Review ~ Grammar PracticeA focused four-book grammar series for level A1-B1 teenagers.
This series of four books offers concise, useful practice of grammar. Each book has between 25 and 35 units offering two to three pages of grammar description and practice exercises. The material covered in the four books is presented clearly and develops logically, covering the key grammar usually focused on at A1-B1 level.
Compared to other grammar books on the market, I think this series offers a wider range of exercises but fewer grammar explanations. It has approximately a third of a page of grammar explanations, within the 2-3 pages of material for each grammar point presented. The books are colourful and visually appealing, using cartoons and other visuals to break up the grammar exercises. The activities themselves draw on a wide range of techniques including gap fills, matching exercises, labelling pictures, sentence ordering, crosswords and sentence correction.
The books are easy to navigate and you can simply turn to a particular unit to study the area you need further practice in. At the back of each book, an excellent appendix lists the grammar covered in a quick reference section. The start of books 2, 3 and 4 offer two to three review units, which I felt was a good lead-in to each book.
The book states that the answers can be found in the Appendix, but I didn’t see these. If that is missing in all copies, this book might be better used in class rather than as a self-study resource. The accompanying CD-ROM offers further grammar explanations and additional practice exercises. This is more interactive but I felt this could have gone further. Why not have a DVD-Rom where video clips could have more engagingly illustrated the grammar points, rather than a series of still images? A greater range of activities would also have been motivating. For example, the Test Yourself activities were often more or less the same as the Exercise activities. Having said that, the exercises are useful and reinforce the language rules, and I found them fun.
I think that teens are a challenging market to design books for, and this series could perhaps have been more “cool” to really cater to this target audience. Some of the illustrations are a little childish. Additionally, the books could have been more modernised as the images and examples felt a little dated in places. For example, instead of desktop computers why not have a picture of an iPad? I also felt using examples of JK Rowling from 2007 and “Shrek” just aren’t modern enough, and the book doesn’t really exude an up-to-date feel.
Overall, I think a grammar series such as this is a great idea. While I don’t think it would appeal to a tech-savvy mid-teen age group, children and older teens will find it useful. My adult class has also enjoyed some of the activities. I’d use the series as extra grammar practice in a class, to supplement a course book. For solid, structured grammar practice, this is the series to go for.
October 2012 | Filed under Grammar