Telephone number pronunciation

This activity practises discrete vowel sounds. It practises both speaking and listening skills. It works well in pairs or in groups and usually generates lots of fun.

Derek Spafford

You need to print out one copy of the worksheet for each student. You can download the worksheet below. You may need to ask learners to make up telephone numbers if they are not comfortable in giving out their real numbers to their classmates or if they don't have a telephone. It can be adapted to include other sounds, minimal pairs or stress patterns.


  • Draw the face of a mobile telephone on the board.
  • Elicit the numbers and then dictate a number to the students.
  • One by one, erase the numbers and replace them with the words on the worksheet, drill the pronunciation as you do this.
  • Dictate another number to the students this time saying the words and not the numbers.
  • Students then work together as a class, in groups or in pairs and repeat the procedure with their own telephone numbers.
  • If they have given their real numbers, you could get the students to actually phone the number and check.


To practise scan reading skills.

  • Give out a classifieds section of a newspaper.
  • Students choose a number and dictate it using the procedure above.
  • Students then scan the newspaper page to find the corresponding classified and either write it on the board or shout it out. This could be done as a team game.
Language Level


Submitted by Alberto Yagi on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 03:04


This material will make my students familiar with vowel sounds. It is a great idea. It could even be used for other sounds and patterns. Thanks!

Submitted by M. Junaidi Marzuki on Sat, 06/25/2011 - 02:56


I love it. it make me easy to understand English native speaker, especially in listening

Submitted by praveentata on Sun, 09/29/2013 - 17:50


Hi, I take classes to teach English to the employees in my Company. I am confused how to teach them. I correct them every time they use "Was" with past actions like "Slept", "Learnt". Like I was slept or I was learnt. I mean they are confused when to use "Was: with 3rd form of verb. I cannot correct them every time. I want to teach them the correct way. I know how to use it but don't know how to teach it.Please help me. Thanks in advance. Praveen.

Submitted by Lesly Perez on Tue, 10/01/2013 - 21:30


Hi, you may explain that "was" is only the past tense of "is" (verb BE) and every verb has its own past tense. "Was" can also be followed by another verb, indeed: the "ing" form (here you can explain the present continuous) and the past participle of the verb, (here you can explain the passive voice). I hope I have been of some help.

Submitted by praveentata on Sat, 10/12/2013 - 13:35


Thanks for the suggestion. And I am extremely sorry for the late reply. I was very busy during the last few days. Can you help me a bit more and help in finding some exercises or plays through which I can teach them in a better way. It would be grateful of you if you can do that. Thanks, Praveen Tata.

Submitted by Aryongzhu on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 05:36


Pretty interesting. I could apply this to my teaching so students might not feel bored and also have a chance to let them use their brain more often.  

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