Zero English

Activities for students with no prior English knowledge

  • Where do you start when your students don’t even know how to say ‘hello’?
  • How can you manage a class of preschool students who are not familiar with the routines of a classroom?
  • How can you communicate when students don’t speak a word of your language, and you don’t speak a word of theirs?

On this page you’ll find resources for teaching very young students, beginning with the absolute basics – how to gain the attention of the class, and how to begin communicating with them. Click the thumbnails for more information.

All about vowels – activities and a song for young learners.

Teach your young students how A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y are used in English words through short fun games and a catchy song.

Use Angry Birds to teach adjective and noun use

A really easy lesson to get beginner students combining adjectives and nouns.


Teach your very young students this most important word

Environmental print

A super-easy activity that helps young children to open their eyes to the words around them

Names 1

Basic activities to help you learn the students’ names, and to help students to become comfortable with saying their names, and seeing their names written in English. A good starter lesson for very young students.

Names 2

Basic activities to help young children to write their name in English


Very basic activities to teach ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’

Paper People

A craft activity to teach introductions

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Simple activities to accompany this familiar song

Thirsty Elephant

A fun rhyme, with activities to build confidence in speaking and pronunciation of ‘th’ and’sh’

Music Man

Activities to accompany the song ‘I am the music man’

Basic Shapes

Easy activities to practice shape vocabulary

Elmer’s Colors

Use the story of Elmer by David McKee to teach children about color vocabulary. Materials for several lessons.

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