Mohamed Jegham

· 6 mn to read

10 Engaging Speaking Activities for English Learners

​ Learning how to speak is a key component of learning any language that unfortunately can’t be learned by simply reading language resources. So, we prepared 10 activities to help you on this journey. Have fun! ​

Solo activities

Tongue Twisters

​ A tongue-twister is a phrase or sentence that is particularly challenging to pronounce correctly, especially when you try to say them fast. At the same time, they are quite fun and can help you improve your pronunciation skills considerably. A famous example of a Tongue Twister is “Red leather, yellow leather”. Try saying it fast 5 times and see how difficult it is. ​ You can find plenty more Tongue Twisters on this site. ​

My Day Journal

​ At the end of any day, instead of writing in a journal, you can record yourself talking about your day and listen to your recordings to notice improvements in your English as you progress. ​ For this activity, you can create a simple template of questions to answer each day. For example: ​

  • The best thing that happened today
  • An unusual moment during the day
  • What I learned today
  • What would make tomorrow a great day ​

The Mirror Challenge

​ Set aside some time each day to practice speaking while facing the mirror. Put a timer on for three minutes, pick a topic you enjoy talking about, and have a conversation about it with your fictional study partner. The main goals of this speaking exercise are to examine your speech patterns, pay close attention to pronunciation, and attempt to speak in English without pausing or stopping to think. ​ The main focus of this exercise is to identify what kind of mistakes you’re making, the types of words you struggle with, and the different ways you can express yourself. ​

Pair and group conversation activities

Getting to know each other

​ One of the most basic and instrumental activities when it comes to speaking is having to introduce oneself and listening and understanding another person’s introduction. ​ Depending on your level of English, this activity can be very basic or you can make it more advanced. You can increase the difficulty of the activity by adding more elements to speak about such as hobbies, family, food, etc. You can also rotate with other partners and try different ways of introducing yourself. You can find various questions and topics for introduction conversations on this website. ​

Reading a script

​ If your conversation partner is proficient in English then this activity could be ideal for you. It involves using a script to have a conversation with your partner. Make sure that the person talking is not just reading the script but memorizing their lines and reciting them in a proper conversation intonation. The most important aspect of this activity is to have someone who can correct your pronunciation and intonation. You can find multiple conversations on different topics here. ​


​ This activity can be undertaken in pairs. Each person takes one side of the debate, either for or against a proposed statement. I believe this to be one of the most effective activities one can participate in. We are opinionated creatures by nature. Even if your level of English isn’t so advanced, try your best to formulate and deliver arguments that support or oppose the statement. ​ Depending on the English level of the learner, this activity can be done in “easy mode” by having each person prepare some written arguments beforehand. Otherwise, the debate between the partners can be performed rather spontaneously. ​

Online conversational activities

​ There are many platforms, both free and paid, that can help you improve your speaking skills. These online platforms share one thing in common, and that is, they promote the learning of English through conversation. Yet, they all differ in a couple of aspects. ​

Cambly: Subscription payment

​ Cambly is one of the most well-known platforms for English-speaking. The best thing about Cambly is that they provide different bundles for different levels of competence and they provide you with different tutors to practice speaking with. You can choose from basic, intermediate, or advanced conversation topic bundles. ​ Cambly offers different types of subscription methods with discounts for subscribing for 3 months and yearly. Their 12-month subscription is only $130. ​

iTalki: Pay by the lesson

​ iTalki is quite similar to Cambly in the sense that you get to be paired with tutors where you can discuss different topics. However, the main difference is that payment for iTalki is done lesson by lesson. A feature that is very helpful for many who don’t want to commit to a long subscription period. ​ The cost of italki lessons generally ranges from around $8.00 to $40.00 per hour. ​

English Tutors Online: Free / Paid features

​ English Tutors Online (ETO) resembles Cambly and iTalki as it pairs you up with tutors to converse with, however, the biggest difference is that ETO has a larger focus on professional English. Hence, ETO is one of the best platforms if you are looking to learn English to enhance your career. ​ Also, ETO offers paid features and free features. The tutor sessions are through subscriptions or by lessons. Since ETO has a large focus on professional English, its fees are a bit more expensive than the other platforms. One 60-minute class will cost $36. This price goes down to $33 per class if you buy a package of 20 classes. ​ The free feature is the Language Exchange Platform of ETO where you can meet other language learners where you can help each other out and learn from each other. ​

Pengguin: Free / Paid features

​ Pengguin offers daily lessons where people from all over the world practice their English. One major difference between Pengguin and the other platforms is that the bulk of the time is spent speaking with a variety of people and the conversations are guided by professional tutors although it’s free.
​ During the sessions, students are invited to record their conversations and request private feedback on their recordings, either from an AI or a human tutor. Even in the latter case, a 1-hour recording is reduced to only 2 minutes because an AI identifies the relevant mistakes first and presents them to the tutor. Private feedback from a tutor therefore costs as little as $2, and is completely free this summer. ​ Sign up here if you’d like to improve your English with members of the Pengguin community.