Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Games, activities and teaching ideas > Let ´s BRAINSTORM universal READING TASKS, please!    

Let ´s BRAINSTORM universal READING TASKS, please!

Czech Republic

Let ´s BRAINSTORM universal READING TASKS, please!
DEAR FRIENDS, I AM LOOKING FOR a list of TASKS THAT CAN BE USED with ANY text.  COULD YOU HELP ME? I would like to have a "copy paste activities to go with any text (tasks which I can copy under virtually any text)
Most of the activities can go with stories, but some can be used with letters, newspaper articles etc...

CAN WE please SHARE a list of OUR FAVOURITE "universal" tasks to go with ANY reading text?
Let ´s play with words / reading:
Find 10 adjectives and write their antonyms or synonyms
Mirror dictation - think about a word and dictate the antonym (think: black, dictate: white, S2 writes BLACK)
Find 5 irregular verbs and write sentences in past simple / present perfect / passive
Write 10 key words from the story and their definitions and let your partner guess. Play tictactoe.
Memory Game - make cards - word + definition / picture.
What´s missing? - Read your key words, cover 2 of them, S2 guesses which are missing
Play hangman - alphabet shark - burst balloons - catch the fish - melt the snowman
Make a spider diagram of some words used in the text.
Write words with one semantic root - act - action - active - actively

Cloze task - take out some words (sentences) and ask your partner to place them back in the correct place
Jumble words in 5 sentences and ask your partner to unscramble them.
Spelling dictation - spell the keywords, your partner will write them down
Choose one longer word - make new words - ANAGRAMS
Expanding 1 short word - "in" - tin - win - intelligent ... or hat-cat-car-bar-bat...
Double Dollars - make pairs beginning with same letter - angry adult etc...
Rhyming Dictation - Write a few words from 1st paragraph and think of rhyming words. Eg. cat - hat. Dictate hat, S2 reads the paragraph and tries to find the original word - cat...
Rhyming Words - Write a short poem. Advanced SS - poem summarizing the text.
Word Duels - SS make a circle and write a summarising sentence(s) - one word at a time
Logic sequence - write a sequence + partner guess the missing part - Mo-Tue-___-Thu
Correct Me Please - misspell 5 words (/wrong tense), your partner corrects
Scanning - circle/find the given key words in the text as fast as possible
Silence Please - whisper 3 key words very quietly. Others write down. Each group must agree on the correct answer. (It must have been... It can´t have been... It might have been...) - for advanced ss.

Magic Pics - cloze activity - erase 5 words and draw pictures instead of them. S2 guesses.
Flash Pics - draw pics of key words, show it quickly, show only a part, others guess

Chinese Whispers - against a teacher, if the word correct, T loses a point
Mime it! - mime 1 key word (from each paragraph). Others guess.
Mime opposites/1 paragraph - 2 ss mime opposites/1 paragraph. Others guess.

Writing tasks:
Write a summary in 4-10 short sentences.
What is the gist?--Write a 10 word summary of what happened.
Create a timeline of the action. Rewrite with Past Perfect.
Imagine a story with the same title.
Imagine a sequel to the story (what happened after). Imagine a prequel.
Rewrite the story from the perspective of a baddie. Write his/her diary.
Write a different ending to the story. Draw a picture of it and comment it!
Comment 1 sentence - choose 1 sentence that ___  (a sentence that is beautiful, interesting, surprising, contains the main idea, I didn´t understand, I agree/disagree with...) 
Create new sentences with the words you have just learnt
Imagine additional dialogues that may fit in the story. Act as the main character or reporter. Write reported speech.
Find verbs in ___ tense and explain why they are used
Rewrite or retell the story from the point of view of one of the characters (in the 1st person)
"The Most" List - write the longest list of ... the most dangerous sports, funniest presents, silliest mistakes...
Mixed-up Stories - take 2 summaries, cut the lines in the middle and jumble the strips + recreate 2 stories
Make a comics from the story. Erase some speech clouds and S2 guesses. Or jumble.
Make titles/headings to all paragraphs. Mix them. S2 match titles + paragraphs.
Underline some pronouns in the text (them, it her...) and ask what  do they refer to?
Underline words you are not familiar with and look them up in a dictionary. Write definitions.
Write a letter to the main character of the story
Design a nice poster with a few of the suggestions that came up.

