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1 Anne Ralston Ling 583

Grammar and Beyond, Level 1 Randi Reppen, 2012 New York: Cambridge University Press. 425 pgs. $43.75 ISBN 978-0-521-14293-9

Grammar and Beyond by Randi Reppen is a four-level grammar series for beginning to advanced-level students of North American English. Each level includes a Student Book, Student Workbook, On-line Writing Skills Interactive, Class Audio ,Teacher Support Resource Book ,online Teacher Tips as well as the Grammar and Beyond site which offers an abundant amount of resources; this review is of the Student Book Level 1 (TOEFL 20-34, CEFR Levels A1-A2). The Student Book can be used as a core text however the supplementary materials provide valuable resources for input and output examples and activities. The novice teacher should be able to work easily with the series and would especially benefit from the excellent online support materials. This corpus-based series takes a communicative approach presenting real-world language use of North American English, providing both meaning-focused input and opportunities for meaning-focused output practice (Nation 2007) in contextualized situations. The grammar points presented in these charts have been tested against real-world data from the Cambridge International Corpus (CIC) to ensure that they are authentic representations of actual usage of North American English (Reppen, pg.x). While the text is language-focused it is modeled in contextualized, real-life situations using real-world language. These texts are followed by

2 straightforward meta-language explanations, language-focused learning Grammar Application exercises and Writing tasks to apply these structures to meaningful output. Examples are provided of the forms usage and frequency in both spoken and written language. Common mistakes made by learners are included, these mistakes, also corpus based, were drawn from the Cambridge Learner Corpus as well as from experienced classroom teachers. The series targets a college-aged ESL audience in a classroom setting. While it can also be used for self-study, grammar explanations are minimal and possibly not sufficient. The emphasis is, on the application of these grammar structures to academic writing (Reppen, pg ix), however, the texts are predominantly casual and not overly-academic in nature, topics include Great Prices on Used Cell Phones, Social Networking for Jobs, and Food for Health. The layout of the pages is appealing with clear, easy-to-read presentations. Ample space is provided for written exercises. Title font is large and colorful, differing font type makes a subtle distinction between text presentation, grammar exercises and grammar presentations. Key grammar structures in texts are identified by bold font. In addition, sections within the units are visually divided by differing shaded backgrounds. A nice variety of contemporary, real-life imagery, photographs and animation, relating to the texts theme is included. Images of people include a variety of ages, races and ethnicities. The Introduction provides a Tour of a Unit showing an overview of the contents of a sample unit and a brief description of each units sections. For example, before the fill-in-theblank exercise in the Grammar Application section, Theme-related exercises allow students to apply the grammar in a variety of natural contexts (Reppen, pg.xviii).

3 The tour is a simplified but adequate how-to guide for teachers and the self-study student. The lessons of the Student Book Level 1 are well sequenced in thirteen parts. The unit sequencing begins with the simple present of the verb be and progressively introduces more difficult concepts, structures and vocabulary incorporating previously learned information into the each unit. While the sequencing does progressively introduce more complex concepts, it is consistently done so using high-frequency language and in real-world context so that a teacher could use the book in a different order although following given order would seem most effective. While the design structure of the units balances the four strands of meaning focused input and output, language-focused learning and fluency development (Nation, 2007) less focus is on fluency development, the teacher may need to supplement with fluency development activities. Each unit provides real-world language input and language-focus while providing the student opportunities to apply new knowledge in speaking and writing exercises. Following the structure of the book the teacher will provide a good balance of alternating input and output. 1.Grammar in the Real World: A. Each unit begins with one to two general interest, discussion questions to introduce the unit theme. The units grammar is presented in context with lively, interesting texts discussing a variety of topics and themes. The topic of each unit is presented in differing font & colorful backgrounds and imagery reflecting the tone of the topic. For example, Unit 17 begins with a text in the image of a computer blog page English Language Blog/Sushi in the Caf. Concepts and structures introduced in previous units are spiraled into the text. Grammar structures

4 introduced in the unit are in bold font, low-frequency vocabulary is defined at the bottom of the page with clear definitions. The overall tone of the presentation is engaging and approachable.

