Coloring Dictation

Coloring Dictation (or Colouring Dictation if you prefer British English spelling) is a simple activity which is ideal for young learners. It’s fun and easy to set up.


You need to find an outline drawing of a suitable subject for your class. It should have specific areas for coloring such as the picture on this page and how complex the drawing is will depend on the age and abilities of your class.

The next step is to write a set of instructions for colors. These will later be dictated to your class:

  1. The front door handle is black.
  2. The front door is blue.
  3. The bottom left window is green.
  4. The bottom right window is orange.
  5. The top left window is yellow.
  6. The top window is white.
  7. The roof is black.
  8. The chimney is brown.
  9. The walls are gray.
  10. The sky is blue.

Finally, you need to have a finished version of the picture with all the colors. This will be shown to the class so it needs to be big enough.


In the class go over the colors with your students to make sure they know them well in English. Also check they know the difference between LEFT and RIGHT and TOP and BOTTOM. Finally go over the vocabulary for the house: wall, door, window, roof, chimney.

Make sure each student has a copy of the blank picture and the correct coloring pencils/crayons. Explain that they can only color what you will say.

Carefully read out the first statement and allow the class time to color. Then the next and so on. Finally you can compare the students’ efforts with the finished drawing you have.


  • Give the children plenty of time to “translate” what you are saying into what color they should choose and where it should go.
  • They will probably copy each other. This isn’t a problem, however, since there is language transfer going on while they are doing this.
  • Once the class are familiar with the game, post the instructions up on a wall so that the students themselves have to rush up to it, read a line, rush back and tell their group and complete the drawing.
  • For older students, see also: The ESL Art Activity‏‎.

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Posted in Lesson Plans & Activities.

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