“She sells sea shells by the seashore!” “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers!” And the ever-famous, “Toy boat! Toy boat! Toy boat!” Ahh, tongue twisters - we all know ‘em, and we either love ‘em or hate ‘em. But for your ESL students, tongue twisters can provide a break from the repetition of board work - and give them an introduction to some of the silly ways we native speakers play with our language.
Tongue twisters certainly aren’t an essential part of English - and many textbooks just ignore them altogether. So why bring them into your classroom at all? Because they’re fun, of course! They’re a breath of fresh air in pronunciation and grammar practice - and they can even help students distinguish between similar sounds, so their diction becomes clearer and more precise. Plus, they’re great for students to share with their friends.
Whether your class consists of level-one ESL beginners or advanced level-five students, BusyTeacher.org’s 34 tongue twister worksheets are sure to please. From simple exercises with similar-sounding words all the way to English puns and poems, these worksheets will have your students trying their tongue-twisters, cracking up as they stumble, and challenging each other to do better. And that laugh factor makes these worksheets great for warmers and ice-breakers, too.
Some of BusyTeacher.org’s 34 tongue twister worksheets even focus on specific themes, like holidays or certain English letters - which is handy if you’re working through a theme unit. But no matter when in your class you choose to introduce these exercises, they’ll loosen students up, and show them that ESL learning isn’t just all about rigid rules. When you try out some of these tongue twisters yourself, in front of your class, they’ll see that even native speakers can get tangled up in English sometimes.
How, you might ask, did BusyTeacher.org pull together 34 worksheets on tongue twisters for ESL students? It’s all thanks to our worldwide community of ESL teachers, who’ve generously shared their work for free. And by “free” we really do mean “free” - you’re welcome to download, modify, and reproduce every worksheet here as you see fit. All we ask is that if you’ve ever got a worksheet of your own to share, you upload it by clicking the “Submit a worksheet” button at the bottom of this page.
If you’re looking for a place to dive in, you can check out our top ten most popular tongue twister worksheets - or you can use the search function to find some that match your keywords. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can browse our entire collection in thumbnail view - with the help of our special “Quick View” feature, which lets you pop out and preview the first page of every worksheet before you download it. What a time saver!
Where you start is all up to you - so take a look through BusyTeacher.org’s collection of 34 tongue twister worksheets, and see what looks interesting. We guarantee you’ll find something you like - and we guarantee that your ESL students will love it, too!
A tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to articulate properly, and can be used as a type of spoken (or sung) word game. Some tongue-twisters produce results which are humorous (or humorously vulgar) when they are mispronounced, while others simply rely on the confusion and mistakes of the speaker for their amusement value. Tongue-twisters may rely on rapid alternation between similar but distinct phonemes (e.g., s [s] and sh [ʃ]), unfamiliar constructs in loanwords, or other features of a spoken language in order to be difficult to articulate. For example, the following sentence was claimed as "the most difficult of common English-language tongue-twisters" by William Poundstone The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us. This type of tongue-twister was incorporated into a popular song in 1908, with words by British songwriter Terry Sullivan and music by Harry Gifford. It was said to be inspired by the life and work of Mary Anning.