Creating Effective Review Sessions for the Language Classroom

By Jennifer Robertson Montes posted 09-10-2010 06:55


Reviews are an essential part of the student language-learning process.  Every class should begin with a cumulative review of all the material covered in the current unit, and the course should end with a cumulative review before the final assessment.


Students need constant exposure to the content in order to truly master the vocabulary, grammar, and language functions to achieve a higher level of proficiency in all four language skills.  Remember:  REPEAT-REUSE-RECYCLE!! 


Below are some guidelines for creating an effective review session:


  • Begin with a checklist of all the topics covered to date:  language functions, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and culture.
  • Write out the review in advance, checking off the items on your list (above).
  • Create activities that incorporate multiple topics together (grammar, vocabulary, language functions).
  • Be sure to review all the items that students will encounter on the final assessment.
  • Practice the language as it would be experienced in the real world.
  • Do not introduce any NEW language functions, vocabulary, or grammar during the review.
  • Create “open activities” that are appropriate for the language level.  See the Steps to Mastery™ article for more information on open activities.
  • Use activities familiar to students at the beginner level.  Do not introduce complicated activities or games that are completely new and will take a long time to explain.
  • Use a variety of audio and visuals.
  • Do not spend a lot of time on material that students have already mastered; use the time to practice the more challenging topics.
  • Prepare a review handout for students to take home and study before the test.
  • Some suggested review activities include: Jeopardy®, category games, situational role plays with props, and Pictionary®.


Creating effective reviews is just one component of establishing an effective language learning environment for your students.  Look for more articles in the future on this topic at: