This short review first appeared in IATEFL Voices magazine last month. Sharing here for general interest. This is a good resource: 4 stars from me.
A-Z of ESOL is a useful set of classroom-ready resources for TESOL contexts. Activities in the book are primarily aimed at equipping learners with the language (and life) skills they need to function communicatively in an English-speaking country. There are 26 activities in total, one for each letter of the alphabet (A = A school report, B = Building repairs, C = Covering letters, etc).
Activities in ‘A-Z…’ are based around social practices (related to education, employment, health, community, and so on), and expose learners to the functional language required in such real-life situations. The author states in a brief introduction that the resources follow a task-based approach. This is true in part. However, a weaker task-supported approach is used in some activities for lower-level learners (A1-A2), with more language input or structures introduced prior to students attempting the task.
On the whole, the activities in A-Z of ESOL are engaging, definitely relevant to the suggested context of target learners, and go beyond dealing with functional/situational language. The book includes activities that promote equality, diversity and inclusion, and topics that deal with intercultural communication. Themes have been carefully selected to address current issues in (UK) society, and some activities could serve as a useful springboard for discussion and debate. This rich content may be useful in an EFL context too, especially for learners who may be aiming to study in an English-speaking country in the future.
However, there are still some improvements that could be made to this resource. I feel that providing listening texts would enhance the book. Learners are instructed to read rather than listen to a model conversation in one instance, which to me is inauthentic. Aesthetically, images in the photocopiable resources could be improved (although probably at an unmanageable cost to the publisher).
This book is not a complete course for ESOL but designed to supplement a broader curriculum. With this in mind, it is fairly-priced (about a pound per activity) and would be a useful resource for any ESOL teacher.
A-Z of ESOL is available from Academic Study Kit.