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Book of the month - August/September 2017

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Videotelling YouTube Stories for the Classroom
Jamie Keddie
Lessonstream books
978-0-9955-0780-7

What is ‘videotelling’? This approach reverses the traditional sequence of ‘video first, discussion later’. Instead, the teacher first communicates a video narrative through interactive storytelling. Questions, discussion and language analysis follow, and the full viewing of the video comes later. The author provides ideas that exploit 45 videos – all originally found on YouTube and easily accessible on the accompanying website. These videos cover a range of genres;

some are quirky. A helpful appendix grades the language in each story by CEFR level. The book is packed with techniques, including the art of storytelling itself, withholding information to generate interest, exploiting transcripts and encouraging critical thinking. The author writes with enthusiasm. You will certainly find inspiration and activities here to engage so-called ‘screenagers’ on Monday morning.

Reviews in brief

The Canterville Ghost, Oscar Wilde, Adaptation and activities by Derek Sellen Reading and Training Life Skills B1.2
Black Cat 978-88-530-1648-5

This popular story, adapted for B1 learners, is accompanied by a wealth of additional learning material. The story itself is enjoyable, and is sumptuously illustrated with original artwork. One outstanding feature is an app which allows you to scan text with a mobile device and listen to the story on your phone or tablet. The additional material includes dossiers with background information on the famous author and on Haunted Britain. There are traditional comprehension check questions, and useful activities to prepare for PET and Trinity exams. ‘Think’ questions encourage students to express their own feelings about the story. Hugely impressive.

Think, Student’s Book Starter, Herbert Puchta, Jeff Stranks
and Peter Lewis-Jones CUP 978-1-107-58572-0

This A1-level general English book adds an additional ‘Think’ strand to the usual low-level syllabus in an attempt to develop the ‘whole learner’. It does this partly by including exercises on critical thinking, values and ‘self-esteem’. Given the low level, the book does this successfully. The material has a global feel, with intriguing cultural texts on masks, statues, transport and parks from around the world. The content draws on the Cambridge English Corpus. I welcome the strong focus on pronunciation. The layout is fresh and modern. The B1 level of this course was reviewed here in December 2016. Recommended.

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