Communication Beginnings: An Introductory Listening and Speaking Text for English Language Learners
Della Abrahams, Portland State University
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-3872686-3-4
Publisher: Portland State University Library
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Conditions of Use
The text covers a variety of speaking and listening contexts teaching basic communication skills necessary for an English Language Learner in an read more
The text covers a variety of speaking and listening contexts teaching basic communication skills necessary for an English Language Learner in an academic or social setting.
The content is accurate, and useful for a variety of cultural contexts and language learning levels.
The contents provide topics serving a wide audience. May be used in an academic or non-academic environment. Topics included are timeless and can easily be modified or updated easily and effectively due to its overall organization.
The text is written for any English language learner to use, is easily accessible to all levels and used simple language for quick comprehension.
The framework and terminology of the text is consistent throughout each chapter, making it an easily accessible textbook for study or reference use.
The text is divided into seven chapters which can be assigned in order of need. There is no reason to follow content chapter by chapter. Short activities and exercises throughout make the content extremely accessible and user-friendly. Perfect for self or class study.
Topics are presented chapter by chapter and can be used in any order. The content flow from beginning to end makes the text rather easy to use in a classroom setting. It allows the user to only focus on areas of specific need if so desired.
Overall the text is free of any interface issues. There are some formatting problems that might initially confuse a language learner, but can be simply reformatted to correct the issues.
The text is free of grammatical errors--an extremely important component of a book for language learners.
The text provides universal contexts that may be adapted to the cultural backgrounds/needs of its learners. Very accessible topics that are useful to all cultural contexts. No inclusiveness has been found to exist within the text's content.
This text provides a very simple and easy way for language learners to practice speaking and listening skillls for basic interpersonal communication. The topics are current and relevant to language learners, providing them with authentic contexts for daily use. The use of specific vocabulary in context for each chapter gives the reader excellent word choice options for practice. I highly recommend piloting this text for a lower level English language learning class.
The test covers all areas of the subjects according to the author's presentation. The guidelines are clear. Each chapter presents a vocabulary list read more
The test covers all areas of the subjects according to the author's presentation. The guidelines are clear. Each chapter presents a vocabulary list (from New General Service List) and all lessons are presented around them. At the end of each chapter the student can really say to have learn at least ten new words.
In general the content is accurate. Only a doubt: on Chapter 4, page 38 n. 6 and n. 10 require the same answers?
The text refers to every day life, so it will not be outdated for a while. Furthermore, it will be easy to update and implement it since it has been posted on line.
The author conveys information with great clarity.
The test is very consistent in terms of terminology and framework. I also like the "Speaking fluency practice" and the "Extra listening Practice"part.
The text is divided in six different modules, each one with different goals, but all six can be reorganized and presented in a different order.
The topics are presented in a logical and coherent way that attracts the learners.
The text is free of significant interface issues that can confuse the readers.
There is not a lot grammar, only the essential.I think this is good for the level of the students to which the book is presented.
The text is very inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Great respect for everyone.
I like the book. It is clear and adequate to the students at their second approach to the English language. I think that overall it will be useful to many foreign people, including those who are self learning.
The textbook is intended for beginning-intermediate English language learners and is a good introductory resource for speaking activities. It is read more
The textbook is intended for beginning-intermediate English language learners and is a good introductory resource for speaking activities. It is organized around topics that people encounter in everyday life, such as food, hobby. Each of the 7 chapters starts with a picture and discussion questions, dialogues, speaking and grammar tips and a vocabulary list that is relevant to the topic with all the exercises to practice the vocabulary. In the end of the book, there is a script of listening activities and answer key. In terms of language material, questions and overall input, the book aims at low-intermediate language students, not beginners. The grammar part, though introduces very basic aspects, such as “s” for 3rd person singular in Present tense or the verb “to be”, which beginners would benefit from, but then vocabulary words are too advanced for them. In addition, I believe that seven chapters are too little for the textbook; therefore it should be used in combination with other materials.
At this point I haven't encountered any mistakes, and it's unbiased. However, I had some concerns regarding grammar usage. In chapter 3 it is stated that the verb “to be” is used with nouns and adjectives, but it can also be used with adverbs. Also who-questions are different from other wh-questions, and this wasn’t mentioned. In chapter 5, the grammar dwells on past tense and only in regards to regular verbs. I haven’t found information on irregular verbs in the book.
The content of the book covers fairly universal and basic topics, and they are unlikely to become outdated. The vocabulary words (10 for each chapter) that the book centers around are also very useful. There is no reference to a specific university or a specific group of learners (Asian, European, etc.) and that is a great benefit.
The textbook follows the same patterns and it’s easy to follow. It has charts, maps, and some graphic organizers. In terms of grammar, the focus is on short, concise explanations and clear models. I would suggest using more colors or table structures to bring readers’ attention to certain forms, because some learners can be very visual.
The book showed overall consistency in regards to terminology and framework. I thought chapter 1 and 7 were smaller than others and could have more input/output material
This textbook is thematically divided into distinct sections that allow learners to find the information easy, and each chapter has the same flow: it starts and finishes in the same way. Almost each chapter has listening or grammar tip.
