Callan's Beginner Essentials with illustrations by Mark Perrault is a skill building book geared for literacy and low beginner ESL / EFL students with little knowledge of the sounds and letters or spelling conventions of English.
The book uses mainly simple 2-6 letter words to exemplify English sounds and spelling conventions. Each picture page, where students listen and write the letter they hear, is followed by a grammar page where students practice one of the following questions and short answers, using the vocabulary from the previous page.
- "What is it?"
- "What are they?"
- "Do you....?"
- "Is it a....?"
- "Are they....?"
- "Is there....?"
- "Are there....?"
- "How many....?'
- "Are you....?"
- "Is he/she....?"
- "Is it a.... or a ....?"
Up until page 75, students are given the template of how to answer. (eg. Yes, it is. / No, it isn't.) As of page 75, no template is given and students are required to answer mixed questions without guidance.
The book is "sanitized for your protection", meaning that you will not find odd, low frequency words or pictures students do not readily understand. Teacher and student frustration are thereby minimized.
Check below for sample pages. Check out these classroom matching cards and bingo cards.
You can find a table of contents HERE.
View a review of Callan's Beginner Essentials by Kelly Morrissey below:
"I want to just start first by telling you the two things right off the bat that I like most about the jobs that Nancy Callan has done on this book.
"She has gone to great lengths to ensure that the images used are not ambiguous to the students. I appreciate that the other things she's done is she has done her best to ensure that high frequency words have been used to exemplify sounds and letters not low frequency words. So when you're working on the P sound you may find P is for pencil or P is for pen but not P is for Porcupine and I really do appreciate that because we know that not all publishers pay attention to those details that make so much difference in the lives of us, the literacy teachers.
"...so much packed into the slender volume and I consider this a beginner essential assistant essential. I consider this to be a must-have book for ESL literacy teacher in Canada or elsewhere teaching English. So I have my copy now, my school has bought one and as soon as my colleagues who teach literacy and lower levels see it, I think they're going to want one for their classrooms as well and I highly recommend it! I think it's it's going to be just a standard for every school in every literacy classroom."