Tower Talk: Junior High 1 textbook is live

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The wrap-around cover for the paperback of my latest textbook available now from Amazon.

I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself, having just published my latest textbook for non-native learners of English. I’ll start using it myself from April to teach a bunch of first-year Japanese junior high school students. But I was in a hurry to finish and publish it now as a friend might be interested in buying copies to teach her junior high school kids.

I’ll save the sales blurb and sample page for the end of this post, but just wanted to note that for anyone harbouring similar plans to self-publish their own textbooks, this is the second one I’ve published via Kindle Direct Publishing. The programme has the disadvantage of currently not allowing you to buy copies at cost price, as Create Space does, meaning you cannot give a discount to bulk buyers, but it has the enormous advantage of offering print-on-demand services anywhere there’s an Amazon site.

What does that mean?  It means instead of waiting two weeks for a box of books to arrive from America, customers in Japan can order a single book (or multiple copies) and have it in their hands the next day because it’s printed here, not in North Carolina as the Create Space books were. I’ll see how this works out, but for now speed and convenience beats price flexibility.

The book is available from all Amazon sites, including the Japan site right here.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

The Tower Talk series is the main combined text and workbook for children and teenagers taking weekly lessons at Tower English school in Abiko, Japan. This book is intended for non-native leaners of English, typically in their first year of junior high school. But the book is designed to be of equal use to the child studying English at home with the help of a parent English-speaker. Tower Talk Junior High 1 provides 45 clearly structured lessons that children take throughout one year of study.

Each lesson is presented over a double-page spread that is designed to be the main element of a 45-minute class or home-study lesson. The textbook examples of target language are on the left of every lesson, with the workbook exercises for students to complete typically on the right. The lessons in this book are organised into groups of two following a topic, such as travel, school or entertainment. The first of each lesson is a sample speech with options for students to change to make their own speech on the topic. The second lesson is designed to focus on grammar or vocabulary with a chance to use new forms through prompts to write and speak. Each lesson is designed to build on students’ existing knowledge and expose them to new language structures that they can make their own with practice. But at the same time, students are following a syllabus that will give them a thorough foundation in English, covering every major grammar form they will encounter in their first year of junior high school.

The Tower Talk syllabus complements the Oxford University Press Let’s Go series (popular with private schools) and the Sunshine series that 40% of all junior high school students in Japan use to learn English, but with some major differences: A clearer focus on what the student can learn lesson by lesson, which helps the teacher and parent alike know what the student is doing in the classroom. Four “Homestay” lessons are spread through the book to offer review practice for students with the theme of useful communicative language for their likely first experiences of speaking English outside of the classroom.

Even while learning grammar and doing reading exercises, the focus is on building up a store of useful English expressions that students can use in realistic situations to communicate through building their active skills of speaking and writing. I hope your budding English-speaker enjoys using this book as much as I had creating it.

Highlights:

1. 45 clearly structured lessons that children take throughout one year of weekly lessons.

2. Each lesson is presented over a double page spread that is designed to be the main element of a 45-minute class or home-study session.

3. The textbook examples of target language are on the left of every lesson, with the workbook exercises on the right.

4. The lessons are organised into groups of two following a single topic.

5. The first of each topic is designed as a lesson for the student to write and deliver their own speech.

6. The second lesson focuses on grammar or vocabulary with a chance to use new language through prompts to write and speak.

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An example lesson on giving a speech about school clubs.

Available from Amazon sites including the .com here, the UK here and Japan, here.

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