up questions about it.
- Do the optional variation of having students tell other people what they learned in order to practice using reported speech.
Like this Reported Speech ESL Speaking Activity?
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There are dozens of top-quality ESL games and activities for teenagers and adults that are organized into various categories: reading, writing, speaking, writing, warm-ups, and 4-skills. You’re sure to find something that will work for any level of students or topic.
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Or, buy the book and keep it as a handy reference on your bookshelf, or teacher supply room. You can check out 101 ESL Activities for yourself over on Amazon:
Tell your Story English Speaking Activity: Have your Say!
What do you think of this activity to practice reported speech? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.