English books for Italian students

Hello readers,

Sorry I’ve been absent for some weeks but I wasn’t feeling inspired enough to write anything interesting for you so I took some time off.

I’ve also been quite moody because no matter how hard and often I train lately my cheat meals get the best of me and I have guilty feelings even when I shouldn’t have. Does that ever happen to you? Friday and Saturday I ate too many carbs, but overall I had 3 sessions at the gym this week and ran 5 km on Wednesday and 10 km today. That makes 5 days out of 7 of sports! Don’t know whether to feel proud or worried that I messed up my meal plans so much.

Anyway, let’s forget about the random feelings I have about my training sessions and eating habits. On a more serious note I would like to talk to you about my teaching:

Last week I went to Feltrinelli book store to get some new material for my students. I think this is a very interesting and useful way to teach English to students. What worries me is that sometimes they don’t find this activity efficient enough, whereas personally I think it’s the best instrument to perfect vocabulary, comprehension and learn some expressions they too might use during conversation.

I’ve been using two books mainly: The Fisherman and his soul and Sherlock Holmes and the Red Circle, the later is more interesting for my students as they find it more entertaining to try and solve the mysteries. The activities in the book are quite fun too, I must say. This is a “Step 1” book but since it contains the audio CD I find it is better for my intermediate students to do listening activities rather than just read. So you  can choose how to face the matter with each student depending on their level. Later during the comprehension tasks if they haven’t understood a particular word or phrase it tends to pop up anyway after some time and I send them back to read the text and find it and then listen again to the audio tape in order to remember it better the next time it is used.

What’s great about these books is that vocabulary tends to be repeated throughout and students start to understand the meaning of words from context. While doing the listening again I sometimes mime the words or point them out when they are difficult to catch.

Amazingly enough younger students are actually better at these activities; for example it is  more than enough for me to translate a sentence into Italian for my 10 year old student for her to understand the meaning the second time round. It’s just incredible how the little ones don’t need any explanations or grammar, they just take what you say for granted and learn faster.  I wish my older students had the same trust and enthusiasm!

What books do you use to teach or learn English?

Let me know if you have any suggestions for me and I’ll get back to you.

Thank you all for reading!



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