B.Comprehension Check: The text is followed by language-focused learning (Nation, 2007). Three to five comprehension questions recycle sentence structure, forms and vocabulary from the text. More questions might be needed for adequate comprehension and for large-sized class involvement. C.Notice: Additional language-focused exercises. Three to five phrases using the new structures are recycled from the text into exercises (replacement task, forced choice, fill-in-theblank) requiring the student to interact with the text to raise their awareness of how these forms are used for the units grammar structure. 2. Grammar Presentation Begins with a brief overview of the grammar structure introduced. Meta-language is clear and succinct, followed by sentence examples using the structures recycled from the Grammar in the Real World text for example: Unit 9: Simple Present Yes/No Questions and Short Answers You can use simple present questions to ask about habits, routines and facts pg 103) Do you wake up early? Does she suffer from insomnia? (Reppen,

Rather than focus on meta-language, deliberate attention to the structure and forms in context is reiterated throughout the unit in real-world use. Visuals for clarification when needed (for example, to visually explain prepositions of place, direction and movement) are provided.

5 Data from the Real World provides practical, real-world usage from corpus data of the most commonly used structures, forms and vocabulary. Grammar Application: Working with the newly introduced structures, forms and/or vocabulary, each unit provides a variety of controlled, language-focused activities (four to six) alternating input and output: forced-choice tasks, fill-in-the blank, cloze exercises, replacement tasks, written answers, pair-work and audio presentations with comprehension questions and concludes with group or pair task-work. A minimum of two activities in each unit are oral output activities. An example of an output activity from Unit 12: Simple Past Statements is: Over to You Tell a partner about four things you did last night. Use some of the verbs in A. (Reppen, pg.139). Exercise instructions are succinct and should be sufficient for novice teachers and the self-study student alike. In a large classroom, exercises with only three to four questions might not be sufficient for the group and might need to be supplemented with The Student Workbook. While the book provides a good variety, additional activities are available in the Teacher Support Resource Book and the online Teacher Tips and Communicative Activities. 3. A second Grammar Presentation expands the explanation of the units grammar topic and provides additional examples of usage and Data from the Real World. This is followed by a second Grammar Application, a second series of exercises, similar in type and variety to the initial Grammar Application, to reinforce the structures. 4. Avoid Common Mistakes: A beneficial section, based on learner corpus data, of three to five of the most common mistakes learners make with the units structures.

6 5. Editing Task: Meaning-focused input, with the newly introduced structures, in a 100-150 word text (contemporary themes such as blog posts, emails, conversations) requires the students to apply their new knowledge to correcting mistakes in the unit structures. 6. Grammar for Writing links the language-focus with meaning-focused output. An introduction summarizes the usage of the units structures and provides tips for usage in writing: Pre-writing Task: Prepares the student for writing by reviewing new input, a 75-150word text relating to the units theme, containing the newly learned structures. Students are to identify and correct mistakes made with the structures.. Writing Task: The final exercise in each lesson is an opportunity for the learner to apply the newly acquired structures to meaning-focused output. Interesting prompts guide the student, helpful editing tips to assist the student in self-correction and remind to use the newly learned forms. Twenty appendices follow such as Capitalization and Punctuation Rules, Verb Forms and Spelling Rules for Verbs Ending in ing. They are presented in an easy-to-read, very applicable manner, meta-language is basic but clear and should be sufficient for both classroom and self-study as an overview of previously explained material. The final section is a Glossary of Grammar Terms with basic explanations for a teacher-led class but possibly not sufficient for the self-study, student. One to two examples follow each definition. For example: adverb a word that describes or modifies a verb, adverb, or an adjective. Adverbs often end in ly. Please drive carefully (Reppen,pg. G1)

