Focus on Comprehension Comprehension Book 1
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  • Focus on Comprehension Comprehension Book 1
  • John Jackman
  • Published by: Harper Collins Publishers Limited
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 2002

This book is aimed at ages 7+. It is designed to encourage children to read and understand every essential fiction and non-fiction text type. Follow-up activities progress from literal questions to higher order thinking skills.

Review posted: 18/12/2013
Have you used this book?

The interesting thing about teaching a foreign language is that it’s one of the only subjects you can teach without a subject-specific book. That may sound inaccurate or confusing, but it’s really not. Think about when you first learned how to speak, read and write your native language. Whether you realize it or not, you were building your communication skills in every scenario and subject in school. Even while you were learning science, you were learning to read and communicate, especially in your earlier years.

"This book is used at some international schools where some of the class may be native speakers and some are not. The goal of the book is to help both students build their vocabulary and reading skills."

It’s possible to teach a foreign language without using a book specifically for teaching a foreign language, but rather a subject book for that language. For example, Comprehension Book 1 is not necessarily for English as a Second Language (ESL) students; it’s for any child who needs to improve his/her English reading skills, including native speakers. This book is used at some international schools where some of the class may be native speakers and some are not. The goal of the book is to help both students build their vocabulary and reading skills.

The book is filled with stories, poems, or articles that are usually between 200-300 words. Following the reading exercise are three follow-up writing exercises. The first, “Do you remember?”asks the readers to answer questions related to the content of the reading. The second section, “More to think about” asks the reader questions about the reading which stretches his/her critical analyses skills. The last section, “Now try these” gives the child an exercise that is only loosely related to the reading such as reflecting on one’s own experiences or writing a short story.

The reading excerpts cover a wide range of topics including things like “Fun on Bikes” which teaches children to comprehend short information on a flyer, “Roger the Dog” which is a poem about the habits of a cute dog, and “An Ants’ Nest” which teaches students about the way ants make nests. With such diverse reading, most students will stay interested in the content without feeling like it’s too dull.

If you are teaching ESL students, then this book is a great place to start. However, you will need to supplement reading assignments to help your student truly learn English. A good way to do this is to make a vocabulary list and grammar lesson to accompany each reading. That way your students will become well-rounded English speakers. If you can make the time to prep for your lessons, you can also make worksheets such as fill in the blank, crosswords, vocabulary matching, and so on to really help your students learn.

Though the book is quite thin, there are twenty lessons in the entire book. As an ESL teacher, you can use each reading for 2-3 class periods to ensure that the students understand and internalize the words and the reading that they have done. It’s better to use the book slowly but see actual progress in the student than to whiz through it and see none at all.

Technically, this book is for students around 7-9 years old. As an ESL teacher, you can use this book with students as old as 14 so long as the level of comprehension is appropriate.



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