English Novels Every Proficiency Student Should Read No. 1

 

British Novels Which Have Added To The English Language

Fiction or factual, poetry, newspapers or magazines, lengthy books or short stories – they can all help improve vocabulary, grammar, writing and, ultimately, speech. However, while all books may be equal in this respect, some books are more equal than others!* 

Here is the first of my top ten books which have contributed to the English language. While it isn’t strictly necessary to read the books to understand the meaning of the words or phrases they have given English, you’ll probably find them easier to remember and use if you do (and, who knows, you might even enjoy the books!).

No. 1 Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

Intro: Orwell wrote this in 1948 after becoming disillusioned with the Communist regime in Russia. The novel is set in a future dystopia in which people’s lives are almost wholly controlled by The Party. It is regarded as a classic and its themes are as relevant today as they were in 1948. So relevant, in fact, that this book has given more words and phrases to everyday English than any other work of fiction I can think of.   Continue reading

Reading with Children

DSCN0542Everyone knows the benefits of reading to babies and toddlers, right? Health visitors hand out Bookstart packs in the UK almost as soon as your child is born, libraries run all-singing, all-dancing, glue & glitter sessions for families; Dolly Parton posts books monthly to children in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia. And the results from research is overwhelming: a child is never too young for a book. Continue reading

An English Empire? Linguistic Imperialism and me.

800px-1855_Colton_Map_of_the_World_on_Mercator_Projection_-_Geographicus_-_WorldMercator-colton-1855When I completed my CELTA (the initial training course for EFL teachers) and considered all the places in the world I wanted to travel to and teach in, I faced some, half-joking, accusations that what I was about to do aided some covert imperialist agenda. Was I a modern-day missionary, an ELT evangelist preaching Received Pronunciation, sermonising about sentence structure, bearing witness to SVO word order? Was I an unwitting foot soldier in the building of a new English Empire, annihilating native languages, crushing cultures, promulgating Western capitalist ideals?

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Language Play – Alliteration and Rhyme

Word PlayPersuasion, poems, puns. We use language to connect, to communicate, to conceal; for literature and laughs. From the time we begin to babble as babies language play is something we all do. Here are some of our favourite no materials, no preparation, rhyming and alliteration games. Continue reading

EFL Extensive Reading

Oxford BookwormsIn EFL we talk about two types of reading Extensive Reading and Intensive Reading. Intensive reading is what usually happens in the classroom: reading to answer comprehension questions or to teach ‘reading skills’ such as skimming and scanning. Extensive reading is reading for pleasure, often fiction at around or just below a learner’s language level. Ideally extensive reading texts should be 98% known vocabulary.
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How to learn English

Mind Map GuidlinesTo teach (verb) from the Old English ‘taecan’ meaning ‘to show, to point out’.

To learn (verb) from the Old English ‘leornian’ meaning ‘to study, read, think about’.

We tend to see teaching as an active, dynamic activity and learning as a passive one, as if the learner were just an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge. But perhaps, if we look at the etymology of these words, we have not always seen it this way.
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