Defining Twilight

Learning vocabulary can be boring and tedious not only for students but also for teachers. Brian Leaf has found a way around this. He has compiled a vocabulary workbook based on the popular novel, “Twilight”.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi

The workbook is broken into 40 groups of vocabulary words which all come from the novel. Each word is accompanied with the corresponding page number in the novel so students can read the relevant section and see the word in context and can then go on to complete vocabulary exercises. The good thing about Brian’s approach is that students are not overloaded with words as there are only eight words in each group. This makes it easier to concentrate and learn the words and meanings.

Each group of words has activities such as guessing definitions, which is followed by an answer page including possible synonyms and excellent examples. Next is an activity on synonyms whereby students have to select the word or phrase with the closest meaning for the given word. Following this is a drill on analogies where students need to complete the meaning of the sentence followed finally by a Sentence Gap-Fill exercise. These activities could be done individually, in pairs or even groups depending on your classroom situation and imagination. You could even make them into oral activities, games or written work- the possibilities are endless. After every five groups of words there are revision quizzes and the answer keys can be found at the back of the workbook. There is also a review of groups 1-20 and 21-40.

While Defining Twilight is aimed at students studying for the SAT, ACT, GED and SSAT, it is a great workbook for Upper Intermediate or Advanced students of English. Or dare I say, for teachers themselves! Even if the teachers don’t know the book themselves, their students will and it is a great way to encourage them to read and develop not only their vocabulary knowledge but also their reading skills.

What I liked the most about the workbook was that it is compact in size, making it easy and lightweight to carry. I also liked how each group of words covers only 4 pages, including the answer pages. Brian also gives useful, easy to follow advice on synonyms, word parts and also memorizing words. You don’t normally see that in workbooks, which makes it all the more refreshing. The glossary at the back of the workbook lists not only the words but also their definitions and synonyms where appropriate. This is a really good idea and very useful.

While the workbook itself isn’t aimed at ESL/EFL students and it may be a little challenging, I would definitely say try it out. It is definitely an interesting and fun way to learn vocabulary. I wish I had had something like this when I was a student. I look forward to the next one in the series, as do my students.

Reviewed by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi for Teflnet September 2009

One Comment

  • peter says:

    It sounds great! I am an English teacher, and I want to buy this book. where can I buy it? and How much is it? Thanks alot

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Teflnet : TEFL Book Reviews : Vocabulary : Defining Twilight