TEFL.net : TEFL Book Reviews : Young Learners

Young Learners

Review ~ The Roles of Language in CLIL
Reviewed Apr 2013 by Robert Lowe
The Roles of Language in CLIL

The Roles of Language in CLIL

Content and Language Integrated Learning (“CLIL” for short) is currently an area which is arousing much interest among ELT researchers and practitioners. Building on strong communicative approaches such as task-based language teaching, CLIL classes combine the teaching of content with the learning of a language with a focus either more on the former or the latter, depending on the context and course. As the amount of research into CLIL grows and as more teachers find themselves teaching using the method, a study into how language is manifested and can be exploited for learning opportunities in in the CLIL classroom would seem a timely addition to the professional literature. The Roles of Language in CLIL has been written to fill that position.
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ Macmillan Factual Readers
Reviewed Apr 2013 by Stephen Case
Macmillan Factual Readers

Macmillan Factual Readers

For the most part, graded readers need to be level-appropriate, well written and, most importantly, interesting. Macmillan’s new series of Factual Readers for young learners match all of these requirements. The 40 book series is divided into six levels covering the five topics of natural science, history, people, wildlife and transport. Full of pictures, tables and diagrams that bring the topics to life, these books offer a good alternative to the plethora of narrative-based readers that usually fill most extensive reading libraries.

The presentation of these books is very similar to what one would find in books for young native English speakers like Guinness World Records books or a Time for Kids Almanac. The presentation of information is bold, clear and well illustrated. For kids interested in general knowledge and unusual facts (as I was when I was a kid) they are perfect. While some of the lower levels may be by necessity rather basic, there are still some wonderful little bits of trivia for kids to digest. The pictures often raise questions which motivate the kids to read and find out what they are about.
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ Penguin Disney Kids Readers
Reviewed Oct 2012 by Clare Welch
Penguin Disney Kids Readers

Penguin Disney Kids Readers

This is a fantastic series of readers. I love them. However, let me continue this review in a more constructive light …

There are 23 books in the series and I feel they provide a nice mixture of traditional fairytales (Cinderella, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, etc) and more modern film samples (Toy Story, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, etc). These book are undoubtedly catering to the interests and enthusiasms of YLs (young learners) today and the bright visuals and links to popular films should ensure these readers are a hit with students.

There are six levels, offering a path of progression from the very start of learning English to entry to CEF A1++ and I felt the language used in the stories at each level corresponded well to student ability. There are 14-36 pages of story, depending on level. If anything, the stories are so long by L6 that maintaining children’s interest while reading over a series of classes could be challenging.
Read on →

Add Comment

CD Review ~ Super Simple Songs
Reviewed Jul 2012 by Alex Case
Super Simple Songs

Super Simple Songs

Super Simple Songs consists of three CDs, available separately, which have twenty or so action songs each. Most of the songs are original or adapted from their traditional versions to make them super simple- exactly as their name would suggest! While having “Great for ESL!” written on their covers might make you think they are just adaptable for our kinds of classes, I’m guessing from how well they work and the fact that they come from Japan that they were actually designed for EFL classes of two to eight year olds and the publishers are just trying to expand their appeal outside that limited market. Having said that, my own English-speaking daughter loves some of the songs and The Bath Song (CD 1) has become part of our evening routine.
Read on →

1 Comment »

Review ~ Grammar
Reviewed Feb 2012 by John Grant
Grammar

Grammar One (part of the Oxford "Grammar" series for children)

The Grammar series of student books from Oxford neatly deals with the thorny issue of how to teach grammar to young learners in a communicative way. The series can be used as class books to prepare for the Cambridge ESOL Young Learners English Tests or as supplemental material to illustrate a specific grammar point. It all begins with Grammar Starter and Grammar One, which correspond with the Starter exam and then towards Movers. Grammar Two prepares young learners for the Movers tests and on towards Flyers. Finally the last of the series is Grammar Three, which works on the Flyers test and beyond. So you can use these as the main exam preparation book for your young learner classes for many different levels and grades.

Each book covers around twenty distinct grammar items that relate to the appropriate Cambridge exam. The item is presented in a short text or written dialogue to illustrate the meaning. The grammar explanation is on
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ English for the Australian Curriculum Book 1
Reviewed Jan 2012 by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi
English for the Australian Curriculum Book 1

English for the Australian Curriculum Book 1

English for the Australian Curriculum (Book 1) is a new textbook aimed at teaching English and literacy in an Australian context for junior secondary (Junior High School), but I decided to try it in two of my university EFL classes in Japan where students were in their 3rd and 4th year of English study.

At first glance it is very colorful and glossy and its layout is well constructed and easy to navigate, although it is a little big and heavy to carry. The text begins with an informative Contents page, followed by a Foreword from the editors, information about the authors and also advice on how to use the book. The textbook itself is divided into 7 chapters which are color-coded, making it easy to access. Their titles are My Story Our Stories, Poetry Activated, Getting Animated: Genre and Narrative in Animated Films, Ghosts, Ghouls and Doppelgangers: Exploring Gothic Horror Stories, Fairytales Revamped, Meanwhile Somewhere Else: Three Films from Iran, and Dream On: Storytelling, Reality and Identity.
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ English in Mind
Reviewed Dec 2011 by Belinda Molnar
English in Mind

English in Mind

English in Mind (Second Edition) is a course that the publishers claim is fresh and inspiring, especially designed to motivate teenagers, with 100% up-to-date content and extra attention on developing fluency. It has a Student’s Book DVD-ROM that contain games, extra exercises and video dramas featuring the photostory characters. The photostories also have a “videoke” function for students to record themselves taking part in the dialogue.

The books are level 3 which is B1 council of Europe level. They are standard A4 in size with a purple jacket. Inside, the student book is divided into 14 sections, with each one covering a different aspect of grammar, based around different topics. The first section is a recap of tenses previously
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ Primary iDictionary 2
Reviewed Nov 2011 by David Dodgson
Primary iDictionary 2

Primary iDictionary 2

The Primary iDictionary 2 is an interactive picture dictionary CD-ROM published by Cambridge. It is designed for primary school aged learners of English with the vocabulary being suitable for children preparing for the Cambridge Movers exam.

The program contains over 300 words divided into 14 vocabulary topics ranging from animals to weather, as well as language-focused units on things like adjectives and past simple forms. In each topic, the vocabulary is presented via images with the accompanying word. The pronunciation of each word can also be listened to, as can the spelling of the word.

Each unit also contains a song, a story and a game, all of which draw on the vocabulary that is presented. The songs can be listened to with the lyrics or without, or in the ‘karaoke’ mode that allows the child to sing along. There are 4 different types of game: a drag and drop game in which words are matched to pictures; a drag and drop game in which items are added to a picture based on an audio description; a listen and match game in which a description of an item or action is listened to before choosing the corresponding image; and a memory card game in which matching pairs of cards need to be found.
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ Macmillan Children’s Readers
Reviewed Jul 2011 by Clare Welch
Macmillan Children’s Readers

Macmillan Children’s Readers

These readers are described as being for ages 6-12, from Beginner to Pre-Intermediate level and I reviewed 6 readers from levels 1-4.

First flicking through these readers I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of pictures and details which had gone into the books. They are beautifully illustrated and a wide range of kids will appreciate the stories and be drawn in.

What really adds to the stories are the activities at the back of the book, practising the language covered in the reader. Another excellent factor is the picture dictionary, also at the end of each book.

Levels 1 and 2 have a short simple story to work from. The two books I reviewed were Hide and Seek and The Fancy Dress Competition. These are fun topics which would open up a range of extension activities for the classroom, using the readers as a basis.
Read on →

Add Comment

Review ~ Kid’s Box 2
Reviewed Apr 2009 by Kaithe Greene

Like many other good young learner courses this book takes us through the basic language you would expect; colours, family, numbers and alphabet, classroom and household vocabulary, prepositions of place, food, animals, clothes, hobbies and sports. The great thing about this is that the pages are so well designed, with the target language foregrounded as colourful illustrations, that the language is really attractive rather than looking like
Read on →

Add Comment

Uncovering CLIL
Reviewed Dec 2008 by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi

Full title: Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning in Bilingual and Multilingual Education
Authors:
Peeter Mehisto, David Marsh and Maria Jesus Frigols.
Publisher: MacMillan

Uncovering CLIL appears to be a relatively simple book with a very simple layout at first glance but it is in actual fact rich in content. It is divided into eight chapters in a very logical manner which makes it very easy to navigate and find relevant information. It is written by experienced educators and claims to be a useful guide for not only practising language teachers, but also for pre-service teachers and anyone
Read on →

1 Comment »

The Internet and Young Learners
Reviewed Dec 2008 by Stephen Lodziak

Author: Gordon Lewis
Publisher
: Oxford University Press
Components
: Teacher’s resource book

The TEFL industry is notoriously slow at adopting new technology. Unless you are lucky enough to work for a company or institution that is profitable and brave enough to make a sizeable investment the chances are that a lot of your lesson preparation is still spent cueing tapes and preparing OHP film. However, as teachers and students become more tech savvy cassette players seem more and more archaic and the attractions of using new technologies grow. The Internet and Young Learners by Gordon Lewis was published in 2004 but I imagine, for the reasons stated above, in a lot of schools it still is not seen as particularly pertinent reading. This is a shame because it is full of excellent ideas and written in a way that even the biggest technophobe would be unlikely to
Read on →

1 Comment »

Teaching Young Language Learners
Reviewed Nov 2008 by Katie Cordes

Components: Book for teachers
Author: Annamaria Pinter
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Review:
This book, Teaching Young Language Learners, immediately caught my attention as I currently teach pre-school to elementary age beginner level children in Japan. But upon reading the introduction, the author, Annamaria Pinter describes that she intends seasoned teachers with an interest in teaching language to children and teacher trainers to get the most out of her book. I, not being a veteran teacher, was initially disappointed by the author’s intention. To my surprise, after closely reading the book, I found the opposite to be true.

Teaching Young Language Learners is organized into compact chapters ranging from “Learning and Development” to “Materials Evaluation and Materials Design”. Within each chapter are sections in bold efficiently detailing major theories and ideas. Complementing the descriptions, pictures and diagrams help the reader grasp the main idea of each passage. Pinter offers input into why
Read on →

Add Comment

Oxford Basics: Cross-curricular Activities
Reviewed Nov 2008 by Joshua Antle

Author: Hana Svecova
Components: Book for teachers
Publisher: Oxford University Press (Oxford Basics series)
Summary: Cross-curricular activities uses a wide variety of topics as the basis for lesson plans aimed at elementary to intermediate level classes.

Review:
Cross-curricular activities (CCA) tries to show learners how English and cross-curricular subjects fit together. The students are encouraged to see English as not just a set of rules, but as a means of communication.

This book contains 30 lesson plans which can be used with little preparation from the teacher. The lesson plans are based on a wide variety of topics selected from science, mathematics, music, drama, art, history, geography and biology. Each lesson plan has specific target language and should require about 45 minutes’ class time to complete.

The main difference between this book and other books containing activities for class available today is that CCA consists of designing several cross-curricular lesson plans first, and then choosing a suitable “target language” component. Other activity books, in contrast, generally
Read on →

1 Comment »

TEFL.net : TEFL Book Reviews : Young Learners