Contents of the MN Literacy Council's ESL Pull-Out Phonics Kit

If you are looking for small group or one-to-one activity ideas for adult ESL learners, take a minute to explore the four different ESL pull-out kits. The kits take time off of teacher and tutor preparation by providing volunteers with complete activity instructions and materials for small-group and one-on-one instruction in four different areas: reading, phonics, pronunciation, and citizenship. The kits also provide structured support to volunteers which helps to develop their confidence, build independence and strengthen their teaching skills.

three words with large and small circles behind them to show the stress patterns

Purpose:  To help learners become familiar with the word stress patterns of their vocabulary words through using a visual support

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None


Teacher and adult ESL learner looking into a handheld mirror

The Minnesota Literacy Council has produced four new videos demonstrating how to teach pronunciation in the adult ESL classroom. Watch the videos to gain teaching techniques and discover activity ideas that can be integrated into regular ESL classes.

hands in work gloves holding a trowel and building a brick wall

Purpose:  Saying final consonants and particularly final consonant clusters can be very difficult for learners who are not used to words ending in consonants. Oftentimes those learners struggle to hear the consonants because they are not familiar with those sound patterns. Starting with the sounds at the end of the word can make it much easier for learners to produce final consonants as they build onto them.

Preparation Time:  none

Materials Needed:  Vocabulary words from weekly unit


Scrabble tiles spelling the word pause

Purpose:  To practice noticing and using thought groups. Thought groups are when speakers break their sentences into chunks by pausing after phrases or to add emphasis to their speaking. Using thought groups in speech makes it easier for the listener to understand the speaker’s message.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  Copies of a reading text


three words followed by dots representing their stress patterns

Purpose:  Improves pronunciation and provides practice identifying word stress patterns in new vocabulary, and helps learners to focus on the most critical words in a message.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  Copies of the Word Stress Chart for each learner, reading text


Green grid with examples of pronunciation of -ed endings

Purpose:  To help learners correctly pronounce the final –ed at the end of past tense regular verbs.

Preparation Time:  15 mins

Materials Needed:  Class copies of Pronunciation of Past Tense Regular Verbs handout, a list of past tense regular verbs that the learners are familiar with (e.g. walk, stop, wash, clean, want, etc.

blue outline of a hand

Purpose:  To help students practice listening for, identifying, and producing final consonant sounds in order to develop their English intelligibility.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A list of vocabulary words that end in consonant sounds and/or consonant clusters (e.g. math, question, health, teacher, art, student, assignment, homework, lunch, board) and sets of cards with final consonants and/or consonant blends from the vocabulary words written on them (e.g. n,  r, rt, nt, rk, rd, ch, th)

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:

rubber band ball

Purpose: The role of stress in pronouncing English is different than most other languages.  This activity can be used to both demonstrate and practice this key aspect of pronunciation.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials: one rubber band for demonstrating; a class set of rubber bands for practice; a list of vocabulary words or valuable sentences that fit with the lesson topic



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