3 Ways to Make English Engaging

English class usually gets a bad rap. Kids tend to think it is boring or its just reading books that nobody likes. But English class can and should be so much more than that!

For elementary aged students, English should be about creating a love of reading in children. Reading, and reading well, helps students use their imagination and creativity to make stories come alive in their minds. So how can educators foster this love of reading and therefore English classes in their students?

Here are 3 easy ways to make English lessons more engaging:
Appeal to the Students

Sounds like a no brainer, right? Many teachers gravitate towards books that have traditionally been taught to their age group. Many of these books are excellent but can become overdone. At that point, the book or lesson loses its pizzazz.

Think about all the English classes you have sat through where you were forced to read some boring book that you had no interest in. It made it so hard not only to read the book but also to complete any assignments related to the book. By finding out genres and topics that your students are interested in, you will be able to hold their attention during English class because they enjoy the lessons.

Some easy ways to discover what students like to read can include giving a simple survey at the beginning of the year or having students do a book tasting.

Change It Up

Any day that the markers and paper come out is a good day in the classroom. Students enjoy the change that writing on chart paper with markers brings. Change also allows students to be more creative.  English traditionally has been more about read this and answer these questions. When creativity and variety can be brought into the lesson, students will be more engaged.
This can include having students work in groups and write on chart paper, you can find or create worksheets that incorporate coloring in some way, even whiteboards and dry erase markers, writing on sticky notes, or reading outdoors.


English and reading is a great platform to teach students to view the world from someone else’s perspective. One-way educators can help encourage this is through group work. Group work allows students time to voice their opinions and ideas and to work on social skills. And speaking and listening skills do fall within English territory.

Collaboration can be quick, like incorporating turn and talks into lesson. It can also be a whole class lesson, having students work together to read and complete an assignment.

Bonus Tip!

Get excited! One of the best ways to keep students engaged and interested in any subject is to show them that you are enthusiastic about what they are about to learn. Elementary age students in particular will match the teacher’s energy level. 

Introduce a lesson or text by telling students what you most enjoyed about it. Or introduce a lesson or text by creating suspense and mystery around what they are about to do. This may include mystery artifact bags or boxes. These bags or boxes have items that are clues for the lesson and students must use them to guess what they are about to work on.

Your Takeaway

The best advice to give is to make sure that lessons never become stagnant. Adding a variety of activities and types of reading in your English class will keep your students coming to you excited about what they are going to be doing that day.

English class should be interesting and provide students with opportunities to be creative and expand their understanding of the world. Don’t be afraid to try new lessons and activities you have never tried before; students love to be guinea pigs and give their opinion and feedback.

​Contributed by a reader of Bitesizedessentials.com

January 2021

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