Question tasks:

Write 5 questions to the story. Answer your partner ´s questions.
What is the text about? Do you like it?
What is the text type - newspaper article, short-story, letter, (in)formal email,  description, diary, note...?
What would your title of the text be?
Jeopardy -Guess the Q- write questions and answers about the text. Say answers and your partner has to create an appropriate question.
Indirect questions - Report the most interesting questions - He wanted to know..., She asked me if/whether...,
Embedded questions - Report what you didn´t know - I didn´t remember what time it had started. I didn ´t know who had won the race
Which questions would you ask the main character? S2 makes up the possible answers.
Write true / false statements. Your partner nods or shakes his head.
Question words - make 1 question with how, who, when, why, which, where + what.
Play a Jeopardy / Who Wants to be a Millionnaire game. Use ss´ questions.

Speaking tasks:

Work in pairs and re-tell the text. You can say only one sentence at a time and your partner continues.
Think about one "secret magic word" from the text and say a word connected to the magic word. Your partner will guess... Eg: Day is the magic word. You say: sun. S2: Is is a noun? You nod. S2: Is is heat? Don´t nod.
Divide and cut the story in 6-10 parts and ask your partner to read/number the parts of the story in the right order.
Discussion - dis/agreement - Think of a topic/statement that is closely related to the text. You agree and your partner disagrees. Brainstorm ideas why you agree. Third student is a jury and s/he decides whether SA or SB is right.
Compare with another story
Tell a similar situation that happened to you / your friend
Describe character´s moral characteristics + give your opinion
Draw an illustration to each paragraph. Read a story/summary, S2 match pics + paragraphs.
Mistakes Please - Listen and shout stop every time you hear a mistake and correct it


16 Feb 2010      



 * Write a different ending to the story.

I usually read short stories to my students (9-12) and then I ask them to  draw and ending and comment it orally. I ask them to think How would they finish that story.  They have to tell us why they drew such thing and what it represents. It ´s very funny to listen and see what they come up with and all are different! They love it! and I enjoy listening to them and watching how their imagination runs wild!

16 Feb 2010     


I love your suggestions and have copied them to use later. Here are some I can think of at the moment:

Writing tasks:

Complete the text with the words given according to the definition provided;

Find words you don’t know / understand and look for definitions.

Create new sentences with the words you have just learned.

Replace the underlined words for synonyms;

Rearrange the text (cut in paragraphs) in order to make sense.

Write a similar story and then read it to the class.

Write additional dialogs you think may fit the story (Character A should have told; Character B should have said… instead of ….)

Reading tasks:

Find in the text the words that correspond to the definitions given;

Find verbs in a particular tense in the text and explain why they are used.

Listening tasks:

Complete the sentences while the teacher reads it aloud;

Compare and contrast the text with short stories the teacher reads for the class;

Rearrange the text (cut in paragraphs) while listening.

Speaking tasks:

Tell a similar situation happened to you or a person you know;

Describe the characters’ moral characteristics according to the story;

Give your opinion about the way each character acted in the story.

16 Feb 2010     

United States

What is the gist?--Write a 10 word summary of what happened. (good for really getting to the "meat" of the story)

Go through the reading paragraph by paragraph and put a check in the margin if you understood that paragraph, or a minus if you didn ´t. (This is for longer readings, especially non-fiction) to self monitor comprehension.)

Create a timeline of the action.

16 Feb 2010     


Great suggestions!
One from me - rewrite or retell the story from the point of view of one of the characters (in the 1st person).

16 Feb 2010     

Czech Republic

Thanks to all! YOU ARE ALL SOOOO CREATIVE !!!!
And special thanks to Anitarobi who sent me links to her collections with tons of ideas...
I am updating / adding some of the ideas in the list... Check and come back in a few minutes!!!
Let ´s make the list as loooong as an anaconda :-D

16 Feb 2010     


Great post, Moravc!!

- Underline some pronouns in the text (them, it her...) and ask what  do they refer to?
- Write some headings  and match them with the paragraphs of the text.

16 Feb 2010     


Moravac, can you please post or send me the links to the collection of Anitarobi? I think it could be great to have those ideas as well.Smile

thanks in advance.

16 Feb 2010     


Moravac, can you please post or send me the links to the collection of Anitarobi, too? Thank you very much.

16 Feb 2010     


It would be great if Anita posted those suggestions! I ´m saving them all!! I love this!

16 Feb 2010     

Czech Republic

I strongly suggest to read her games collections - they are a MUST!
Unbelievable! So complete!!! Great source of inspiration... It is "a must to have" for all...

16 Feb 2010     

1    2    Next >