Jane Austen (Helbling Readers Classics), Helbling Languages;
Should graded readers just provide a simplified text or should they include learning material? This stylishly illustrated 84-page reader, aimed at A2–B1 students, provides invaluable language support. The pre-reading tasks help readers understand the era of Jane Austen’s classic novel. Essential words like flattery, flirting and match-making are glossed. Listening to the CD-audio does, I think, bring the text alive. The tasks help students engage with the story, although some users may not have a speaking partner for the post-reading discussions. The story is occasionally jerky due to the linguistic simplification, but overall this is a highly impressive graded reader.
masterMind Level 1, 2nd edn
Micky Rogers, Joanne Taylore-Knowles, Steve Taylore-Knowles with Ingrid Wisniewska, Macmillan;
The highlight of this adult general English coursebook is the focus on ‘lifeSkills’, higher-order skills students need to succeed in their professional, academic and everyday lives. This strand covers areas such as plagiarism, evaluating arguments and developing empathy. The twelve units are attractively laid out and full of interesting texts. One article includes ethnic jokes to get students thinking about stereotyping, a topic which obviously needs careful handling. This course for students working towards B2 includes online resources and a DVD. Updating the 2010 edition, masterMind is refreshing and stimulating. Recommended.