Books to Order

For Teachers

Zero Prep

by Laurel Pollard and Natalie Hess

Okay, it's a cliché to say a book changed your life, but this book changed mine. It cut my prep time down to minutes. It showed me how to teach for two hours using only half a page of notes.

Turn your announcements into a listening activity. Get a class of reluctant beginners talking with Tell It Like It Isn't. Use any set of directions to create an Acting-Out Dictacomp -- an activity that combines TPR with writing and also promotes cooperation. Do the unimaginable and make sentence structure a source of entertainment with Sentence Contraction and Expansion. 

Do all this without staying up late the night before class to make up worksheets and preview vocabulary. As the back cover says, "When teachers teach less, students learn more!"

Change your life for just $33.95. Click here for details.


Easy Novels for Students

Just Like a Movie

by Sue Leather

Cambridge University Press: English Readers, Level 1
32 pages

Sue Leather, author of this book and several others, spoke at a conference I attended. She said she had a tendency to write murder mysteries; sometimes she tried to write a romance, but a corpse always found its way into the story. That tendency is clearly at work here.

I'm a handyman, like I told you. I mean, I was a handyman. I worked on houses and office buildings in Toronto. Hard work and not a lot of money. Well, one day I did some work in Rosedale, the rich area of Toronto. Really rich. I was at a house. Carrie's house. I met her there . . .

Brad Black, the narrator, is self-centered and greedy -- but he knows how to make women trust him. When he meets wealthy, lonely Carrie, he decides to marry her for her money. He figures he'll go back to his real love, Gina, and live happily ever after, once he arranges for Carrie to have an "accident".

Brad's seen too many movies. He learns the hard way that life isn't like one. Although he's not a likeable character, and certainly not a hero, his story is compelling right up to the end.

This is very easy reading, but the themes of exploitation and murder make it a book for adults.

 Just $5.89 at


Help When Needed

by Tana Reiff

"I always sing while I work," said Callie. "It helps me pass the time. I could have been a famous singer, you know."
"Why aren't you?" asked Sarah. "How come no one ever heard of you? How come you are a hotel maid instead of a hotel singer?"
"I didn't get the right breaks!" laughed Callie.

Anyone who's had a boss constantly looking over his shoulder, or a boss who can't be found when needed -- most people, in other words -- will be able to identify with the main characters in this book.

Callie sings all day, disturbing guests, the other maids, and everyone else except her supervisor. Mrs. Banks is usually checking up on Sarah, who resents it and lets her know. There's a emotional staff meeting and a flood in one of the rooms before everyone manages to come up with a commonsense solution.

For beginners and up. The text is formatted in short, centered lines, and comprehension questions follow each chapter.

Priced from $12.75 (US) -- Click here to find out more

The Last War

by Martyn Godfrey

"Everybody wants to find a way to be the last one alive."

The question is why anyone would want to stay alive in the horrific world of this novel. Yet they do, battling feral dogs, rats, radiation sickness, and each other.

Teens Brad and Angel meet near Montreal after a nuclear war. He's scavenging a few cans of dog food to eat. She's dirty and angry, but still wearing her grandmother's pearls. They spend two days together, talking about the past and scrambling to stay alive.

In one especially harrowing scene, they're attacked by a huge pack of rats, who've grown bold and hungry enough to prey on humans.

There's no happy ending here, just the emotional connection to the two doomed kids.

For intermediates and up. Definitely also for mature students.

Priced from $13.47 -- Click here to learn more


The Rip-Offs

by Tana Reiff

What do you do when your friends at work are stealing from your employer? That's the question that confronts Wendy, a young Korean immigrant working in a big-box store.

The trouble begins when Wendy's manager, needing a gift for a baby shower, helps herself to some merchandise. Being a clear-cut case of theft, this is dealt with quickly, but Wendy realizes that it doesn't end there. Several of her co-workers are ripping off their employer in more subtle ways.

The pressure is on Wendy, from both her boss and her own conscience. She's supposed to report any dishonesty in her co-workers, but that could end up painfully isolating her.

For beginners and up. (One of my students said this was easier to read than her children's picture books.) Each chapter has comprehension/discussion questions.

Priced from $6.25. Click here to learn more.

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