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Hot List Q & A
Adult ESL Materials

January 2015

Question:
Dear fellow teachers (active & retired)
I am thinking of starting a volunteer ESL program for adults at a church. Does anyone have suggestions regarding simple inexpensive text to use for this audience? Program may run for 1 hr. or 2 per week and try to teach basic everyday-skills to adults. Also, since many have children, the program might want to include activities for parents to help their children with school work. Would welcome all types of suggestions.
Thanks

Reply:
Side by Side is my favorite. Also, for supplemental materials and textbook suggestions, have you tried eslcafe.com? Lots of good stuff there.

Reply:
"Stand Out" by Cengage publishing. There is a text and companion grammar book with several levels. We use it in our program at my level which is beginner. Levels 1/2, Also Oxford Picture Dictionary for Adults - great for expanding vocabulary.

Reply:
Easy English News is a fantastic jumping off point for adults! My students loved to do idioms section and games. Another great resource is Word by Word Dictionary by Longman. Its ancillaries have different levels which wonderful for a multi-level classroom.

Reply:
I've been teaching adult ESL for the past 2 years. We started using "Future" recently and I am very happy with it. I also use Easy English News extensively. It's a great resource.
Good luck

Reply:
The adult ed. program at the community college where I work uses Side-by-Side and I've heard the instructors are content with it.

Reply:
I had to use Side-by-side for two years part-time and did not like it at all. It is not leveled.

October 2014

Question:
Dear Colleagues,
A local organization is thinking of starting free ESL classes for adults.
   They would like to start by offering beginner conversational classes. Do you know the names of any books/materials that would be appropriate for beginner adult conversation classes? Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
   Thank you.

Reply:
I currently teach (free) adult ESL. We just began using Future and it seem to be working well.

Reply:
The Ventures Series published by Cambridge is a skills based six level series with a multitude of resources. It's great!

Reply:
   I can send a set of Easy English NEWS to the organization, no charge, to see if that would work with the level of students they have. Many adults are "false beginners" and register for beginner classes so they can feel confident. Anyone else who wants free samples can email me and we'll send them out. Give address and quantities of samples wanted. We can send quantities of back issues to charitable organizations at no cost when we overprint.
ESL@elizabethclaire.com

Reply:
   Side by Side is an excellent program for adult ESL. There are multiple levels to the books. I have used Side by Side for my adult ESL classes and gotten good results. For more advanced students, I supplement with writing and reading. There are lots of supplemental materials available for teachers, and the student books come with extra-practice audio cd's. Workbooks are also available. Prentice Hall also has the Word by Word Picture Dictionary, which I believe also has an activity book.

Reply:
   The Oxford Picture Dictionary series offers (in addition to printing the dictionary in just English or English and 1 other language) these great Teacher editions and now workbooks.  Our tutors photocopy pages from the workbooks to use in their groups in addition to the picture dictionaries.  The sections range from neighborhoods, the grocery store, doctor and work vocabulary, etc. They are fantastic.

Reply:
   Interchange intro is great! I'm using it with my port of entry students. You can access the listening exercises online too.

Reply:
   I've used Speak Now 1 by Cambridge for beginners and I liked it enough. I checked out Now You're Talking 1 by Heinle and it looks good and has more meat to it. Our non-academic program uses Side by Side and I've heard poor reviews.

Reply:
   World English Intro is nice because in all integrated skills but if you want something just for conversation and vocabulary, A Conversation Book: English in Everyday Life.

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