THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What shall I read?

A Book is a Beautiful Thing

I am usually asked this question: What do you recommend reading to learn English at my level? As if there existed the answer to such a question! (or I were the person to answer it). Whitman's words in the great poem Song of Myself come to my rescue:

"You must find out for yourself"

So as a teacher, I will confine myself to help you find out for yourselves.

Here is a site I think you will like:

Library Thing

Basically, it is a spot for people to list the books on their shelves at home and then discuss them with like-minded readers.

My site rating 5/5:

  • Well organised
  • intuitive interface
  • no private info required
  • up to 200 books listed for free
  • and best of all: no need to download anything!

This is what I a call a very good website.

How can that site help me with my exam preparation?

I knew you would ask that. Well, for starters...

  1. You can find your set texts
  2. Read what real people are saying about them
  3. Leave your own comment and practice your English in a real –should I say virtual- situation!

You might even find a pal there who, surprisingly enough, has read the same books you love. Nice thing, isn't it?

Then if you refine your search a bit, you may find opinions that sound natural and full of that vocabulary you need when you are asked to review a book for your set text question. You are not supposed to imitate a New York Times book critic in your exam composition. Nope.

We are trying to learn words people like you or me use when talking books. Perhaps you have noticed that most FCE course books teach you adjectives to describe people, places, ways of looking, ways of you-name-it, but what's missing? Words for those books you adore, other than 'great' or 'very good'.

Let’s try it out together

Here I’ve created an fceblog group for you (a kind of book talk forum). Want to join the discussion? If you can't figure out how to join through the site, leave us your user name to get an invitation. If you create one for your own classmates, leave us a message or a comment here to find you!

And where are the links to all exam set texts?
I told you, you must find out for yourselves...

Ok, ok. Here is just a sample in my own catalogue:

I chose those editions just because other people have saved them, so we are not alone there. Not that I mean to recommend them...(some are pretty expensive actually!).

On second thoughts, I do recommend reading any edition of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. By far an awesome, flabberghasting book!


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  • Hi Claudia,

    Thanks for sharing this introduction to choices of what to read, to, and to your reading focus group there (.../groups/fceblog), in discussion of how Shelfari compares (LearningwithComputers group, c. 2008.08...[no date on recent post]). Your five for five rating is telling, especially if intuitiveness translates as ease of use for learners.

    By Blogger Paul Beaufait, At 11:21 pm  

  • Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your comment. You just hit the mark: it is the students' perspective that matters. I think us teachers are easily adapting to so many varied environments.

    By Blogger Claudia Ceraso, At 11:27 pm  

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