Great Six Games to Teach Literature


Teachers and students sometimes find the teaching learning process of literature to be tedious and boring. Games are a great way to break the shackles and add fun and excitement to the lessons. You can adapt these games according to the situations in the lesson. I have tried them with my students and they found it extremely interesting. Hope these would work with your students too.  

Recently I have participated in a workshop of literature, which was conducted by Mr. Indunil Wannekorala, who is a great orator and influential teacher. There, he introduced some interesting games to teach certain aspects of literature. I think, he won’t mind if I share them with the teachers and students who learn literature.   


Drawing Vocabulary

This is rather a group work than a game. Teacher can give a set of words related to a selected genre to teach special vocabulary in it. First, you can select a set of specified words you need to teach to your students. Optionally, you can ask the students to refer to the dictionary to get the exact meaning of the word if they want and in groups, ask the students to draw a picture integrating all the vocabulary items given. You can instruct the students to draw a meaningful picture which gives a message. By doing this, students learn the different meanings of the words perfectly and they reach the higher level skills of learning of literature showcasing their creativity.


Running Dictation

Running dictation is a very common language game. We can adapt it to help the students to memorize ‘golden quotations’ in literary texts which most of the times student find it hard to. This can be done in pairs or groups. There should be a runner and note takers. The runner has to run to a location and memorize the quotation given and run back to the note takers of dictation, the takers have to write down the quotation brought by the runner. The team accurately complete the task first will be the winners.


Games to teach characters and characterization

This is a good way to break the monotony in the classroom. It is fun and make the student speak; further, these actively engage the students in the lesson making them more aware about characters in genre as well as understand about the character better. The games like ‘back to the board’, ‘amnesia’ and ‘naught and crosses’ can be such games. Of course, they can be adapted to teach other aspects like themes, techniques and more in teaching of literature.


Back to the board

Teacher can ask one student to come to the board and turn towards the classroom, instruct him or her not to look at the board. You can write something related to a genre like a character, quotation, characterization or even paste a picture related to the genre: there is no leap and bound for this task, use your creativity. Now, let the other students to give clues about what is on the board, encourage the students to describe things rather giving direct clues. The person in the front can keep on guessing until he or she gets it correct. This is fun and whole class will join and it is a good ice-breaker.



This is a bit similar to the earlier activity. Take one student to the front and tell the others that he has Amnesia – a forgetting illness; because of this he cannot remember anything about him or her. He or she is going to ask about himself or herself to recollect who he or she is. Teacher can take a character from a genre and pin it to his or her collar. After showing it to the class, you can ask the ‘sick’ student to ask questions about him or her like whether I am a man or woman, where I am from, what are my qualities, appearance…etc. This fun activity helps the learner to understand about the character and its characterization. You can use this at any stage of the lesson.


Noughts and crosses


Noughts and crosses is similar to the board game ‘Noughts and Crosses.’ There should be two teams, one who completes consecutive three noughts or crosses horizontally, vertically or diagonally will be the winners. To increase the competition, teacher can increase the size of the board. This can be done as a whole class activity too. Teacher can adapt this to teach figure of speech, characters, themes…etc. - according to the lesson you teach.

You can per-prepare the board or use the green board to draw the cages. In each cell, you can write something like characters according to the purpose of your activity. The students have to take turns and tell something about the character and ‘own’ the cage by marking it using either a nought or a cross. Encourage students to block the cages not giving others opportunity to win easily. This is fun and the students will be actively participating in it. I have tested myself, result guaranteed.


Cross over stories

Cross over stories is great activity for a bit advanced learners. The students have to take incidents from several prose and create another brand-new story. This can be done as a group work or an individual work according to the size of the class. You can instruct students to mix up characters and incidents from the prose in the syllabus to create a new story. Encourage students to build up a humorous story, which will be fun and students will really enjoy themselves. This is great because students achieve higher level of language competencies as well as develop their creativity without their knowledge. At the end of writing you can give the chances for students to present their story.


We have written another post on some simple games which you can use in the classroom while teaching literature. You can read it here.


These games and group works are adaptable according to the teaching learning situations which will break the boredom of the lesson and students will love learning literature while actively engaging in the lessons. Try them and leave a comment about your experience in our comment section.

Credit should go to Mr. Indunil for introducing such wonderful games. Share the post if you find this is useful to others.  




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