Focus On Grammar - ESL Book Reviews

Focus on Grammar is one of the most popular series of textbooks designed for students learning English.

The series is now in its 3rd edition and has 5 levels:

Focus on Grammar 1
Focus on Grammar 2
Focus on Grammar 3
Focus on Grammar 4
Focus on Grammar 5

As the title suggests, the books focus on the grammar component of learning English. The units are divided into sections on various grammar topics. However, each section has reading, writing, speaking, and listening exercises that support the main grammar topic. This, of course, is in addition to the several grammar exercises.

The grammar exercises follow a similar format throughout the series, which creates a continuity that students can rely on. The exercises begin with basic structure questions achieved through fill in the blank style questions. As the unit progresses, the questions increase in difficulty and become more abstract. Common activities include correcting grammar mistakes in written work, or using time lines to compare grammar structures.

The beginning of the chapters display the grammar topic in a reading selection. These selections are modeled on real-world situations such as newspapers, email, memos, or movie reviews. This is especially useful for teachers as it provides a reading exercise that prominently features a specific grammar topic. To give you an example, one such reading discusses the movie It's a Wonderful Life and how it uses the 3rd conditional. Throughout the text, examples of the third conditional are written in bold for the students to clearly see.

The books come with a student audio CD, which is used for the listening tasks. As well, there is an Interactive CD-Rom available for purchase at an extra cost. These extra resources are an added benefit of the series.

The books are great for students learning English on their own. Yet, they are also very useful for teachers. They make a great resource for any English language school. The wealth of grammar lessons and exercises make them worth the price alone. They have excellent explanations, examples, and exercises for all the major verb tenses, conditional sentences, prepositions, noun usage, and many more important grammar topics. If I were choosing a text for an ESL course, these would be on the top of my list.

The only drawback to the Focus on Grammar series is that they have a serious approach, which makes them somewhat unsuitable for children. They are more designed for adult English learners. Adults who are serious about improving their English skills will find this series extremely helpful.

In general, Focus on Grammar is one of the best titles in the ESL textbook category. Any ESL teacher or student will be pleased with these books.

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