Teaching Parts of Speech to ELLs

Teaching Parts of Speech to ELLs

Ideas for Teaching Parts of Speech to English Language Learners

Knowing basic parts of speech can be helpful for English Language Learners. It helps give them structure in their speaking and writing. It is a great way to introduce new vocabulary words and lends itself well to sorting activities. Many language standards in the Common Core cover parts of speech. Here are some strategies for teaching parts of speech.

Highlight parts of speech in different colors

In a reading passage or on a worksheet assign each part of speech students are studying a different color. Then have them highlight them in the text. This is a great way to integrate a grammar lesson with reading. You can use text that students are already familiar with or use a piece of their own writing.

Label pictures

Use a photograph or picture and label all the nouns. Come up with adjectives that describe the photograph. Use adverbs to describe what is happening in the picture. You can give groups of students a picture to label and then combined the responses onto a larger one to display. This is a great writing warm-up. After this grammar exercise student will have a list of descriptive words to use in their writing.

Vocabulary Games

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There are many games that can be used to help teach parts of speech. This includes:

DK Silly Sentences: Each part of speech is a different color. Students create silly sentences using puzzle pieces. There are pictures for the nouns.

Parts of Speech Bingo: Match words used in a sentence with the correct part of speech on the gameboard.

Sentence Shuffle Fun Deck Cards: Unscramble color coded sentences.  Each part of speech is a different color.


Word sorts help students to categorize and remember words. Sorting words into groups of nouns and verbs or person, place, and thing can be a quick warm up and easy way to review or practice parts of speech. This can be done with both words and pictures depending on students language levels.

Coloring Sheets

Combining coloring pages with learning parts of speech allow students to practice vocabulary words in a fun way. Coloring gives them a creative outlet that even older students will enjoy. Read more about using color by code sheets to teach parts of speech

Task Cards 

Task cards are a great tool for learning parts of speech. You can use them to focus on specific areas and break apart information into small chunks. Students can use the task cards independently or work with a partner to answer the questions. Task cards can also be used with game boards. I have a ready-made set of Preposition Task Cards.

preposition task cards

Use books

This series of books uses funny cartoon pictures to illustrate the parts of speech. The books cover Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Verbs, and Prepositions.

Words are Categorical

This series of 8 books by Ruth Heller highlights each part of speech. Beautiful illustrations help students visualize the vocabulary words on each page.

Merry-Go-Round A Book About Nouns
A Cache of Jewels and Other Collective Nouns
Mine, All Mine A Book About Pronouns
Kites Sail High    A Book About Verbs

Many Luscious Lollipops A Book About Adjectives

Up, and Away A Book About Adverbs

Behind the Mask A Book About Prepositions

Fantastic! Wow! And Unreal! A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions

Use songs

Schoolhouse Rock has some fun songs from the 1970s:

Sesame Street has segments that focus on parts of speech.

Maple Leaf Learning has some catchy songs with easy to follow hand movements for prepositions, and another song for adjectives.


You Might Also Like Reading…

Prefixes and Suffixes for ELLs
Prefixes and Suffixes for ELLs
Creating vocabulary folders for Ells
Creating Vocabulary Folders for ELLs
5 ways to use task cards with ELLs
5 ways to use task cards with ELLs

3 thoughts on “Teaching Parts of Speech to ELLs

  1. What a great round up of resources! I have many EALD learners in my classroom where English is their second or third language and these resources are invaluable. Thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! We just had 4 students from Puerto Rico enroll in our school, and they speak no English. Can’t wait to share these ideas with the other teachers!

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