The Great Verb Game

M. M. Oleinek

ELI Publishing (2018)

ISBN:9788881483105 

The Great Verb Game comes in an attractive and sturdy box and contains 100 verb cards, three collapsible dice for tense,personal pronouns and sentence type, a teachers’ booklet and a verb table, and is a great resource for young learners of English levels A2-B1. Oleink has also produced this game in several other languages, so all the games contain the same contents for the purpose of developing and improving the learners’ use and knowledge of verbs in different tenses. 

Not only is this engaging resource suitable for younger students who are just starting to learn a new language, it could also be useful for anyone who wishes to develop and better their understanding of this tricky aspect of language learning. The premise of the games is simple yet effective and it is great for students to use with their teachers in class or self-study at home with parents’ help thanks to the verb tables included in the teachers’ handbook. Although delicate, I really recommend taking the time to read through it because not only are there ideas for games, but there are also examples that you can use with your students to help explain the meaning of words and give context to the learner to aid understanding. 

That said, the explanations are short and condensed, therefore self-study students and parents might struggle to comprehend everything without an `expert` present to further explain some of the complexities of verb tenses. There is also a lot of pre-teaching that must be done in order for learners to fully understand the technical terminology and correctly use the different tenses. Tip: I made simpler instruction cards based on those from the handbook to use with my own students.

As for the playing cards, they are brightly coloured and animated with attractive images and words which allow for emerging readers, and those who are yet to master the written language, to practice their reading skills, but most of all they are perfect for all levels of English language acquisition and learning styles! What’s more, they are compact so you can use them anywhere and everywhere, are sturdy enough for use with even the youngest of learner, not to mention easily adaptable should you have any other ideas of your own. 

The box also contains two dice that can be use alone, together or not at all depending on the game being played. When used correctly, they can really push the learner to use different commands of the English language that they know. Due to the compactness of the game, however, the dice come flat-packed and therefore need to be constructed and folded away again, which is fine if you teach in one classroom only, but if you are on the move a lot, they risk becoming damaged if not carefully looked after. That said, my dice have survived many lessons already, even with small hands squashing them!

To summarise, The Great Verb Game will be enjoyable and hugely beneficial for young learners and I highly recommend it to any teacher who wants a new and exciting way to engage their students with verbs. It is easy to use, will help develop and solidify learning at all levels and it definitely does what it says on the box - Great games all about verbs!

Hannah Partington

Kids Residence Bilingual Preschool, Rüschlikon