Read an Excerpt
REA's ESL Beginner uses daily living skills to help students understand basic English grammar concepts such as nouns, verbs, simple sentences, compound sentences, and modifiers. After a concept is introduced, examples are given to show the student how to use the concept in a sentence. Concepts are reinforced through individual work, class discussions, and group projects. English words that may be unfamiliar to the student are defined. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for student-generated writing throughout each chapter.
WHO SHOULD USE THIS BOOK?
This book is designed to be used by people taking English-as-a-Second-Language and adult-education classes. The book may also be used by anyone desiring a review of grammar.
A person who is taking an English-as-a-Second-Language class has grown up in a home where a language other than English is spoken. An English-as-a-Second-Language class teaches the student how to read, write, and speak English correctly. The class also teaches language skills needed in the workplace and in social settings.
The adult education student is returning to school to review grammar in a basic skills or literacy class setting before entering a General Equivalency Degree (GED) or Adult High School (AHS) program. The student may not have completed his or her high school degree or may be recovering from an injury which affected his or her ability to write correct English.
In addition, this book may be used by a student who is taking a developmental English class. A developmental English student is reviewing grammar before beginning a college- or university-level composition class. This book may also be used in a workplace setting to help employees improve their English grammar skills.
HOW THIS BOOK IS ORGANIZED
This book is organized into five topics (Chapter 2, "Nouns and Noun Phrases"; Chapter 3, "Verbs and Verb Phrases"; Chapter 4, "Simple Sentences"; Chapter 5, "Compound Sentences"; and Chapter 6, "Modification"). Each chapter is divided into sections (grammar/visualizing pictures, reading, listening, activities, and review). Exercises are included and an answer key ends each section. Below is an explanation of the sections.
This section is divided into two parts: grammar and visualizing pictures. The grammar portion explains the concept to the student. Numerous examples show how the concept is used in a sentence. An explanation follows each example. The visualizing pictures portion shows a picture of daily life in the United States. Images in each picture may be labeled, and there may be a caption under the illustration to help the student understand what is happening. Following each picture, there is an exercise using the grammar concept studied.
This section consists of passages that focus on daily life in the United States. Topics include finding a job (chapter 4) and exercise and fitness (chapter 5). A list of vocabulary words and their definitions begin each selection.
Following each passage, there are questions which ask for an open-ended or a specific response, and a grammar exercise that focuses on the concept being studied in the chapter. Each passage ends with a topic for class discussion.
This section follows the same format as the reading section. A list of vocabulary words and their definitions begin each passage. The conversations are about a situation that a student may encounter in his or her daily life, like a job interview (chapter 4) or placing an order for take-out food (chapter 6). Each passage is followed by an exercise that focuses on the grammar concept studied in the chapter and a topic for class discussion. Students are encouraged to role play the conversations in order to practice their English-speaking skills, or the instructor may read the passages to the class.
This section allows students to use their new skills in a creative way. The tasks emphasize teamwork to produce a result, such as completing a crossword puzzle (chapter 3) or a word search puzzle (chapter 5) or planning the menu of a new restaurant (chapter 6).
This section begins with a list of key points from the grammar section. It is followed by a series of exercises that focus on the concepts studied.
Students may use the exercises to gauge their mastery of the skills presented in the chapter. Instructors may use the "Review" to test students' skills in a graded or ungraded manner following completion of each chapter.
TO THE INSTRUCTOR
This book is based on information gathered from ESL instructors. Grammatical concepts are presented in the context of real-life situations. The book aims to provide students with skills they can use in their daily lives.
The instructor may present the material in many ways. He or she may choose to have the class self-paced. This allows the student to progress through the book at his or her own speed. The instructor should work one-on-one with each student during every class meeting to make certain the student understands the material. The instructor may also choose to go through the book with a class as a group. Using this method, everyone studies the same material every class meeting. The instructor may also choose to use a combination of the two instructional styles. The teacher discusses one grammatical concept, such as possessives (chapter 2), or one reading passage each class meeting. Then, he or she allows students to progress through the material at his or her own pace for the remainder of the class meeting.
In order to help students better understand the material, the instructor may wish to use props or invite speakers from the community to talk with the class. For example, in chapter 3, "Visualizing," picture b (carpenter), the instructor may wish to bring a hammer to class to show students what an actual hammer looks like, or a restaurant menu for chapter 4, "Visualizing," picture b (restaurant). To help students understand chapter 3, "Visualizing," picture f (firefighter), the instructor may wish to invite the city's fire department educator to speak to the class about the importance of home fire safety.
Providing Feedback to Students
Providing feedback to students is very important. Feedback builds students' self-confidence. The instructor may wish to give the answers to the students or have students check their own work by using the answer key provided at the end of each section. Next, the instructor should discuss missed answers with students. Also, the instructor may wish to provide oral feedback during group work.
Assessing Students' Skills
Many ESL students fear testing and grades. It is important to have graded and ungraded tests and assignments. As the student completes each section, the instructor may wish to place a check mark  in the book or on the sample "Student Progress Sheet," given on the next page, to show work has been completed.
The instructor may wish not to grade chapter exercises but to use the "Review" section at the end of each chapter to assess students' skills as a graded assignment. In addition, the instructor may wish to develop his or her own tests. Testing should be done at the beginning of each class meeting or on designated days.
Creating a Portfolio
Many ESL instructors find it helpful to create a portfolio of each student's writings. This helps the instructor to see each student's progress throughout the semester or quarter. Items which may be included in the portfolio are the "Student Progress Sheet" and, from chapter 3 "Verbs and Verb Phrases," the student-generated sentences in "Visualizing-Pictures," and the writing items in "Activities".
The function of the instructor is to teach students how to survive in the classroom, in the workplace, and in a social setting. The instructor should have students read orally to him or her during each class meeting, converse one-on-one with other students, engage students in role-playing conversations, and be an active participant in all class activities. In conclusion, the instructor is the students' lifeline to understanding life in America.
TO THE STUDENT
The ESL Beginner Book will help you improve your English grammar. You will learn how to use nouns, verbs, and modifiers correctly. In addition, you will learn how to write a simple sentence correctly and to form compound sentences. Concepts will be presented in the context of a real-life situation, such as finding a job (Chapter 4, "Simple Sentences") and getting your child ready to enter school in the United States (Chapter 5, "Compound Sentences").
An answer key is located at the end of each section so that you may check your work. Be sure to ask your instructor for help if you miss an exercise item or if you do not understand a vocabulary word or grammar concept. Your instructor is your guide through this book. By using this book, you will gain language skills that will help you in the classroom, in the workplace, and in a social setting.