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Read more about PDX Journeys: Studying and Living in the US, Low-Intermediate Novel and Textbook for University ESL Students

PDX Journeys: Studying and Living in the US, Low-Intermediate Novel and Textbook for University ESL Students

(7 reviews)

Amber Bliss Calderón, Portland State University

Copyright Year: 2016

Publisher: Portland State University Library

Language: English

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Reviewed by Dan Fitzgerald, Instructor, Kansas City Kansas Community College on 6/8/21

The book covers the the range of reading and vocabulary skills one would expect from a low intermediate textbook. However, with only 6 readings, this textbook does not have enough material for a 3-credit full semester course. Instructors who... read more

Reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Armstrong, Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/27/20

The book comprehensively covers all areas of the subject appropriately and is particularly useful for low-intermediate post-secondary Intensive English language program. The specificity renders the textbook for a somewhat narrow population of... read more

Reviewed by Michael Schwartz, Associate Professor, St Cloud State University on 5/20/20

It would be nice to have a table of contents and a brief description of who the book is intended for. A glossary of all of the Academic Words covered in each unit would be a nice plus. read more

Reviewed by Annick Todd, Instructor, Lane Community College on 1/5/20

This reading and vocabulary book has no index or glossary, but there is a brief, helpful description in the preface. The book is organized into two units with three chapters each. For each unit, the author has written three chapters of fiction... read more

Reviewed by Kristi Kowalski, ESL Instructor, Rogue Community College on 8/15/17

I do not see a glossary or index for this book. However, the units and chapter descriptions are listed at the start of each unit (but no page #s). Students are assigned to look up vocabulary words in the dictionary. The book is comprehensive in... read more

Reviewed by Dave Schenderlein, ESL Faculty, Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon on 6/20/17

This text is an English learner’s level and topic specific workbook. It focuses primarily on vocabulary and reading skills and strategies. It is very good for introducing these ideas and components to high intermediate learners. It introduces and... read more

Reviewed by Joy Egbert, Professor, Washington State University on 4/11/17

All of the exercises are drill-based and the questions, except for those at the start of the chapter that call on students' backgrounds, are close ended. There is no room for creativity, there are no suggestions for going outside of the story. Of... read more

Table of Contents

Unit 1: Academic Expectations

  • Chapter 1: Stephanie's Story
  • Chapter 2: IELP Expectations of Students
  • Chapter 3: The Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad

Unit 2: Problem Solving

  • Chapter 4: Luna and Violeta's Story
  • Chapter 5: Solve That Problem
  • Chapter 6: Easier Said than Done

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About the Book

Each unit begins with a chapter of fiction about a teacher and students in one ESL class. Reading comprehension and reading skills exercises follow. Prefix and suffix vocabulary-focus exercises are included. Academic Word List vocabulary exercises help students build a strong foundation in both receptive and productive knowledge. The following chapters in each unit expand on unit themes through non-fiction articles focusing on academic preparation, international experiences, and cultural adjustment. Vocabulary is repeated and comprehension and reading skills are further practiced.

About the Contributors


Amber Bliss Calderón is a Senior Instructor I in the Intensive English Language Program at Portland State University. She earned her MA in TESOL from Portland State University in 2004. Her areas of interest include teaching reading, creative writing, and student experiences. She has developed curriculum for several communication and culture experience programs for the IELP. She enjoys teaching reading and makes it a goal to turn non-readers into readers by making reading a fun and exciting way to learn. 

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