Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What to do with old ESL textbooks

If you're a student or have ever been one, you know that textbooks can pile up quickly and can easily end up in huge disorganized stacks that require time to sort through and tidy up. If you've been studying English for awhile, for example, chances are you've acquired a small library of ESL textbooks. Several of these are probably redundant because they are likely to teach the same grammar points. As you've probably realized by now, grammar points repeat themselves in different textbooks, especially in advanced levels.

It's time to downsize and reduce the clutter. In this digital age, there's no reason for hoarding textbooks. What's more, in this era where living simply, existing on the minimum, and organizing are becoming hip, we're constantly reminded that orderly living is now the way to go.

So where do you go from here? Well, here's a 3-step option you should consider.
1. Keep the best - Flip through all your textbooks and decide which ones you enjoyed learning from the most. Keep the ones that you could still learn from. This is your "best" stack. The "other" stack is to be sold or donated to friends, family, the library, or your school.
2. Omit redundancy - If your "best" stack is too high, look for textbooks that teach the same grammar points and choose only one to keep. The others go on the "other" stack.
3. Scan favorite exercises - Go through both your "best" and "other" stacks and look for exercises that are worth keeping. These are exercises with interesting articles or any with useful lessons that you can still learn from. Scan these exercises and save them on your computer. 

This process could take a whole day depending on how many textbooks you have accumulated. When you're finished, you should have a few favorites on your "best" stack, have several to give away or sell, and a lot of scanned exercises on your computer. 

Reusing old exercises for practice
Use your scanned exercises by printing out one or two, laminating them, and placing them on your coffee table to read now and then. Once you've mastered the exercises with their vocabulary, grammar points, and sentence structures, pass them on to friends who are learning English, then print and laminate a couple more for your own practice.

When it comes to language learning, practice truly makes perfect. It's never enough to understand a grammar point, to hear how a word is pronounced, or to learn an idiom. You should practice, repeat, and practice some more. This is how you make English a natural part of you.

Best of luck in your language learning. Please post your comments and questions here or at any of our pages mentioned below.

stack (n) - pile
acquire (v) - get; receive
redundant (adj) - repetitive; extra
downsize (v) - make smaller or simpler
clutter (n) - mess [to clutter - to make a mess]
hoard (v) - to store; not throw away (things) 
hip (adj) - trendy; in style
the way to go - the right way
worth keeping - has value
accumulate (v) - gather more and more things gradually
laminate (v) - cover; protect in a layer of (plastic) 
master (v) - be an expert in; know very well

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1 comment:

  1. You could donate them to they often donate books to needy ESL categories.