ESL Textbooks

ESL Textbooks I recommend for Adult Learners of English

by Cheema Beckham

The common misconception about textbooks is that they are the most boring books on the planet. The primary reason for this misconception is that the textbooks do not just offer what you want to read, but they help teachers to teach everything that is necessary for mastering ESL. Therefore textbooks for ESL contain many topics that seem dry and boring to some, but they are essential for a wholesome learning experience.

The grammar needed for students is covered by most good textbooks, though at times, the text can be dry.

This concept has changed to some extent in the past few years because of the introduction of innovative and novel ideas by the writers of textbooks. These books have been revolutionized over the past couple of years and are now based on the latest techniques of teaching ESL in an interesting and attention-grabbing way.

Today hundreds and thousands of ESL books are available in the market and every author claims to have produced the best book for ESL teachers and students. Everyone claims that their textbook serves the purpose of teaching in the best possible way and are better than others in every respect.

A textbook is supposed to cover each and every aspect of the subject in an engaging and systematic method. In this article, I shall be telling you about some of the best textbooks I recommend for adult learners of English:-

1. Interchange Third Edition

“Interchange Third Edition” is one of the fore-runners in the field of EFL textbooks. Interchange is the World’s most successful series of textbooks for adult learners. I grade it as the best textbook for developing speaking, listening and other language skills of ESL students. It can prove to be an ESL teacher’s best companion.

2. Touchstone

Touchstone is another marvelous series for ESL teachers. It is an innovative and novel series of ESL textbooks, specifically designed for adult learners. It encompasses a large database of daily conversations and sentences/ phrases for teaching the proper daily use of the English language. It offers a variety of modern ideas for teachers - increasing the interest of students in the class.

3. Passages

Suggested as a follow up textbook after completing the three levels of Interchange. Similar to Interchange it is a very grammar based series.

It is a series of books designed for advanced and high-intermediate learners. It covers a nice communicative methodology and emphasizes the fluency and accuracy of the spoken as well as written English.

4. Voyager

Voyager is another modern series for teaching ESL to adult students. It is one of the leaders in the way of engaging and giving power to students. This 9-level program is one of the best selling ESL programs and provides a solid foundation for a balanced and methodical learning experience.

Some other ESL textbooks can also be bought off the shelf, but the above listed books/ series are the leaders in their field. These are the ESL textbooks I recommend for adult learners of English because of their innovative styles, step-by-step learning approach and help they provide.

About the Author:

Cheema Beckham is a part-time English Teacher in Pakistan.

More on ESL Textbooks

by Kevin R Burns

North Star Series for reading and writing.

(Pearson Longman)

We used this at the university I teach at in Japan. It was a challenge for teachers and students. The level was often not quite right for the students and the subject matter challenged them ie) on jobs, which future job would you like?

When you are 18, though it is good to think about, it is a challenging topic. That said, I felt it was good that they started to discuss it and write about it through the textbook.

I feel for a top level university in Japan, as a core reading and writing text, or at an Eikaiwa school as a supplemental text, North Star would be a good choice if you want you students to do some reading and writing.

Topics like extreme sports were of more interest to our students. One of the texts in the series had a unit on games, which of course interested our university students.

I can definitely recommend North Star as a supplemental text for some of your classes, or as a core text possibly, if your students are pretty adept at English (pre-intermediate level) or higher.

Passport to Work

(Oxford University Press)

I have used Passport to Work both at Kevin`s English Schools and at Tokai University. I feel it is a very practical text for those who are or may go to work abroad, either for a short time on a business trip, or for an extended period.

It is more of an introductory text for basic conversations that might occur at work ie) Asking how to use the photocopier or asking where the cafeteria is.

The book is easy to use, and that is a plus for the busy teacher.

Business Result

Also by Oxford University Press. If you are looking for a more meaty and more challenging business textbook for your students, I recommend Business Result. It comes in a few different levels and is designed for the serious business student who wants to brush up on business related English and improve her business acumen.

If Passport to Work is your beginner`s text, then the Business Result books would go on from there.


elementary, pre-intermediate (which I am using), intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced.

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