Activities for Practice: Songs

(excerpted and adapted from Tutoring ESL: A Handbook for Volunteers)

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Purpose: Practice rhythm, pronunciation, vocabulary; convey cultural information:

Materials: Songbook, tape recorder and cassette, instrument (all optional).


Some students enjoy singing. Make sure yours is one of them before you spend too much time on these activities!

Songs are a good way to relax, practice pronunciation, and express emotions. They can serve as a code for problem-posing, or a supplement for conversation or story activities.

You can present the song by singing it to your student or having her listen to a tape. Encourage her to sing along—perhaps phrase by phrase, then a whole verse. Emphasize any intonation or emotion within the song—that will make the singing more fun and the language more memorable.

Teach vocabulary and use props as needed.

Ask comprehension questions.

Use the same song for at least several sessions so that the student has a chance to become familiar with the song and have fun with it.


The Fireside Book of Folk Songs and the Wee Sing series are good resources.

From Tutoring ESL: A Handbook for Volunteers. Reproduced with permission from the publisher, Tacoma Community House Training Project, Tacoma, WA 98405.

Excerpted and adapted, with permission, by