Review written by Thomas Simon
The Resource Books of Multi-level Skill Activities (Cambridge Copy Collection) are a very useful addition. The four books provide that much sought after supplementary material that teachers need to make the coursebook a bit more interesting. They can also be used as the basis for the course itself.
Each book consists of eighteen units & all four books follow the same unit headings. Within each unit there are three activities, fifty four activities in each book, but these do not match in theme between books. This is just as well as it would become too much like a coursebook, defeating the purpose of the series & stifling the variety of activity.
So, within each unit there are three activities - two pages for each level, elementary, intermediate & upper intermediate - six pages in total per unit, & each activity consists of two pages, the first the teacher's instructions & the second the photocopiable student material. The teacher's pages give basic information on the activity; Level, Topic, Activity type, Focus, Time, Key Language & Preparation - & then goes on to give a series of sensible, clearly tried & tested, procedural instructions.
All of the books are in black & white,clearly & attractively laid out, A4 size & are pitched at 16+ adult learners between elementary & upper intermediate levels.
Listening Extra is accompanied with two cds & the quality of the texts is very good. The dialogues & monologues are all scripted, & provide a wide variety of text types, activity tasks & listening skills development.
Speaking Extra recycles & attractively presents speaking tasks found elsewhere, as well as introducing some new, motivating tasks. It is also accompanied with a cd, the listenings used as a springboard into the speaking.
Writing Extra develops awareness of written styles & genres, so that the students produce texts through 'informed criticism'. As with the other books, there is the mix of real world & the fun topics.
Reading Extra, as with the Listening Extra, provides a wide variety of interesting text types that the students can respond to through discussion or problem solving tasks.
These four books can easily be used together, linking in from book to book & integrating the skills, or separately as resource books to dip into occasionally. A short intensive course could easily be based around these materials. For the new teacher the books would certainly train in procedure, variety & skills. If you haven't already got them, Resource Books of Multi-level Skill Activities should be in your staffroom