Let's Teach English

Best ESL Teaching and Reference Books

ESL programs give students the chance to really learn English, while simultaneously participating in social and cultural activities within their school or community. ESL also often grants students services that can make their travels more satisfying and trouble-free.

The majority of ESL programs typically tend to be small in size; this is so that students are able to receive individual attention from their teachers, who give their attention to students one at a time in order to be able to assist them on a more personal level.

The teacher focuses on different language skills, depending on each student’s current skills, abilities, needs, and interests. The skills that are taught cover grammar, listening, reading, vocabulary, comprehension, writing and conversational English.

What is ESL?

ESL stands for English as a second language. Some may also refer to ESL as EFL, which is essentially synonymous and stands for English as a foreign language. ESL and EFL English language study programs are dedicated to non-native English speakers who wish to improve their English, such as in the case of individuals living in the United States whose first language is a language other than English.

It is very common for someone to study English through an ESL program in order to accomplish a specific goal, such as preparing for his or her studies at a particular College or University. In a case like these, students may even choose to take an English intensive program that teaches academic English additionally to the skills that are taught through an ESL program.

Others may simply want to study English through an ESL program in order to improve their English for social or even travel purposes. For example, there may be a foreign student who just moved to the United States to complete secondary school. ESL is a great opportunity in which he or she will be able to enhance his or her English communication skills; something of particular importance considering that the student just moved to the United States.

Additionally, others may wish to learn or enhance their business vocabulary and communication skills, in order to better perform in pursuing business matters in English.

1. Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics- An Engaging ESL Textbook for Advanced Students by Eric H. Roth

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Roth, Eric H. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages – 05/12/2008 (Publication Date) – Chimayo Press (Publisher)

Eric H Roth’s Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics- An Engaging ESL Textbook for Advanced Students has been used internationally in classrooms in over 40 countries. It is an innovative English as a Second Language (ESL) textbook, which includes over 1,350 questions, 250 proverbs, and American idioms, 500 quotations, 45 thematic chapters, and 500 vocabulary words. It is targeted for advanced English language learners and will help students with improving their fluency and conversational skills through discussing quotations and proverbs, reflecting on their lives, and sharing experiences. It is a textbook that can be studied by intensive English language students, as well as adults. The conversations that this ESL textbook provides are aimed to deepen speaking and critical thinking skills, which are critical and especially required in English speaking university and college programs.

2. The Ultimate ESL Teaching Manual: No textbooks, minimal equipment just fantastic lessons anywhere (The Ultimate ESL Teaching Series) by Andromeda Jones

  • Jones, Andromeda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 325 Pages – 09/21/2016 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

The Ultimate ESL Teaching Manual by Andromeda Jones is the ultimate textbook for English language teachers who are seeking to greater their knowledge in teaching English as a Second Language, both in the classroom and/or online. The textbook provides the entirety of what you need to know as an ESL teacher, with lessons focused on the methodology of language learning through speaking practice. This textbook obtains over 60 vocabulary sets that cover a great array of levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and super-advanced. It also has a step-by-step guide to teaching the basics of daily English grammar. An appendix of illustrated worksheets is provided at the very back, which owners of the Manual are able to download in high resolution from the book’s website. The lessons provided are entirely planned out, this way cutting down any excess preparation time. Students can easily be kept engaged, through follow-on activities including problem-solving activities, role plays, and games.

3. Practice Makes Perfect Basic English, Second Edition by Julie Lachance


  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Lachance, Julie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages – 07/21/2015 (Publication Date) – McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

Practice Makes Perfect Basic English by Julie Lachance is a bestselling complete English language study program workbook. The program includes 53 “bite-sized” lessons and 125 entertaining exercises with grammar review, in addition to 40 streaming audio recordings of pronunciation exercises with a progress tracker via the exclusive McGraw-Hill Education Language Lab web and mobile app. The workbook is split into three-page units covering each subject, which can be completed in a span of 10 to 15 minutes. This second edition workbook is equipped with new scramble sentence exercises and word search puzzles, along with additional exercises for a rigorous review of verb tenses and new chapters on the future perfect tense.

4. Practice Makes Perfect English Grammar for ESL Learners by Ed Swick


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Practice Makes Perfect: English Grammar for ESL Learners, Third Edition

  • Swick, Ed (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages – 06/11/2018 (Publication Date) – McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

Practice Makes Perfect English Grammar for ESL Learners by Ed Swick is a textbook that will give guidance to help students build a solid foundation in understanding the rules and elements of English grammar particularly. This textbook has over 100 goal-oriented exercises, explained with especially simple and easy-to-understand English. Along with these exercises is a complete overview of grammar for the English language which is provided to help increase students’ confidence in English writing and communication. The review section in the back of the textbook is also available to help students test and polish their overall comprehension. The format that this textbook offers is aimed to ultimately perfect students’ English grammar skills in a quick and efficient period of time.

5. ESL Classroom Activities for Teens and Adults by Shelley Ann Vernon

  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Vernon, Shelley Ann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages – 07/09/2012 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

ESL Classroom Activities for Teens and Adults by Shelley Ann Vernon consists of 175 prepared activities, quizzes, and games that are made for students of all English learning levels, teens and adults included, and for a wide range of group sizes. This textbook will help teachers to engage and motivate their students with variants to make learning English fun and effective. It is known as a “fun-filled” book of classroom activities for ESL and EFL teachers. If you are looking to build more fun, energy, comfort, and confidence in your ESL student group, then this is the textbook for you as an ESL or EFL teacher. It is a great resource for schools and afterschool programs.

