Materials writing news and views, August 2019

It’s been a whole month since I’ve punned in a published resource! Crazy.

New releases

Tyson Seburn has a put together a sample unit of an ELT LGBTQIA2 inclusive coursebook unit, based on a normalisation approach. He’s done a great job of producing his own materials – as well as the inclusive approach to content, the overall design and flow of the resource is nice too. This is well worth reading about and hopefully will gain more recognition from publishers. See here for more details.

Express Publishing have released an interesting (?) new title – Brain Friendly Grammar. It’s written by Rachel Paling, a proponent of ‘Neurolanguage Coaching’. I initially thought this approach related to NLP but I’ve been informed otherwise. Anyway, this is a supplementary resource for grammar coaching, to be used alongside traditional grammar books. You can find out more about the book here, although there are no samples provided ☹

Update: I’ve been offered the chance to review this book so watch this space…

MaWSIG Pre-conference event

There’s a week left to answer the call for proposals for the IATEFL MawSIG pre-conference event.

You can find out more here.

Interesting reads

The Seburn blog post I shared above is perhaps the most interesting read of the month.

There’s a good post from Elaine Hodgson and Viviene Kirmeliene doing the rounds too: The Cry for Inclusiveness and Diversity: Can There be Light at the End of the Tunnel? It talks about how certain topics are approached (or not!) in coursebooks and mentions how Programa Nacional do Livro Didático (PNLD) in Brazil have been working to incorporate inclusiveness and diversity into their coursebooks.

Hodgson and Kirmeliene shared a couple of links to lessons built around PARSNIPy topics. These volumes are titled ‘Parsnips in ELT: Stepping out of the comfort zone’ (Volume 1 here, Volume 2 here). I found them interesting to skim through to see how PARSNIP-related topics could be addressed in class. I’m not sure they would work in my context, but still useful to know about them.

Another post shared in MaWSIG was Making your content accessible: a guide for ELT publishers. Worth a read.

There were some reflections from Clare Maas on writing her first coursebook, ‘Go for it!’ (forthcoming). Congrats again, Clare! I love the random list of topics she researched to write the book. In response, here are a few things I’ve looked into for some of my resources recently…

  • Maggot-infested cheese (see here)
  • Famous female scientists (see here). Facts about Lise Meitner have since been useful for the local pub quiz and when watching University Challenge
  • How bubbles work (see here)
  • Free-solo climbing in Yosemite
  • How power corrupts
  • The Flint water crisis
  • How planes stay in the air
  • Tips for writing the perfect joke
  • Viral challenges and ad campaigns

Writing can be a pretty interesting job!

EDIA Papyrus

EDIA Papyrus is being promoted a bit on LinkedIn. It’s a ‘readability analyser’ which helps grade your texts to the appropriate level. It works in the same way as textinspector – you paste in a text and the tools tells you the expected level (CEFR-wise), difficult vocab, etc. It is slightly better I think, as you can click on words you want to grade and it will give you a bunch of alternatives, listing the CEFR level of each one. Here is a promo blog post for it – looks pretty good to me, and easy to use.


  • Development Editor, Adult ELT (Macmillan) – click here.
  • Senior Project Lead (Macmillan) – click here.
  • Senior Editor (Cambridge Exams Publishing) – click here.

As for freelancing, wow! It seems like there is tonnes of work about at the moment. Lots of test writing by the sounds of it.

There’s a part-time writer role on offer at an IH affiliate, Apollo Education (thanks Sandy for mentioning). Click here for info. I looked into it but despite listing the role as starting ASAP, apparently writing won’t start for a month or two, so consider that in your schedule.

Editors at National Geographic Learning are currently leading in the ‘Let’s humour this pushy guy who keeps asking for work’ stakes. I’ve had a 100% response rate from my speculative messages to them. Content Station are in second. OUP, as usual, are in last place ☹.


Although Ready to Run is not a new release, it’s been gaining quite a bit of publicity since it won an ELTon earlier in the year. I’ve reviewed it for ETAS, and this should hopefully appear by the end of the year. In the meantime, if you’re thinking of subscribing to the resource or using it as part of a syllabus, feel free to get in touch an I can share the pros and cons (views my own of course!).

Review of A-Z of ESOL for IATEFL Voices. Overall, a good resource.

Review of ‘Spoken Grammar’ training course on Udemy. Brilliant.

A review of Cambridge English Empower by Amanda Momeni.


If you only read one materials writing related thing this month…

Look out for interesting interviews with writers and editors appearing on Atena’s blog! You can see the first in her new series here. Disclaimer: it’s an interview with me… Self-promo, why not?

Categories: General, materials writing

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1 reply

  1. Thanks for the mention /”ping-back” 🙂

    Also, super interesting random things you’ve been reading up on recently! I bet ELT materials writers would be an amazing team in a pub quiz! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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