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Book review
Just Right - supplementary series

Just Right - the skills series
- intermediate
by Jeremy Harmer
(Marshall Cavendish)

Review written by Alistair Dickinson

We have briefly looked at Jeremy Harmer's coursebook 'Just Right', concluding that it is a worthy addition to the intermediate classroom. Here we have the skills series, four books - Just Vocabulary, Just Listening & Speaking, Just Reading & Writing & Just Grammar. Here's what the publishers say:

The "Just" series is an integrated series of four books that can be used on their own, in any combination. When used together they make a complete course with a consistent learner-centred approach. Aimed at intermediate learners, the series can be used as general preparation and revision for exams at this level. This book is designed for individual language skills development as part of either a class or self-study programme. An audio CD is included featuring vocabulary exercises, an audio script and a full answer key.

These four books are not meant to supplement the coursebook as there are quite a few similarities that would question the validity of buying both coursebook & the four skills books.

Just Right - Vocabulary

The Listening & Speaking book consists of two parts, part A the listening with 20 integrated listening tasks, & part B the speaking with 10 simple activities to promote the speaking skill.

The Reading & Writing book consists of 14 units, each unit has two reading sections followed by a writing section that focuses on a different sub-skill each time. All are integrated nicely with other skills.

The Vocabulary book is topic based, with 13 units. The treatment of the vocabulary areas is straightforward with some solid exercises to consolidate the area.

The above three books have audioscripts & answer keys at the back , as well as an accompanying CD with each.

The Grammar book consists of 14 units each of two pages for each typically intermediate grammatical area, combining explanations & written discrimination practice. There is an answer key & index in the back.

The layout of the books is attractive, with the right amount of white space, giving the impression of professionally produced learning guides.

Just Right - Listening & Speaking
Just Right - Reading & Writing
Just Right - Grammar

I really would like to use these four books as they give you the freedom to pick & choose, catering to needs & interests, with the bits that you don't cover being completed as self study - as the blurb says - a learner-centred approach. And beginning this approach with intermediate learners might help with developing more independent learners in the long run. You also have the choice of bringing in other materials at the same time.

As self-study materials, they are self explanatory & learner friendly. The four books are ideal to recommend when using a lopsided coursebook or a student asking you for supplementary material.

As the four books do not come with a teacher's book, possibly the less experienced teacher may well prefer the 'Just Right' coursebook previously reviewed. A drawback of this approach would come in systematising work covered in an institution, one central coursebook making this task easier. These books would be ideal when working with 1-1 classes & it would also appeal to the more mature class such as the corporate-based class.

To sum up, this is certainly one of the ways forward in the provision of course materials. Definitely worth checking out.

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