Materials writing news and views, March 2023

Things I learnt yesterday:

  • If you don’t add a raising agent to cake flour it makes bricks, not cakes.
  • ‘Cake flour’ is a rubbish name for ‘cake flour’.

Happy Mother’s Day.

New releases

I haven’t done an update since January so there are tons of new releases!

ABC Culture, Pearson Italia. Lower Secondary

War of the Worlds Penguin Reader, A1, graphic novel style! Sounds good.

Kris Kirby’s new Grammar in Focus A2+ for Dinternal Education!

Readers for young adults from ESL Reads:

  • I think I shared Kids Can from Macmillan Poland before? But saw someone promote maybe a new level of it? Can’t remember exactly.
  • You can’t really avoid promo for Kid’s Box New Generation (Cambridge)! There are some webinars coming up related to using the resource in the Primary Classroom, see here if interested.
  • Marbles! The brand new six-level course for young learners! Helbling, authors make a good band name: Puchta, Biggs and Osborn.
  • Evolve from Cambridge – six levels, ‘get students speaking with confidence’. American English, young adults, among the list of big-name authors is Philip Kerr!!!
  • Master It! Preliminary B1 for Schools, Howell and Dobson, published by Zanichelli which was a new one for me.
  • Smart Speech second edition, Geoff Lindsey.
  • Insight from OUP, a five level English course for secondary students.
  • Academic Writing – Matering Citation and Referencing, by Paul Murphy. See my review here.

English as a Second Language Practice Tests from Cambridge:


PCE Warm-up Webinar. Register here.

Walton Burns delivered another PCE Warm-up Webinar on 25th Feb on self-publishing, which you can find through the IATEFL Dashboard.

There’s the PCE in April. Interesting line-up and topic.

Hybrid, cool. I wonder what the IATEFL online coverage is going to be like this year.

TEFL Training Institute

I’ve just reviewed this podcast for IATEFL Voices. I’ve listened to quite a few episodes over the last few years, but I didn’t release just how many episodes there were related to materials writing (often coursebooks). Here are some examples:

Research / Academic stuff

Item writing

Fatima Losonci discussing item writing with John Hughes


Kath Bilsbrough on copyright. Good advice there on ‘royalty free!’, I didn’t realise that.

What talks were on at IATEFL Brighton on the 2nd April 1997?

Thanks for asking. Well…

ELT Publishing Professionals

And an online event

Actually there are quite a few CPD events coming up through ELT PP this year, worth checking out here.

General resources and blog posts:

  • Peter Fullagar continues to add to his lesson bank of DEI-related resources.
  • Silvina Mascitti still regularly sharing resources which remain popular.
  • Miguel at OnthesamepageELT reflects on his coursebook experiences!
  • Carlos Gontow pops up on my LinkedIn feed all the time, normally promoting ‘Grammar on Stage!’ He always seems to be doing a silly dance or something just to give his work a bit of a platform (a stage). I’m sharing his site! Why not.
  • I reviewed ‘Memory: What Every Language Teacher Should Know’, which is certainly useful for materials writers.
  • There was an ‘interview with the host’ back in Jan on ELTCPD with Billi Jago talking about the move into freelancing.
  • Harry Waters is surprisingly absent from today’s post – I don’t see much of his promo anymore! I better check that I click on the bell for notifications. To be fair, I’ve moved away from materials writing a bit in the last few months so I might be missing tons of other stuff here. Let me know what you’re doing Harry!

Sponge chats – materials writing and OtterELT with Billie Jago and Laura Broadbent

‘National Institute for Direct Instruction’

I rarely used the term ‘direct instruction’ when working in TEFL. I come across it a lot more after following more subject teachers on social media, and since moving into EAL. I wonder if the reason I didn’t use it that much is because there really doesn’t seem to be one agreed definition for what direct instruction actually is, and there’s a lot of talking at cross-purposes!

I came across sample resources for English language learning from the National Institute for Direction Instruction (see here. The ‘Look Inside!’ bit). Wow, 100 lessons of 90-minutes using an explicit, systematic instructional model. I’d be interested to learn more about the progression within a level, but in what context could you see this being applied? A ‘mastery’ approach to functional English for young learners, fitting within the time constraints of a mainstream curriculum…? I’m not sure…

What have I been up to?

  • I had a positive experience with one publisher recently. I was taken on for a project, the scope of the project changed and I wasn’t the best fit, we chatted it through and agreed to part ways, they gave me ‘gesture of good will’ payment. Awesome. PING! Right to the top of my Christmas card list and just made me wish we could have made it work.
  • In other news, I’m still waiting for a contract for a project I began in October.
  • I’m working on a cool e-booklet thingy with an EAL colleague.

If you only read one ELT materials related thing this month

Geoff Jordan is looking for reviewers for his book. I’ve had a flick through the sample and there’s lots in there that relates to materials development. Maybe get in touch with him through Twitter if interested? I’d love to see a Sponge ELT review of this one, Jim?

Categories: General, materials writing

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1 reply

  1. What a comprehensive update with so much to review. I shall check out the podcast from the TEFL Training Institute – some great interviews there already.

    Liked by 1 person

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