Paula Swenson

Book Reviews

I have written a lot of different types of reviews: books, art exhibits, performances, etc. however, that was pre-internet and I only have a clippings file of that work.  More recently I have been reviewing ESL/EFL textbooks for, and you can view some samples of those reviews here.

This is one example of a short (about 250 word) review –please see sub-pages for more samples:

Title:  Presenting

Author:  Susan Lowe and Louise Pile

Publisher:  Delta Publishing

Components include:  Book

Summary:  A strong supplemental workbook with CD for Business English learners.

Reviewed by:  Paula Swenson

Review date:  January 2007


Presenting is aimed at Pre-intermediate to Intermediate level learners of English for Business.  It can be used with pre-experienced or experienced clients, in classrooms or one-on-one.

It begins with a self-directed Needs Analysis and a Learning Journal.  Six units follow these, each targeting a different skill needed for effective Presenting.  The six units deal with starting effectively, using equipment, organizing your material, maintaining interest, dealing with problems and questions, and summarizing & concluding.  Each of the units ends with a reference section of useful phrases and vocabulary, as well as a review page.

The authors have done a nice job of combining basic information and familiar exercise types (cloze, multiple matching, sentence scramble, charts, register transfer).  There is a CD with the book, which both models target language and pronunciation and provides listening practice.  Full transcripts are included at the back of the book, along with the answer keys for each unit, making the book useful for self-study as well as classroom use.

In most ways the book seems more geared toward self-study use, although learners without formal language study experience might find the instructions hard to follow in places, especially at the Pre-intermediate level.

All in all, I would say the book offers a good opportunity to have Business English learners work on improving their Presenting skills outside of classroom time, which could reinforce their more formal instruction.


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