Pronunciation games

Pronunciation games

Teaching tip

The entries in the dictionary at the back of the 'Network' books include the pronunciation of each word in the phonemic script. Help your students to become familiar with this script with some easy and fun games. It will help them use their own dictionaries independently and make them feel more confident when saying a new word.


We’ve included a couple of games in this month’s tip to help you and your students have fun with pronunciation. They can be used from A1 level and adapted for more advanced students. All good dictionaries have a pronunciation guide, which give examples of sounds in normally written words. Use these guides when you are creating the games using the phonemic script.


The sounds of single letters

Help your students remember how to say individual letters of the alphabet by getting them to think of words and abbreviations they already know: e.g. email, UK, CIA, YMCA, JFK, ebay, i-pod. The sounds which are underlined are the ones to concentrate on.

Find your phonemic partner

Write a word from the previous lesson on a piece of card and the phonetic spelling of that word on another card. Repeat with other words from the previous lesson until you have as many cards as students in your class. Give out the cards so that some students have words written in normal script and some in phonemic script. Students find their partners by saying the sounds out loud and finding out whose word they have.

Crossword (adapted from Mark Hancock’s Pronunciation Games CUP)

Choose some simple words from the previous lesson. Write them in their phonemic script (your dictionary should help you). Write the phonemic spellings of the words with their relevant number from the crossword. The students work out which word is meant by reading the phonemic spelling and write the word in normal script in the crossword. If possible, it’s nice to have another word formed downwards in the crossword.

Here is an example:


1. /blæk/
2. /bra?n/
3. /jel??/
4. /?r?n?/
5. /blu:/
6. /red/

The completed crossword would look like this:

1. b l a c k        
2.   b r o w n      
3.   y e l l o w    
4.       o r a n g e
5.   b l u e        
6.       r e d      

Minimal pairs

Choose two sounds which students mix up (e.g. /e/ and /æ/) and write four pairs of words on the board which only have these sounds different (e.g. men/man, bet/bat, met/mat, ten/tan). Call out one of the words and ask the students to choose which one it is from the board. They write it down. Call out some other words and ask the students to write them down. Check the answers in class. This can also be done as a team activity.

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