Reading Games for Readers, Novels or Short Stories


image from #eltpics via @mkofab

In December, I had the chance to listen to Steven Krashen at YTU ELT symposium. He talked about the importance of reading, how he became a good reader and what narrow reading is. You can read Marisa Constantinides’ fabulous post on Dr Krashen’s talk here.

That was the time I went back to the past and thought how I became a reader. I did the narrow reading. There was a time in my life, I read Enid Blyton novels, then came the French classics and the Russians, I fell in love with Sartre, Camus and their contemporaries, then came the Italian novelists and the South Americans and of course there was a time I only read British novelists. There was a time I read poetry only -Orhan Veli, Melih Cevdet, Zahrad.

I was lucky to have two primary school teachers who led me to the paths of reading so I want to follow their footsteps. I believe teachers can help students become good readers. That’s why I think about fun activities to go with reading lessons.

Here you will find some activities that I use with my classes.

1. Tic-tac-toe

Write questions from the story or novel on slips of papers or post-it-notes and number them from 1-9. (Prepare double or triple questions for each number as students may not answer the questions)

Put in an envelope or a box or stick the papers on a ‘tic-tac-toe’ grid.

Team your students as Xs and Os.

Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the board and tell them to choose a number. Take the numbered post-it from your tic-tac-toe handout. If they answer the question correctly, cross the number with X or O.

Continue until the questions finish.




2 3




5 6




8 9

2. Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Play the game with questions from the novel or the story you read in the class.

3. Who said that?

Choose quotes or sentences from the novel

Divide the class into two teams.

Ask students “Who said that?”

4. Snowball fights

Tell students to write questions or quotes from the novel or the story on a piece of paper.

Tell them to make a paper snowball and allow them to play snowball fights for a while.

Stop them

Tell them to take the closest snowball and answer the questions.

You can guide them to ask their questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy using

Now I’d like you to invite my first ever blog challenge 🙂

Would you like to share some of your favorite reading activities on your blog?

If you don’t blog, I’d be very happy to host your post on this blog.



Need Energy?

seksekEnergisers are great activities and can save lives when you feel your students are not in the lesson anymore.

These quick games can be used to bring your students back to classroom. A little bit movement, mingle, laughter will break the ice, will help to get rid of the boredom. Maybe the focus is not directly on the language but still you can adapt these games according your students’ needs and levels.

Touch Something Pink

Tell students to stand up. Explain that you will give instructions and they will touch something in the classroom according to it. It can be an object, a coat, etc

What has changed?

  • Pair students
  • Partners should observe each other carefully
  • Tell them to turn their back to each other and make 3 changes to his/her appearance. For example, they can remove a watch or change the wrist, roll up sleeves, etc.
  • When ready, they turn to each other and in turns they try to find the 3 changes.

Find your family

  • Prepare cards with categories, fruit names, family names or occupations.
  • Give each student a card
  • Tell everyone to walk around the class and find their group members

This one will work very well when you plan your groups in a group work. They usually moan when you say work with him or her but when you play a game and put them in a group like that they obey the rules.

Fruit Salad

A classic but fun!

  • Teacher divides the students into an equal number of fruits according to the class size.
  • Students sit in a circle.
  • Give each student a card with a fruit picture
  • One must stand in the centre.
  • Teacher shouts a fruit, such as ‘apple’
  • All apples must stand up and change places with another.
  • The student in the middle tries to sit before all the apples settle to their new seats.
  • The new person in the middle shouts another fruit.

Tide’s in / Tide’s out

  • Draw a line representing the seashore.
  • Ask students to stand behind the line.
  • When teacher shouts ‘Tide’s out!’, students jump forward over the line.
  • When teacher shouts ‘Tide’s in’, students jump backwards over the line.
  • If the teacher shouts ‘tide’s out’ twice in a row, students who move will drop of the game.


seksekI realised I mostly wrote about quick games, fillers or warmers that may help the teachers to motivate the students or change the phase or the pace of a lesson.

I believe these activities are great to present and practice a new language. During the activities, students will be more involved, enthused and eager to do or finish the activity and the teacher will look more friendly, approachable and cheerful.

I’m sure the experienced members of my PLN will have more to add to the followings but let’s say this is kind of an introduction for the new comers to the ELT world.

