ESL speaking activities to improve fluency and comprehension

book of ESL conversation questionsThese ESL speaking activities have the simple aim of getting students to speak openly and freely, with minimal support, in order to achieve their communicative goals. Only in this situation can we really gauge a student’s progress and discover their strengths and weaknesses. On this page, you will find suggestions for speaking exercises ranging from simpler more controlled interactions to wider-ranging free-speaking activities.

ESL conversation questions

Themed sets of ESL conversation questions. Also available as an A4 sized book to keep in your bag.

ESL discussions and presentations

Find someone who…
A mingling activity in which students locate the person on their sheet and engage them in short conversations.

What’s your opinion?
Well suited to the first lesson with a more advanced class. In this mingling activity, students trade opinions cards with their classmates.

Question time 
A simple to set up, group discussion activity where students take it in turns to choose a topic and moderate the discussion.

Old school / new school
A discussion exercise where students compare school life today to that of the past.

The world in 20 years: future predictions
Students use simple future to speculate about developments in different fields.

Show and tell
Students bring in an object that has some meaning to them.

Question of the week
A convenient weekly writing activity with shared texts and clear error correction.

Surveys and interviews

ESL speaking activitiesThese ESL speaking activities are a great way to get your students conversing. When the surveys have been completed have students share their findings with the class. There are several ways to conduct a classroom survey.

First lesson: interview another student
Students brainstorm topics and questions before interviewing their partner and reporting back to class.

Ask the expert
In this speed-dating like speaking activity, students interview each other about their hobbies and interests.

Single question surveys
Some question asking activities for lower level learners.

One on one interviews
Students interview each other about specific topics.

Third person interviews
An interviewing activity in which students practise asking questions in the third person.

2 Replies to “ESL speaking activities to improve fluency and comprehension”

  1. Love this book! I will be taking an ESL teacher training course in a few months. In my present volunteer job, I’ve been asked to teach some English to the staff. They are all beginner to intermediate level. We are in a rural area of a poor country, so there aren’t many resources available, except what I can print out. Your book will help me do some fun conversation classes with them. Thanks for the great ideas!

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