Book review: ELI Vocabulary in Pictures

This week I received a huge box of resources from ELI Publishing. The first book that caught my eye was ELI Vocabulary in Pictures, which looks like a useful and good value resource.

Vocabulary in Pictures (VIP) is a picture book aimed at A1-A2 level young learners. It introduces more than 1000 words (nouns, verbs, adjectives and prepositions) through various thematic situations. It has a digital component, which includes audio recordings for each word plus some interactive activities for learners.

The illustrations in VIP are based on themes (‘In the bedroom’, ‘At breakfast’, ‘In my rucksack’, etc). They use the same characters, members of ‘The Taylor family’, in each scene. Illustrations are colourful and engaging – one of our teachers did comment however that they feel learners make better associations when real-life images are used. That sounds like a fair point, but personally I like the illustrations used – I feel the scenes have plenty for the learners to engage with and I like the use of recurring characters for familiarity.

Check out some of the sample pages here.

There are usually between 15-20 words introduced per scene (double page). There are a couple of pages where the theme introduces words in a typical grammar structure, like the one for time and for weather, but other than that there are simply word/picture associations on each page. There would be enough space for a phrase bank on most double pages, which could elevate the resource beyond supplementary use. That said, this is a very useful book for supplementary vocabulary input and our YL teachers have already been discussing how they will put it to use in upcoming modules.

I really like the digital activities accompanying this resource. The digital coursebook page can be annotated, which is useful as I don’t have to scan it and add it to my interactive whiteboard slides. It’s easy to annotate the page to hide certain items for memory tests, do simple listening/TPR tasks, highlight features or words, etc. What’s more, there are some simple interactive activities (usually matching, drag and drop or multiple-choice style) which are a good review for the learners. The publisher could extend the number of items in these tests – there are often just 3 items that randomise (for example ‘listen and choose the matching picture’ X3), but that does mean you can do some short, sharp tests for individual students.

If you’re not a fan of the digital side of things, the book could act as a good photocopiable resource.

I mentioned a while back how much I liked Incredible English (IE) as a coursebook, and complimented their interactive resources too. The resources in VIP could be used in a similar way (minus the story elements that are in IE).

As a resource for vocabulary building with YLs (under 10) this is worth buying. I would say that given the amount of (usually quite costly to produce) illustrations, £10.95 is very reasonably priced.

Vocabulary in Pictures is available via Eurobooks (cheapest price I found, no affiliate link!).

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