Favorite ELT Books

Practical Books for In-class Use

1. Concept Questions and Time Lines by Graham Workman

We ask concept questions (or concept check questions) to check learners have understood the meaning of a piece of grammar, an item of vocabulary or a functional expression. This book gives you ready-made concept questions and timelines you can use to introduce tenses, modals and some vocabulary.

2. Taboos and Issues by Richard MacAndrew and Ron Martínez

Taboos and Issues is another book I frequently refer to. It is full of photocopiable lessons on controversial topics such as abortion, cheating, national stereotypes etc. The lessons start by introducing some vocabulary essential to the topic. Then, learners answer some pre-reading discussion questions before they read a short text and have a discussion with the help of the questions provided after the text. 
3.Five-Minute Activities by Penny Ur & ‎Andrew Wright 

This book is definitely a life-saver. A few years ago I went through the book to mark any activities that could be of use in the last few minutes of any lesson - in case I have some extra time. And I have turned back to it time and time again. I found that I can adapt the activities for different levels or feel inspired to create other short activities. So far, students have really appreciated doing something different but still related to English in the last few moments of the lesson.

4. Grammar Games and More Grammar Games by Mario Rinvolucri 

As the name suggests, these two books offer photocopiable games to help learners practice grammar. Each game focuses on one or more points of English grammar. A specification is given for each game, describing its level, materials needed, grammar points practiced and time required.
5. Cambridge Copy Collection - Skills / Reading / Listening / Writing / Speaking Extra

This series was recommended to me by a fellow instructor. I have only had the opportunity to use the Listening Extra book and I found it very useful. The book includes activities for the respective skills and a lesson plan which explains in detail how to proceed with the lesson, which words to pre-teach and which activities could be optional. Each unit in the book has different activities for 3 levels - Elementary, Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate.
6. Grammar Games and Communication Games by Jill Hadfield 

A nice selection of pairwork, small group and whole class games and activities to help your students develop understanding and fluency in a real, communicative way. Jill Hadfield has books for different levels in these series (beginner, elementary, intermediate and advanced). 
7. Target Vocabulary 1 & 2 by P. Watcyn-Jones

Again, this book was recommended to me by a colleague. A fun way to use the tasks in this book is to do group or pair work. Usually, I will have the students sit in groups of three and give them a task - for example, parts of a car. Using their dictionaries, they will try to get as many correct answers as possible in a given time. I have also used this book to supplement our coursebook.


8. Timesaver Speaking Activities by Peter Maggs & Jon Hird

This book is full of easy-to-use photocopiable speaking activities. It is an old book, but most of the activities still work well. 
9. Developing Grammar in Context by Mark Nettle & Diana Hopkins

This is a grammar exercise book that I use especially with pre-intermediate and intermediate level students. At first sight, the book looks like just another exercise book but the difference is that it provides a context for mechanical exercises. There are conversations, stories, pictures, etc. There's also a "quick reference" box for each grammar point that's practiced.


Books for Professional Development and Reference

These are the books that you might want to refer to from time to time to keep yourself updated on the theoretical aspect of language teaching.  
  1. How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer
  2. A Course in Language Teaching Trainer's Handbook by Penny Ur
  3. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching by Theodore S. Rodgers
  4. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching by H. Douglas Brown
  5. Teaching by Principles by H. Douglas Brown
  6. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language by Marianne Celce-Murcia
  7. Testing for Language Teachers by Arthur Hughes
  8. Second Language Acquisition by Rod Ellis
  9. Research Methods in Language Learning by David Nunan
  10. Pursuing Professional Development: The Self as Source by Andy Curtis, David Nunan & Kathleen M. Bailey
  11. Practical English Usage (3rd Edition) by Michael Swan 
(This last book - Practical English Usage - addresses problem points in the language as encountered by learners and their teachers. It gives information and advice that is practical, clear, reliable, and easy to find. Most of the book is about grammar, but it also covers selected points of vocabulary, idiom, style, pronunciation, and spelling.)

Posted by Ceren Kocaman & Furkan Şevket Kır