Most of us hate the junk mail that clutters up our mailboxes – all of those pamphlets, brochures and flyers for companies and services we are not interested in. But wait! Don’t throw them away! Put them to good use in your ESL class.
Brochures, flyers and all forms of advertisement offer great, real information that your students can practice with. Here are 7 fabulous activities you can try with your class:
7 Creative ESL Activities with Brochures and Flyers
What are your hours?
Gather plenty of library, bank, car rental agency, museum, travel agency, etc…brochures. Use any brochure where the hours of business are clearly visible. Give a student a museum brochure, for example, and tell them they work in the museum. Another student calls the museum and asks about hours. You can have several role plays with as many places/brochures as you like. This is also great way to review the days of the week.
Supermarket flyers are awesome materials for an ESL class. They come filled with pictures. Give your students several of these and have them cut out all of the foods. When they’re done, all of the pictures are placed in one big pile. Give your students a large sheet of poster board. Tell them they must first sort the foods into different groups: dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, cereals, etc…Then they must glue the different groups onto the poster board. You may also teach them about the food pyramid and have them illustrate it with their pictures.
My Dream Destination
Present your students with a variety of travel brochures. Talk about each of the destinations. What’s it like there? What activities can you do there? What’s the weather like this time of year? Is it expensive to travel there? Is it far? Have each student choose one of the destinations and write about why they would like to travel there.
A Medical Condition
Try to get several copies of the same brochure from a doctor’s office. The brochure can be about any medical condition or health issue. Some really good ones are the “How to Prevent….” type. Say you have a brochure for “How to Prevent Tooth Decay”. Introduce the topic with warm up questions: How often do you brush your teeth? Do you brush your teeth after every meal? Then have students read the brochures individually or in pairs. Give them some comprehension questions to answer. End the activity by asking what they’ve learned about tooth decay.
Keep in mind that although medical topics may be hard for some ESL students to understand, medical brochures are written in a very simple, clear language that anyone can understand. They are much better sources of information for ESL students and make better reading material than medical books or encyclopedias.
How do I get there?
Gather different types of brochures that include a map. Students study the maps and take turns asking for and giving directions.
Which brochure should I read?
Present your students with different types of brochures for a variety of businesses. Give them enough time to peruse each and get a general idea of what each company does. Present them with a situation: I need to open a bank account. Which brochure should I read? A student chooses the bank brochure for you and scans the information to answer some questions from you: Where is the bank located? What are its hours? You may easily target your questions to your students’ level.
Planning a Social Activity
Try to get some flyers for cultural activities that may include theater, movies and concerts. Students make plans to go out. First, they must agree on what they will see or do. Then they must arrange the date and time, say who else is coming, and whether they’ll be doing anything afterwards like going out to dinner.
For those ESL teachers who may not be living in an English-speaking country and may not have access to brochures in English, some websites have printable brochures (Google “printable brochure” and you’ll find some, like this one for Ashegon Lake Resort). Also, most travel agencies or tourist information offices have brochures in English. Pool resources! Ask colleagues who travel abroad to bring you some!
Brochures and flyers offer a tremendous wealth of information: rates, prices, contact info, hours, cultural facts, etc… Some brochures may not be appropriate for all levels but you can always target the information you need like addresses and phone numbers, hours, etc…
There are also great brochures and flyers for children. The variety available is astounding! They’re everywhere! Once you start using them in class, you’ll never throw away another flyer again!
There is a saying that goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Here at BusyTeacher.org, we say, “When people give you flyers, use them in your ESL class!” You will also be making a positive contribution to the environment by keeping more paper out of the trash.
Don’t you just love our “What You Can Do with…” series? You‘ll find more in our ESL Essentials Section!