Games and game like activities


  1. Tongue twisters: these are great challenges and also good for pronunciation and memory.
  2. Find someone who: You can use this activity anytime you want during the lesson, as a warmer for presenting or awareness-raising or at the end of a lesson as a filler to practice the target language.
  3. Puzzles, word games: these are good for vocab revision. I also ask my students to create their own puzzles then they exchange the puzzle and try to solve the ones their friends prepared. If you want they can prepare them in pairs or groups.
  4. Charede: this one is my favourite. It can be used as a filler. Team them and tell them they will compete. Usually we play charde with grammatical structures such as If clauses, time clauses or relatives. Once they code certain things and get the rule they easily guess the sentence. Plus they mime and have fun.
  5. Yes-No Game
  6. Line up according to: This is a good warmer and also works well to group your students for the next activity. You can line your students according to the seasons they were born in or the fast food they like or the shoes they are wearing. The alternatives are endless. Just use your imagination.
  7. Stand up if: This one is also a great warmer, filler or energizer. Shout out sentences and tell your students to stand up if the statement is correct for them. You can change the instruction and say, for instance, touch your nose if you agree and jump if you disagree.
  8. Associations : give 2 object, which looks completely different and ask them to find the similarities.
  9. How can we use it other than: Give them an object, say a paper clip and give them time to list what else we can do with a paper clip apart from attaching paper.
  10. Tic-tac-toe: you can use it to practice and revise vocabulary and grammar points.
  11. Dictations
  12. Shake hands: This is a great activitywith lots of laughter and action.Play some music and tell your students when you stop the music they will greet each other as you instruct. Instruct your students as follows:
  13. Greet each other as two close friends
  14. Greet each other as neighbours


  1. Guided Fantasy: it is great after a hard day’s work, just relax, close your eyes and imagine…. You will find lots of ideas in  Imagine That by J. Arnold,H. Puchta, M.Rinvolucri .
  2. Sentence completion: good for feedback and/or evaluation.
  3. Memory games
  4. Flash dictations.
  5. Wall dictation


  1. Puzzles
  2. Miming
  3. Chinese whispers
  4. Hot seat
  5. Vocabulary match to find the new partner
  6. Bingo
  7. Tic-tac-toe
  8. Hang a man
  9. Find someone who: Find someone who with words and definition. Find someone who can define ‘a word’. / Find someone who can use ‘this particular word’ in a sentence. / Find someone who knows a synonym or antonym for ‘this word’


  1. Find someone who
  2. 20 questions
  3. Kim’s game
  4. I went to the market and I bought
  5. Stand up if

Quick Fillers


 When the schools are about to finish, I tend to do more fun activities instead of grammar revisions. Some of these activities are from books, workshops, colleagues, TV programmes and some of them are adaptations.

Here I go:

1. Imagine and write.

Play some instrumental music.

Tell students to imagine a character and jot down the adjectives that describe that person.Set time limit. Then tell students to imagine a place which can go with the music as well and write short descriptive phrases or words until you stop music. Start the music and tell them to imagine the weather conditions and take some notes while listening. When they have all finished writing down their notes ask them to write a short story.

2. tick-tac-toe

Write the words on slips of papers and put in an envelope or a box. Team your students as Xs and Os. Draw a tic-tac-toe grid on the board and tell them to choose a number and take a piece of paper from the envelope. If they know the meaning of the word, cross the number with X or O. Continue until the words finish.

3. Best friends

 Tell students you are going to play a game to understand how well they know each other.

Pair best friends together and send a pair out of the class. The ones in the class will prepare questions to find out their friends likes dislikes, habits and routines. Choose a secretary to write the questions and answers. Then ask student A to come to class and answer questions for student B. Do the same with student B.

When they both finish, read their answers and let them see how well they know each other.

GAMES VS HANDOUTS - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Yesterday I explained how to reduce relative clauses into phrases to my 11 graders and they were all confused. Then I distributed the handouts I prepared for them to exercise and asked them to rewrite the sentences. While doing the exercises they were bored and they couldn’t get the idea.
Today I played a game with them and they were more confident in the end.
The game was one of my favourites, noughts and crosses, as I can adapt it to many grammar topic.

I wrote sentences on slips of papers and put them in an envelope. I divided my class into two teams and told them how to play the game. They had to choose a box from the grid all together as a team and one by one in turns, they had to take a slip of paper from the envelope and reduce the relative clause. I allowed them to look at their notes while waiting for their turn and in the end the victory was for all of us.
I gave them pos- it notes and asked them to write feedback. I also asked them to compare doing exercises and playing grammar games.
My students were happy with the game and they explained the pros and cons of playing games in classroom very well.
They said:


  1. We focused on the rules.
  2. We were more careful
  3. We tried to learn and remember the rules not to lose the game
  4. We saw our mistakes
  5. We wanted to win
  6. We remember better
  7. We practised the relative clauses
  8. We had fun.
  9. It was more enjoyable than writing on a handout
  10. We did something like competition and it makes you try harder


  1.  Losing a game is not good
  2.  I get so nervous when I play a game
  3. We could have practised more if I did them on handouts

In every classroom, you will find competitive students who will enjoy playing games and in every classroom you will have students who will become unhappy when s/he loses a game. But life is a game and we should learn how to play, how to survive, how to win and we should also learn how to overcome stress.