This textbook also offers a free bonus section, which grants teachers access to a 70-page printable appendix of ready-made templates for additional elaborate games.

6. The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide by Larry Ferlazzo

  • Provides research-based teaching techniques which have proven effective with English learners at all proficiency levels
  • Offers thematic units complete with reproducible forms and worksheets, sample lesson plans, and sample student assignments
  • The book’s ESL lessons connect to core standards and technology applications
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ferlazzo, Larry (Author)

The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide by Larry Ferlazzo is an important hands-on resource for ESL and EFL teachers at all levels, who want to teach English to English learners of all proficiency levels and can be used for students in kindergarten all the way through college. The textbook offers thematic units that are complete with sample student assignments, reproducible forms and worksheets, and sample lesson plans which connect to core standards and technology applications.

The author, Larry Ferlazzo has won numerous awards, including the grand prize of the International Reading Association Award for Technology and Reading. He has created practical strategies that will help teachers create a motivating, friendly and interactive ESL classroom, while also helping teachers to effectively communicate with parents of ESL students.

7. Easy English Step-by-Step for ESL Learners: Master English Communication Proficiency–FAST! by Danielle Pelletier

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Pelletier, Danielle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 631 Pages – 06/13/2014 (Publication Date) – McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

Easy English Step-by-Step for ESL Learners: Master English Communication Proficiency–FAST! by Danielle Pelletier is, as its title suggests, a textbook created for learning English as a second language easily, quickly, and effectively. Danielle Pelletier’s technique in creating a resource that provides a quick route to learning the English language is based on learning a solid foundation of the basics of the English language. The textbook is equipped with original explanations of important concepts, that are linked with the appropriate exercises that will help students master the English language.

Danielle Pelletier’s step-by-step approach includes easy-to-understand grammar explanations including multiple examples, realistic conversations for practical scenarios—ranging from making friends to shopping or getting around town—, helpful communication strategies, incorporating the use of gestures and body language, online audio recordings that will help improve fluency and pronunciation, and exercises that will help to measure students’ progress and test what they have learned.

8. ESL Games for the Classroom: 101 Interactive Activities to Engage Your Students with Minimal Prep by Michael DiGiacomo

  • DiGiacomo, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 244 Pages – 09/11/2018 (Publication Date) – Rockridge Press (Publisher)

ESL Games for the Classroom: 101 Interactive Activities to Engage Your Students with Minimal Prep by Michael DiGiacomo is a textbook providing 101 ESL games and interactive activities that will help ESL teachers motivate their students to learn the English language with minimal preparation. These interactive activities are clearly organized, allowing teachers to constructively be able to reference games based on the difficulty level and on the skills that they are teaching. They are quick and easy to set-up, created for flexible use for groups of all sizes—big groups, small groups, or even private lessons. If you are an ESL who wishes to add productive and entertaining games to your ESL class group, then this is the book for you.

9. Learn English Life Lessons: 3 Workbooks for Basic, Beginner, and Intermediate learners with lesson plans & learner logs by Jean Geddes Ph.D., Will Gagner MA, and Roberta Breidenbach MS.

  • Geddes PhD, Jean (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 216 Pages – 10/14/2017 (Publication Date) – Bowker (Publisher)

Learn English Life Lessons: 3 Workbooks for Basic, Beginner, and Intermediate learners with lesson plans & learner logs is written by three very experienced English language instructors: Jean Geddes Ph.D., Will Gagner MA, and Roberta Breidenbach MS. It is a fun ESL textbook providing vivid illustrations that are able to engage both the teacher and the student. Three workbooks are provided, offering 30 lesson plans (which can take up to three sessions per session to complete) with easy-to-come-by props for each of the lessons and learner logs. These lessons include jazz chants, exercises, creative activities, and quizzes that can be used for students in all ESL learning levels: basic, beginners and intermediate. Students will learn everyday vocabulary words that are used in the English language and necessary everyday key life skills. Such everyday key life skills include and are not limited to making a doctor’s office appointment, traveling to another country and going through airport check-in, passport control, and security respectively, or making a report to a Police Officer. A Learner Log is also included at the very end of each lesson, which allows the students to thoroughly revise and go through everything that they learned.

10. English the American Way: A Fun ESL Guide to Language and Culture in the U.S. by Sheila MacKechnie Murtha and Jane Airey O’Connor

  • MacKechnie Murtha, Sheila (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

English the American Way: A Fun ESL Guide to Language and Culture in the U.S. is a textbook written by the two highly qualified ESL instructors Sheila MacKechnie Murtha and Jane Airey O’Connor. It is an entertaining guide covering everything American-related for English as a Second Language learner. This textbook is ideal for learners of all nationalities and all ages, who wish to specifically improve their English speaking skills and want to sound similar to a native English speaker in the United States. The textbook is split into units that include common everyday verbs, vocabulary and phrases and that are used by Americans in their common daily life. Topics covered include driving, making friends, dining out, home life, basic skills, job interviews, doctor visits, and emergency situations.

This textbook also provides an easily downloadable Mp3 file, this way granting you the opportunity to practice your speaking skills and listen along to all of the pronunciation pointers and dialogues that are embedded inside the book.

Looking for more ESL and English grammar book recommendation? Here’s an additional list


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