Pronounce Your Phone Number

Image of red corded phone

Purpose:  To have students gain experience differentiating between closely related sounds that impact their English pronunciation through producing minimal pairs. A minimal pair is a pair of words that differ only by one sound that is in the same position of each word. For example, ship/sheep or bet/bed.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  Five minimal pairs that contain sounds that the students struggle with producing. Examples:

b/p                                         s/sh                                       i/ee

ban/pan                                class/clash                             sit/seat

cab/cap                                 shoe/sue                               live/leave

bump/pump                         shock/sock                            rich/reach

back/pack                             ship/sip                                 bid/bead

cub/cup                                sheet/seat                             it/eat



1.       Write the two sounds that appear in the minimal pairs on the board and have the students practice producing those sounds. Explain and demonstrate how the mouth moves to form the sound. Have students practice until they are able to accurately produce the two sounds.

2.       Write the five minimal pairs on the board and read through them one at a time. Have the students repeat each of the words.

3.       Point randomly at different words, and have the class say the words until you are satisfied that they can produce the sounds in them accurately.

4.       Write the numbers 0-9 in front of each of the words.













5.       Call out words, and have the students say the number that corresponds with the word that you said. For example, if you say “pump”, the class should call out “5”.

6.       Tell the students that you are going to give them your phone number and that it is their job to record it. Say the words that correspond with the numbers in your phone number (or a random phone number), and the students write the numbers down in their notebooks. After you have shared your phone number, have the class read the numbers back to you so that you can check their accuracy.

7.       Divide the class into partners. One person says the words that correspond to their phone number to their partner, while their partner records the numbers. Once the phone number has been given, the students should check for accuracy.

8.       The partners reverse roles and the second student shares their phone number by saying the corresponding words.

Blog Category: