Books

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”

Fran Lebowitz, American author
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on books has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Books have the power to change the world; some even have the power to destroy the world. They can take you to wherever your imagination will let them. But these days, it appears many people have given up on reading, instead preferring to wait for the movie or series to come out. Perhaps at some point in the future, people will stop reading altogether? In this ESL lesson plan on books, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their favourite books and authors, and thoughts on reading.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Book Day, which takes place in April. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

World Economic Forums | The 20 most influential books in history

The article lists what it considers to be the most influential books in history, including On the Origins of Species by Charles Darwin, The Complete Works of Shakespeare and 1984 by George Orwell. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. Do they agree with the list? Can they think of any entries they disagree with? Which other books should be on the list?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “The world’s most mysterious book” by TED Ed which explores some of the theories around the Voynich Manuscript, which nobody seems to be able to decipher.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including what the students like to read, the books they read as a child, and their experience reading books in English.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with books such as bookworm, page turner and e-book. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about books. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as whether governments should continue to fund local libraries, the difference between the book and the movie, and whether or not we will stop reading books altogether in the future.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of books. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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