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Reviews in brief - April

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Unlock, Reading and Writing Skills 4, Chris Sowton, CUP / Discovery Education™; 978-1-1076-1525-0

This is the new re-designed edition of a young adult and adult course designed to practise English in everyday situations. The twelve units cover grammar, vocabulary, the four language skills and pronunciation. The book’s strength lies in the extensive use of communication activities, with nearly twenty pages of information-exchange tasks.

The new ‘Life Skills’ sections help students plan short presentations using mind-maps. The quirky, colourful cartoon-style pictures add to the book’s appeal. The extra exercises on pronunciation are especially useful. The texts are quite short, and teachers may wish to supplement the book with ‘extensive reading’ activities. Engaging; worth investigation.

Academy Stars 5, Pupils’ book, Steve Elsworth and Jim Rose, Macmillan; 978-0-2304-9021-5

This A2-level course book provides lively engaging material for young learners. The ten units cover the traditional areas of grammar, vocabulary and language skills, plus an additional strand called ‘Think about it!’ which focuses on critical thinking. One highlight is the series of ‘Graphic Grammar’ visuals which illustrate structures as ‘building blocks’; these attractive images use colour effectively to distinguish different word forms, such as subject, verb and auxiliary. The ‘Reading Time’ sections include attractively illustrated stories which should motivate students to do more extensive reading. This 144-page course book is innovative in taking an academic approach with younger learners.

Reviews by Pete Sharma for Bournemouth English Book Centre: www.bebc.co.uk