ESL Basics

Much of what even advanced students learn is built on basic concepts, so here are some tricks to help your students get those concepts right from the very start.

 
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level: ELEMENTARY

 
 

Students should already be familiar with:

subject pronouns // plurals // helping verbs // past verbs // positive, negative, and question forms

Check out our video guide for tips.

 

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3rd-Person 's'

It may be common for students to use the 3rd-person 's' when they don't need it, or to drop it when it is needed.

To help them, we've created the ONE RED 'S' rule.

 
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Printout

poster of 1 Red 'S' rule

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: The rule applies only to the present simple tense.

 
 

Past Basic

If your students are saying or writing things like "she didn't went" or "do you played", then what they need is the ONE BLUE WORD rule.

The rules applies to all past tenses.

 
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Printouts

irregular verbs for elementary learners

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: with multiple verb phrases, apply the rule to each.

 
 

Yes/No Questions and Short Answers

Instead of creating yes/no questions from scratch, learners should take affirmative sentences and alter them.  It only takes 1 step!

 
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Printouts

overview of helping verbs

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Slideshow

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Insider Notes

e.g.: need 2 words after yes/no; can't say "Yes, I'm."

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Related Teacher Tip

Writing with Colors:  In these videos, we often make our point with colors.  We encourage students to continue using those colors.  Doing so can help their comprehension and memory.

Read the whole article.