Reinforcement Activities For ESL Students

Though many ESL students manage a good level of English, they need to continue practicing the language through different activities that will allow them to reach their language goals. In this way, they will not only maintain fluency but also improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

Firstly, most students need to reinforce mainly grammar where difficulties first appear. People tend to translate from their native language to their second language, and this is where some doubts come up because we know grammar is not the same in all languages. Students are not used to learning the second language as their native one; they tend to focus more on rules and a more structured way of learning. This causes the learning of the language to be incorporated slowly. Secondly, in many cases they need to improve their listening comprehension and oral skills.

ESL programs offer a wide range of activities to refresh and reinforce topics that have been covered all year long. These activities are available online, as well as in booklets or study guides to practice in the comfort of their homes.

When we talk about business English, where it might be essential for students to travel, and where they will have to speak to native speakers, attend business meetings, and close important deals, maintaining good fluency is extremely important. Business travelers have higher demands and need a constant language practice not only in class but with extra material and a great number of activities to do at home. Since some of the activities are done at home with the absence of a teacher, they should be clear, with detailed instructions and should be something they can do on their own and bring to class later for corrections.

You may see some examples below of different kinds of exercises which may be done in any level to reinforce any kind of topic or grammar point.


1. Multiple choice: consists of choosing the best option

2. Fill in the blanks: is also a constructive activity where you have to complete with the correct tense.

3. Complete dialogs: complete a conversation, filling in the gaps with correct verb tenses, prepositions, auxiliaries.

4. Word order: consists of putting words in the right order to make a sentence.

5. Question writing: students will write a question for each of the statements.

6. Matching: it’s an interesting activity where you’ll have to match two halves to make a sentence.

7. Answer questions: about yourself (practice all tenses, past, simple present or anything else you wish or need to improve)

8. Change from infinitive to past tense: you’ll see a list of verbs and you must change them to the past tense.


1. Students are given a title and pictures. They create a short story on what they think the story is about. Usually warm ups are short paragraphs.

2. Students read the story.

3. There are comprehension questions about the story.

4. Fill in the blanks with verb tenses.

5. Look up words in dictionary.

6. Write a summary about the story.


It is essential for students to have guided instructions.

1. Writing e-mails in English: you’ll see a set of words and expressions that you will have to use and write an email.

2. Writing about your daily routines, where you’ll practice simple present.

3. Writing a story in the past tense: state what happened; you have to use the vocabulary provided.

4. Role plays: a whole lot of fun as it also facilitates interaction and improves speaking skills. A situation is presented and students have to write the dialogs. They act them out afterwards.

Speaking and listening activities are available online, where you can practice pronunciation through repetition, for example.

Source by Susan Thomason

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