Open Mind: Essentials

Dorothy E. Zemach & Ingrid Wisniewska (Macmillan)
ISBN 978-607-473-260-3
Aimed at pre-A1 level, Open Mind: Essentials is for students of English at beginner through lower intermediate levels. It comprises a student book and workbook, making it easier for students to do exercise after learning new items. A range of supplementary materials are provided with, including audio CD and online learning resources for interactive practice, which supports students’ learning and helps their self-study.

The book consists of 6 units, with reading, listening, speaking and writing practice in each, integrating all four skills appropriately. Each unit ends with a section of language ‘wrap-up’ which helps learners consolidate knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and useful phrases they have learned in the unit. Grammar and vocabulary are introduced through listening and reading texts. One particular aspect I think is quite good is that each unit includes a section of life skill, which not only help students become independent language users, but also promotes the development of high-order thinking skills that are necessary for success within the social, cultural, and professional domains of today’s world. Materials used in the book are authentic and up-to-date to an acceptable degree. Besides, materials used have intrinsic interest and will appear relevant and interesting to learners. For instance, pictures of celebrities in Unit 1 will motivate students.
Yuan Yuan
University of Edinburgh (Student)
(February 2012)