Literature (Resource Books for Teachers)

Title: Literature (Resource Books for Teachers) - second edition
Author: Alan Duff/Alan Maley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Components: Teacher's resource book
Reviewed by: Carla Wilson
Review date: January 2008
Summary: A book about using literature as a resource for teaching English as a foreign language. The book includes over 50 activities, most of which come with a sample text that can be used in class.

Literature (Resource Books for Teachers)The second edition of this popular book includes new activities and, for the activities that were in the first edition, new sample texts. Activities are divided into seven sections - Starting Points, Contrast and Comparison, Creative Adaption and Writing, Spoken Texts, Focus on Language, Literature Projects and Dealing with Longer Texts. The book is not about teaching literature but about how to use literature in the EFL classroom. No previous knowledge of literature is required either by the students or the teacher.

Most activities are 30-60 minutes but some are 2 hours and activities in the Projects section require several class hours and/or homework.

Although many activities are listed as suitable for elementary or lower-intermediate and above, the sample texts provided are often for intermediate or upper-intermediate so more preparation time (for finding appropriate texts) would be required if the activities were to be used with lower levels.

Photocopiable worksheets are provided with some activities that can be used regardless of what literary text is used for the activity.

Most activities could be used with text taken from graded readers, and using graded readers with lower levels would be much easier than trying to find original material of a low enough level. Many activities would make ideal pre-, while-, or post-reading activities for lessons based around graded readers.

Activities are well-described and include comments about possible pitfalls and possible variations. Each activity description starts with an introduction showing level, time and aims. This is followed by sections on preparation, procedure and comments. Worksheets and sample texts are provided within the activity description.

The introduction addresses some of the objections that are often raised about using literature in EFL classes, particularly regarding difficulty of texts. Because the authors wish to provide a book about how to use literature as a resource for language teaching there is no stigma attached to using graded readers, as there might be if we were teaching literature. The introduction also provides guidelines on how to select suitable texts.

At the back of the book there is a list of useful websites that will aid the teacher in finding suitable texts and background information where needed. ESL Reviews & ArticlesCarla Wilson is a director at David English House in Hiroshima, Japan.