I’m not a fan of Halloween – I believe there’s no point in scaring evil spirits away if they manage to roam free on earth just once a year. Yet the long and mysterious October evenings prompt us to spin dark tales accompanied by the sound of rain and wind against windows.
Every story is a lesson worth learning
I’m a fan of stories – I could do a lot to hear a good tale. From fairy tales, to creepy pastas, from RPG sessions to TV series, I believe every story is a lesson in disguise, ready to be learned and enjoyed. So when I hear of an opportunity to learn English by storytelling, I immediately jump at the occasion to test it.
I’m a fan of well-organised teaching tools, I like when you start working with a book and it’s like a proper tour guide that takes you on a journey where you learn the language, but you still know where you’re going.
Learning English through stories
These are probably the reasons I was told I’ll like Angielski: Historie by Preston Publishing. 15 characters, 67 stories, audio versions and a lot of exercises – what’s not to like? You’ll meet a typical American family whose life gets somewhat disturbed by George Clooney, a traditional Japanese family that moves to the US and quickly discover they are not as traditional as they thought… and since it is I who reviews this book for you I must say you’ll also read some darker themes with creepy Disney employees and real Italian mafia (oh, you’ll also visit Russian labs, Chinese factories and meet a translator who gets some really interesting texts to work on…).
All in all, the stories are good – the “I really had fun reading them” kind of fun. Each story is followed by a short dictionary and a set of follow-up questions. In-between chunks of stories (“months”) you’ll find more exercises where you can practice grammar, vocabulary, use of English etc. To make it all the better, it’s perfectly organised from very simple texts to more complex tales. Brilliant!
Listen to the story
A nice feature is definitely the audio part, as you can not only read, but also listen to all the stories. And, what I find particularly interesting, you may choose either British or American version – which may be a great treat for more advanced students who want to see the differences in pronunciation and accent. What is more, you’ll find a short guide at the beginning of the book on how to work with listening material and how regular listening (even if it’s just in the background) will help you develop your potential.
Apart from being a nice self-study book, I got inspired with some ideas on how to use this book in the classroom:
- Spot the difference! – choose one story and play both audio versions. Ask your students to note down the differences between British and American English.
- What happened next? – once you cover the whole storyline, discuss with the students what happened after the story finale. Will Denise become a ballerina? What about Ronnie Perkins and his father?
- Get to the bottom of it! – some stories leave some space for interpretation. Wouldn’t you like to know why Nancy didn’t call her husband that one night? And did Ines break up with her boyfriend? (I mean, it’s not in the book, hmm…). Make stories a little bit darker, funnier, add a twist – your students will love coming up with new facts and their interpretation!
The best stories need good listeners. As I said, I love storytelling, and using storytelling in the classroom is my favourite way to teach English. Preston Publishing has three copies of Angielski: historie to give to three people who will share their favourite storytelling activities.
How to win a copy? Simply describe your favourite activity either in the comment section below or on my FB page below the link to this note. On 31/10/2019 I will choose three that I like best and contact the winners.
Angielski historie z ćwiczeniami