I could follow the text for the most part, and I understood the logical flow of activity chains that scaffold speaking in the end of each chapter. In the chapter there are external links to presentations and listening activities, and it’s very easy to identify them. In terms of vocabulary, I would prefer to see more visuals. For example, in chapter 4 when describing food, the author mentions what food can be like (e.g. sweet, citrusy etc.). I would suggest grouping the food under certain adjectives and back it up with visuals. Some other chapter on hobby or jobs lacked visuals.
The interface of the textbook is clear and easy to follow. The image of the table on page 59 looks a bit off. I also think that surveys that are assigned as homework and usually look like 5 separate charts can be put as one to save space and be on the same page.
The text contains no grammatical errors as far as I can tell.
This textbook accurately displays the variety of situations that are relevant to language learners and they are not tied around university life since some learners are already out of school and have no intention to go back. Various nationalities participated in listening activities and examples provided in the book.
Overall it is a good listening/speaking resource. There are a lot of interesting listening activities and presentations that come with this textbook. Also there are good listening and speaking tips on intonation, contractions. I enjoyed the presentation on cardinal/ordinal numbers as well. I do believe that if it is designed for beginners, the vocabulary and sentence structures should be simplified. If it's for low-intermediate students, then grammar tips should be more advanced.
This textbook covers a broad range of easily-accessible speaking and listening topics, which is very appropriate for a beginning listening and read more
This textbook covers a broad range of easily-accessible speaking and listening topics, which is very appropriate for a beginning listening and speaking class. The vocabulary included in each section is fairly light, only 10 words, but I like that the words come from the New General Service List, meaning that the words are all frequently used in the English language. The grammar points are also useful but also somewhat light. I would probably add something on present progressive tense since this is often taught at the introductory level of listening/speaking courses. I also appreciate that this textbook has a clear table of contents and introduction along with direct links to listening exercises. However, the link to activity one in chapter one took me to a vocabulary listing rather than the intended listening activity and one of the other listening links, from chapter 7 I believe, did not work.
The content seems highly accurate and unbiased. It is clearly written and no errors stood out.
The material in this textbook is generally timeless. The vocabulary and grammar are very standard and should not change appreciably over time. Likewise, the speaking and listening topics are general enough, topics like "learning a language" and "hobbies" so these should still be relevant areas of discussion even 20 years from now.
The written text is very clear. A few (but not all) of the listening passages are a little fast for students at this level, so it could be worth re-recording some of these when the book is updated.
In terms of consistency, the book chapters each follow the same pattern, with similar structure and exercises. I also appreciated the consistency of material at the end of the book: the listening scripts and answer keys.
Each of the chapters could stand alone as a singular module, so this makes the book easy to use for supplemental course material.
Very clear organization.
Overall, the interface is easy to navigate. There are a few problems with the listening activities linking correctly, but that could be easily fixed.
I did not notice any grammatical errors.
The book uses very general topics for listening and speaking, so I did not see any that would be deemed offensive. The listening exercises often include individuals with names from other countries, so I think students will enjoy seeing names from their own parts of the world.
Considering there are very few open ESL textbooks, I really appreciate the author taking the time to create and make this one available. It is clear, consistent, and easy to use. I would probably use it as a supplemental textbook rather than a primary one because I have always taught in very intensive programs (many hours per day of instruction), so as a stand-alone book it would not have enough content for my needs. However, this could be a great stand-alone book for a class that is less intensive such as a free class in the community that meets just once or twice a week.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1- Learning how to speak and listen in English:
• Tips and strategies for increasing and retaining learning
• Advice on learning English in a university setting
Chapter 2- Introductions
• Describing yourself and other people
§ Grammar points
§ Third person singular ‘s’
§ Subject pronouns and possessive adjectives
Chapter 3- Talking about travel and experiences: Page 25-36
• Intonation in English
§ Grammar points
§ WH and Yes/No question formation
Chapter 4- Discussing food and eating: Page 37-50
• Understanding Conversational English with reduced speech
§ Grammar points
§ Contractions in English
Chapter 5- Describing places around town: Page 51-64
• Addresses and place descriptions
§ Grammar points
§ Past tense verbs
§ Ordinal and cardinal numbers
Chapter 6- Communicating about hobbies and routines: Page 65-73
• Agreeing and Disagreeing in English
§ Grammar points
§ Using so, too, neither and either
§ Adverbs of frequency
Chapter 7- Discussing jobs and university majors: Page 74-85
• Word and syllable stress in English
§ Grammar points
§ Future tense verbs
About the Book
This textbook is designed for beginning-intermediate English language learners. It is composed of 7 chapters, each of which covers specific speaking and listening learning objectives and includes dialogues, interviews, discussions and conversation activities. Each chapter includes listening and speaking components such as dialogues, interviews, discussions and conversation activities. Each chapter also focuses on 10 target words from the New General Service List of English vocabulary. The textbook includes an audio component that consists of recorded conversations of native and non-native English speakers, as well as links to additional listening resources on the web.
About the Contributors
Della Jean Abrahams is an Instructor in Intensive English Language Program at the Portland State University.