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Main page » Coursebooks » Only for teachers » Yesterday and Today in the U.S.A. : Intermediate ESL Reader, 2nd Edition (Student Book)

Yesterday and Today in the U.S.A. : Intermediate ESL Reader, 2nd Edition (Student Book)


The function of this book is to enhance the English proficiency of non-native speakers, while at the same time introducing them to some distinctive aspects of the American background. This approach serves the purpose of helping to adapt them both to the language and to the environment.
Members of relatively isolated other-language "ethnic communities" often need such twofold help, as do students from abroad, even when equipped with some school-acquired English. Both groups need to attain a meaningful grasp of the structure of English and an awareness of its special traits. To this end, rules or generalizations are here stated simply and economically, and are illus¬trated with examples drawn from the readings. This language material is designed so as to help students to apply what they have learned to their own speech and writing. In addition, turns-of-phrase and idioms as well as vocabulary are pre¬sented in such a manner as to alert students to connotations and to considerations of the situational appropriateness of a word, a pattern, or a particular expression. Accordingly, paraphrases are presented with indication of the style level of each alternative. Examples of such paraphrasing are given here with each selection, and the teacher can readily supplement these with further illustrations and with examples of appropriate contexts.
A short vocabulary list precedes the selection to suggest prior considera¬tion of those words, so as to make the reading (or aural) comprehension go more smoothly; and a number of short language lessons of various types follow it. These include supplementary vocabulary study, with attention to synonyms and the distinctions of meaning among them, and other semantic considerations; pronunciation; morphology; grammatical patterns and idioms. There is also a spelling lesson, emphasizing the regularities of English orthography and pointing out exceptions. Each of these various explanations and drills focuses on a problem which is likely to trouble these students, and all are based on occurrences within the accompanying selection. In addition there are questions on its subject matter as well as more general suggestive questions to stimulate discussion.
Grammatical and other explanations have been kept to a minimum. The teacher's guide gives fuller clarification as well as the rationale for the particular lesson, and suggestions for further expansions.
There is also a glossary of peculiarly American terms, each with a very brief explanation (e.g., pony express, wetback, Confederacy, Uncle Tom, dust bowl). These are chosen as significant expressions reflecting concepts and situa¬tions of American life, past and present.
The reading selections advance progressively in difficulty and in length. They do not deal with wars, politics, or the other usual topics of schoolbook history. Their subject matter is selected from phases of our background that are distinctly American, events and phenomena of human and cultural interest that have left their stamp on American life. Such material as well as the glossary terms would be meaningful and revealing to students from non-American home environments in facilitating their comprehension and interpretation of what they observe (including allusions that would otherwise baffle them), thus helping them to overcome their cultural isolation.
In this new edition exercises have been incorporated in each chapter so as to give students an opportunity to practice the newly-learned item immediately after having studied the explanation (with its illustrations). These should be useful to the teacher, too: he/she could readily expand an exercise, along the same lines, if the class seems to need further review. Following the reading and the language-learning sections, the speaking-and-writing section focuses on the productive use of English. The reading selections have been updated where pertinent, to make the information current.
The book starts out at the lower intermediate level and advances to a considerably higher one. Moreover, the manner of instruction can adapt the material to a wide range of student-proficiency levels and of ages. By varying the degree of preliminary preparation and help given in anticipation of each selection, the teacher can adjust the lesson to the needs of the students. Further flexibility is available through the choice of language materials; the teacher may use all of the accompanying lessons or cull out the pertinent ones from among them, as the occasion demands. Oral presentation of a new selection (without the student's recourse to the text) is another useful variant. Also, particularly for younger students, many of the situations presented in the readings lend themselves to dramatization or role-playing, while older pupils and the foreign-born students can readily be stimulated to discuss or debate some of the issues involved, as suggested by the "discussion questions."
Thus the material offered can be adapted and tailored to the needs of various groups of foreign students and Americans for whom English is a second language. It should substantially develop their command of the language, and incidentally their understanding of some phases of the American experience. If this leads to a more responsive attitude toward the United States, so much the better.


  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Published 2 edition (February 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0139718885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0139718885

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