Level Up Your English Learning: The Power of Supplementary Material in ELT!

Are you looking for fun and engaging activities to enrich your curriculum? No? Then, you most certainly should!

Did you know that supplementary materials play a crucial role in enhancing the curriculum and making the ELT classrooms more effective? What is their importance and use in the learning process? Well, let us dive deeper into it.

Enhancing the Curriculum: There is a plethora of supplementary materials to choose from. From simple textbooks, workbooks and audio recordings to even interactive language games, like “word chain”, “Pictionary”, “hangman”, “bingo” and the list keeps going on. These materials provide extra practice, examples and explanations that reinforce the concepts taught in the curriculum.

  • Catering to diverse learning needs: Since every student is unique with unique learning needs and preferences, these materials offer a range of resources that cater to different learning styles, abilities and interests. Take visual learners, for example; they can benefit from using flashcards or visual aids. On the other hand, auditory learners may prefer listening to audio recordings. By incorporating supplementary materials, teachers can surely create a more inclusive and personalized learning environment.
  • Promoting engagement and motivation: By introducing new topics, themes and real-world contexts that capture students’ interest, the learning experience can become more motivating and engaging. For instance, using authentic materials, like newspaper articles or videos, exposes students to real language use and culture aspects. This relevance and authenticity can spark curiosity and increase students’ willingness to learn more. In fact, keeping students motivated and engaged is crucial for successful language learning. Supplementary materials bring freshness and variety to the classroom, making the whole learning experience more enjoyable. For example, using multimedia resources like podcasts, songs and online games can make language learning more interactive and fun. Thus, teachers can create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment that motivates students to actively participate and develop their language skills.

  • Fostering language skills development: They offer the chance for students to practice and develop their language skills, by providing additional exercises and activities that focus on specific language areas in grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening and speaking. Teachers can in fact reinforce language concepts, provide extra practice and encourage their students to use the language in various meaningful ways.
  • Encouraging critical thinking and creativity: By promoting critical thinking, problem- solving and creativity, the materials used in ELT classrooms encourage students to analyze, evaluate and apply their skills in different contexts. Imagine, using role-plays or group discussions based on real-life scenarios. Wouldn’t that help students develop their communication and critical thinking skills?

  • Supporting cultural awareness and global competence: Students grab the opportunity to explore diverse topics, traditions, perspectives as they can be exposed to different cultures and global issues. This very exposure fosters cultural awareness, empathy and a broader understanding of the world, preparing students to be global citizens.
  • Reinforcing the curriculum: By using supplementary materials, teachers get to enrich and reinforce the concepts and language skills taught in the curriculum. The students are provided with additional practice exercises, worksheets and activities that allow them to consolidate what they have learned. They are also offered perspectives and formats that cater to various learning styles and are helped to solidify their deeper understanding.
  • Diversifying: As today’s ELT classrooms are diverse, with students from different backgrounds and learning abilities, the supplementary materials offer a wide range of resources that cater to these exact needs. As already mentioned, the students get exposed to materials that make use of real-world language, such as newspapers and magazines. This very exposure enhances their language proficiency and cultural awareness plus allowing teachers to tailor their lessons to meet individual student needs in speaking, writing and listening.

What are some examples of supplementary materials in ELT classrooms?

  • Authentic Texts: These can include newspaper articles, magazine excerpts, short stories and poems that expose students to real-life language use and cultural aspects.
  • Visual Aids: Flashcards, posters, charts and infographics can help illustrate vocabulary, grammar structures and concepts making them more memorable for students.
  • Audio Recordings: Listening materials such as dialogues, podcasts, songs and recorded interviews provide opportunities for students to improve their listening skills and expose them to different accents and speech patterns.
  • Online Resources: Websites, apps and online platforms offer a wide range of interactive activities, quizzes, videos and games that can supplement classroom instruction and provide additional practice.
  • Authentic Videos: Using videos, movies, documentaries or TV shows in the target language can help students improve their listening comprehension, vocabulary and cultural understanding.
  • Reader’s Theater Scripts: These scripts allow students to practice reading aloud, improve pronunciation and develop fluency by performing short plays or dialogues.
  • Games and Puzzles: Engaging language game, puzzles and board games can make learning fun and interactive while reinforcing vocabulary, grammar and language skills.

Here are a few examples:

  • Word Chain: Start a word and each player takes turns saying a word that starts with the last letter of the previous word. Aim: practice vocabulary and spelling.
  • Taboo: One player has to describe a word without using certain words, while the others try to guess what the word is. Aim: expand vocabulary and practice communication skills.
  • Pictionary: Players take turns drawing a word or phrase while the others try to guess. Aim: practice vocabulary and creativity.
  • Bingo: Create bingo cards with words or phrases and players mark off the words as they are called out. Aim: practice vocabulary and listening skills.

All these games are just a starting point. There are definitely many variations and adaptations to games and generally to the supplementary materials a teacher can use in their classroom. The key is to make the learning process enjoyable and interactive, while bonding and practicing the knowledge acquired. It is totally worth the effort, isn’t it?


  • Anna Kefalidi

    Language School Owner, English/ French Tutor, BA English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Anna Kefalidi

Anna Kefalidi

Language School Owner, English/ French Tutor, BA English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens