If you are looking for ESL workbooks to use with your students, either
in class or for them to use as homework tasks, then you have a number
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Workbooks linked to course books
If you are using a particular course book with your students, then it
makes sense to use the workbook associated with the title.
Popular course books such as Cutting Edge, Inside Out, International
Express – in fact most titles – also have a workbook.
Sometimes the workbooks come in different editions: with or without
answers, and with or without a DVD or CD-ROM.
There are advantages to these ESL workbooks:
Firstly, they will follow the same syllabus as the course book and will
provide exercises that build on what the students have already done.
They will reinforce the teaching that has taken place in the classroom.
If you are using these books for homework, the big advantage
that they are great for self-study as they can usually be purchased
with the answers in them. This means less marking for the teachers!
The course workbooks also have a mixture of activities. They usually
include grammar exercises, vocabulary, pronunciation activities,
reading and sometimes listening.
The biggest disadvantage
of these books is that they can be expensive. Also, they don't really
offer much visual variety to students as they will be in the same
format as the course books.
If you want to find something that is different from the course book,
or if you are not using a course book, then there are many alternatives.
Some of my favorites are the Oxford
English Grammar Course
, and the English
in Use Series
. Both are suitable for self study or, to
supplement activities in the classroom.
Unlike the workbooks associated with course books, they usually have
grammar explanations followed by practice questions.
of these are that they are not usually very interesting visually, and
that they usually only practice grammar skills.
There are many other options, such as the English
Short Stories book and workbook
Make your own workbooks
If you don't like, or are unable to use, either of these options, then
you can create your own workbooks for students to use.
This takes skill, time, and effort, but once you have one prepared, you
can keep it as a master copy for future use.
There are many websites with printable ESL resources, and to create
your own workbooks you can simply print out the worksheets you want,
and make them into a booklet.
You can vary the tasks, cover the elements you want to cover, and make
it as visually interesting as you like.
One big advantage
of this is that it can be cheap, it can be tailored to the
class/students you are teaching, and the students can even get involved
with its creation, perhaps selecting some of the items to be included,
or creating their own worksheets to be included in other students'
If your students have access to the internet, then they can use one of
the many websites with workbook-style activities on them as ESL
One such example is the English
This also has the advantage of breaking up a lesson and changing the
dynamics of the group for a short time.
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