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ESL Writing textbooks

Updated on June 2, 2015

My Top Choices for ESL Writing Textbooks

Are you teaching an English as a Second Language writing class? Then this is the site for you! A writing textbook can make or break your class, even more so than in a speaking or general English class. This is because a lot of your class will be spent actually using the book, and following it, step by step as your students acquire the skills of the writing process.

If you choose a book at the wrong level, or that's poorly written and confusing, it can be extremely hard to overcome and make your class interesting. But, if you choose an interesting book that's engaging and designed well, your class will almost surely be successful. Your students will understand the process of writing and will hopefully become very good English writers.

What is the process approach to writing?

This approach to teaching English writing focuses on the process as opposed the final product. The class focuses upon things like brainstorming, editing and group discussion. The aim is to teach students the skills that they can apply to any situation where they will have to write, and not necessarily how to write in a certain way, for a certain genre.

What is the Product Approach to Writing

This is the more traditional approach to teaching English writing, where the focus in on analyzing and imitating a model text. There are various approaches, but usually the model text is presented early on in the process. While the product approach can have things in it like brainstorming and editing, the focus in more on how closely the student's work replicates the features of the specific genre.

Which style to do you use?

Process or Product Approach to writing

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Get Ready to Write

This is the perfect choice in ESL Writing textbook for middle, high school or university students who are beginning writers. It starts with the basics like punctuation, capitalization and moves onto sentence formation. It's perfect for the beginner, or false beginner.

Ready to Write 1

This is the next step after "Get Ready to Write." It reviews things like punctuation and capitalization and then moves onto sentence formation. It's perfect for high beginners who've had some exposure to English writing.

Ready to Write 2

Ready to Write 2 works on perfecting paragraphs. It's an excellent choice for lower-mid intermediate level high-school, university or adult students.

Ready to Write 3

The final book in the series, this one focuses on moving from paragraphs into essays. It's the perfect choice for upper-intermediate or advanced level students.

Which age group are you teaching?

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How to teach English Writing

Tips for Teaching a Multi-Level Writing Class

While it's not easy to teach a multi-level writing class, it's often the reality. Often students are grouped according to the grammar/vocabulary or speaking ability, but they can actually have widely varying writing abilities. I've had classes with students who couldn't write a simple sentence with the correct punctuation and those who could almost write 5 paragraph essays with little assistance. Here are some of my top tips for dealing with this situation

1. Choose a book that's at the easier end of your student's abilities. It's MUCH easier to assign harder assignments/longer essays, etc for the top students than to "dumb-down" a book that is too difficult.

2. Put students in groups according to their abilities for things like peer-editing and brainstorming. It will be very frustrating for the highest level student to have to edit the lowest level student in the class.

3. Assign much of the writing for homework, so that you can take it home and spend a significant amount of time editing/grading. If you try to do it all in class, you'll feel very stressed out with larger classes. It's better to use that time to help students who have questions.

The Great Writing Series - An excellent choice for your English Writing Class

This book is a great choice for high school, university or adult students. It ranges from beginner to adult and the series is well-designed, organized and engaging.

What's your Favorite ESL Writing textbook?

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