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August 2021 - Year 23 - Issue 4

ISSN 1755-9715

Short Book Reviews

Hanna Kryszewska is a teacher, teacher trainer, trainer of trainers. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Gdańsk, Poland. She is co-author of resource books: Learner Based Teaching, OUP, Towards Teaching, Heinemann, The Standby Book, CUP,  Language Activities for Teenagers, CUP, The Company Words Keep, DELTA Publishing,  and a course book series for secondary schools: ForMat, Macmillan. She is also co-author of a video based teacher training course: Observing English Lessons. Hania is a Pilgrims trainer and editor of HLT Magazine. E-mail:   


DELTA Team Readers. Arthur Young and The Corgi Mystery D. Haupt. (2021) DELTA Publishing. ISBN-978-3-912-530911-1, pp 145. A Viral Disturbance.  A. Gianola (2021) Helbling Languages. ISBN-978-3-12-501134-2, pp 96. These two titles belong to the DELTA Team Readers series. These graded readers come at 10 levels; from Level 1 - Pre-A1 (200 words) to Level 10  - B2+ (3000 words). They tell stories of people from different parts of the world who are confronted with different issues, dilemmas or problem situation. In Arthur Young and The Corgi Mystery the team has to solve the mystery around the disappearance of the Queen’s favourite corgi from  Buckingham Palace, while A Viral Disturbance tells the story of a family of  Mexican immigrants in the US, whose happy lives after initial success are shattered by the pandemic. The books can be read as an individual, self-study experience or a group experience like the Reading Circles. The latter is a very interesting idea. Each reader in the team focuses on one character, identifies with them and then shares the experience with the others. The stories are accompanied by explanation of new vocabulary at the bottom of each page, reading comprehension tasks (e.g. list the three most important things that happened in the chapter), activities designed to improve reading strategies, questions offering opportunities to reflect on the events and developments in the story (e.g. Do you agree with the advice Oscar’s mother gave him at the end of the chapter? Why?), and questions intended to help the readers find out more about the context of the story (e.g. Is it a good idea to travel during a pandemic? Why do people do it?). The readers are richly illustrated, mainly in black and white, and are accompanied by audio books. More information at  and

Overall the books offer an innovative approach to using graded readers for language improvement and text appreciation.


Practise and Pass. Preparation for Cambridge English Qualifications A2 Key for Schools. M. Roderick and  B. Morales. DELTA Pubishing. (2020) ISBN- 978-3-12-501702-3, pp.128. Practise and Pass. Preparation for Cambridge English Qualifications B1 Preliminary for Schools. M. Roderick and  B. Morales. DELTA Pubishing. (2020) ISBN- 978-3-12-501703-0, pp.144. Practise and Pass. Preparation for Cambridge English Qualifications B2 First for Schools. M. Roderick. DELTA Pubishing. (2020) ISBN- 978-3-12-501704-73, pp.160. Practise and Pass. Preparation for Cambridge English Qualifications C1 Advanced. M. Roderick. DELTA Pubishing. (2020) ISBN- 978-3-12-501705-4, pp.168.This is a new four part series preparing for the KET -  Key for Schools, PET – Preliminary for Schools , FCE - First for Schools and CAE Cambridge exams. (I cannot find information if the series will include a title devoted to the CPE exam – C2).  What we must remember about the publications is that  their aim is to prepare for the given exam specified in the title. In other words students may have been learning English from a general English course, and then to prepare for the given exam switch to Practise and Pass. This means that the books are structured towards improving the students’ performance in the exam and are fine-tuned towards this goal. Hence, the books introduce the language, structures and skills vital for fetching good results in the given exam. They include a reminder or an  introduction to the structure of the given exam (especially important in the case of KET -  Key for Schools, PET – Preliminary for Schools which changed their format in 2020), particular parts of the exam, and tips on what to put particular emphasis on. The books contain exam type tasks, some revision tips, vocabulary work, key grammar rules with examples, and a complete practice test. More materials and audios are available online via the DELTA Augmented app. Despite the number of pages which might suggest that the students will take some time to work through the book, the books could easily be covered in 2-3 weeks of an intensive course before the exam as the layout is very generous when it comes to space. I am not sure if it could be used for self-study as there is no key in the book I have access to.


Tails from the Classroom: Learning and teaching through animal-assisted interventions. H. Lewis and R. Grigg. (2021) Crown House Publishing Limited. ISBN-978-178583505-6, pp 224. Over twenty years ago I went to a very inspiring and entertaining conference session on what the presenter called “The Canine Approach”. She used her well trained pet dog to assist her in delivering English classes for her primary learners. It was very thought provoking and ever since I have been wondering what had become of the approach. The answer has come with the book Tails from the Classroom. We all know about the benefits of animals, especially dogs, horses, dolphins in all sorts of therapies for children. How about teaching? The book looks at how real, living animals can be used in classroom settings to provide inspiration and all-round development. Now there is a growing body of scientific evidence proving the beneficial influence of animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) on “the behavioural, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children and young people” as well as their wellbeing. The book presents the results of research into AAIs as well as some practical ideas. The latter come in the form ‘tales’: Tales of adventure, Tales of all creatures great and small or Tales of the dog in the playground and many are illustrated by case stories. The main focus is on the welfare of the learners and the animals. The book is intended for teachers of various subjects who work with learners of all ages who may use animals in a variety of contexts and ways to introduce different topics, fine arts, literature and moral codes, so I am sure language teachers will find inspiration in the book too.


Making every RE lesson count. Six principles to support modern foreign language teaching. L. Hutton and D. Cox. Crown House Publishing Limited. (2021) ISBN- 978-178583518-6, pp.175. This book is another title in the series. The titles include among others: 1 Making every geography lesson count. Six principles to support great geography teaching. 2 Making every geography history lesson count. Six principles to support great history teaching. 3 Making every math lesson history count. Six principles to support great maths teaching 4 Making every MFL lesson count. Six principles to support modern foreign language teaching. (all of these titles have been reviewed in HLTmag). This book like all the other books in the series follow the success of Making Every Lesson Count so they present the same principle and are edited by the same team Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby, who have defined the six teaching and learning principles the books implement. They talk about the ‘sweet spot’ at the intersection of the three areas as represented by this Venn diagram:                    

The aim of the book is to help the teachers encourage students to unpick questions about religious beliefs and religious practice, as well as aspects of morality and philosophy. All these question and areas are of vital importance to being a human and to human existence. The procedure the authors follow, like all other books in the series, are: Challenge, Explanation and Modelling, Practice, Questioning and Feedback.


Among others the book looks at the various disciplines in RE, challenges in RE, challenges, what is practice in RE etc.  The book in question focuses mainly on secondary school contexts and many ELT teachers may feel that Religious Education is not within their realm, but one never knows if or when religion and ethics related questions may appear in a language class.

More information at:


Please check the Pilgrims f2f courses at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Pilgrims online courses at Pilgrims website

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