7 A detailed look at Unit 6: Infinitives and Gerunds. Do What You Enjoy Doing. 1.Grammar in the Real World The text , An Interest in Computers Leads to Success, is 226 words, 83.63% K1 words, 3.10% K2 words, 4.42% academic words (AWL words are computer terminology such as computers and site), 8.85% off-list words (five are proper names), 44.25% function words, 39.38% content words. The type-token ratio is .54. A T-Units test showed: 19 T-Units, 11.68 words average (SD=3.82) (Compleat Lexical Tutor). The input a magazine article and should appeal to a college-aged audience. The story tells of a 17-year old girl who designed a website and became a millionaire. The nineteen sentences present nine examples of the use verb + infinitive and one of a verb+ gerund. These newly introduced forms are in bold font. For example, At the age of nine, Ashley started to play with website design programs (Reppen,pg 320). Six new low-frequency words are defined at the bottom of the page. Three Comprehension Check questions using the simple past, verb + infinitive or gerund follow. The comprehension questions recycle the newly introduced forms, the student must match the correct statement with the correct answer. While the recycling of forms in the input provides beneficial additional exposure, much information is given to the student. More questions would provide further exposure and a more overall comprehension check as well as structures to use in class discussion. The Notice is a cloze exercise of five sentences requiring the student to supply the correct form of the verb + infinitive. For example, She wanted____________(develop) the

8 business (pg 320). While the activity should raise awareness of structure usage the sentences are drawn directly from the text and students might simply copy the forms. 2. Grammar Presentation Begins with a brief explanation and three charts of examples. Examples presented are clear yet possibly not sufficient for self-study. For example: An infinitive is to + the base form of the verb: To design, to play, to do, to be. She learned to design pages for the site. Infinitives follow some verbs. She wanted to develop the business.(Reppen,pg 321) Examples follow in Grammar Presentation 2.1-2.3, twenty-seven sentence examples of verb+infinitives in meaningful, semantic categories. Sentences are either recycled from the text or very similar. Language is realistic with high-frequency vocabulary.

Grammar Application Exercise 2.1 Infinitives A. Written input in the form of a 15-sentence conversation about technology usage, the student must fill-in-the-blank with correct infinitive form of provided verbs (not used in the previous text). The exercise may be repetitive for the student but should reinforce knowledge of infinitives and appropriate verbs. B. Over to You Provides an opportunity for speaking output. Students work in pairs to discuss their own technology usage using unit verbs + infinitives in sentences. The topic is realistic and relevant, appropriate verbs are provided.

9 Exercise 2.2 Pronunciation Focus: Saying To: Want To, Would Like To A: Listening input and fluency practice as the student listens and repeats an audio of natural speech. Six sentences provide natural speech input, using unit vocabulary and relating to the unit theme. B: Listening input to a 14-sentence conversation containing ten verbs + infinitives and examples of native speakers pronunciation. Students are to check comprehension by identifying topics discussed from a list supplied. (This listening comprehension exercise will be more effective if the students do not refer the written transcription on the adjacent page). C: Listening and reading input along with language-focused learning. The 14-sentence conversation (heard in Exercise B.) with ten fill-in-the-blanks requires the student to write the correct verb + infinitives from list supplied. Student then listens to audio to check answers. Activities B. and C. provide learning opportunities in various modalities and ample repetition. D. Pair-Work wraps up the exercises with speaking output. The students are to Talk about what you would like to do or want to do on the Internet this weekend (Reppen,pg 325) using Exercise 2.1 and 2.2 verbs + infinitives.

3. Gerunds A second Grammar Presentation, similar in design to the previous, follows introducing the gerund. Data from the Real World is a clear, helpful graph displaying gerund versus infinitive use of seven common verbs which allow both.

10 A second Grammar Application follows with language-focused exercises: cloze requiring verb + gerund, pair-work to practice speaking output of verb + gerund, an 11-sentence text with twelve examples of verb + gerund or infinitive to select correct form, a 30-sentence conversation with thirteen blanks to fill with correct verb + gerund or infinitive and a PairWork activity to question a partner while using the new structures. A final language-focused exercise introduces the verb go + gerund, a Pair-Work writing exercise to complete eight sentences with provided go + gerund.

4. Avoid Common Mistakes gives realistic examples of mistakes made with infinitives and gerunds and writing advice such as: learning Learn which verbs take a gerund. I enjoyed to learn about website design want to In writing, use want to. Never write wanna. I wanna work in the summer.(Reppen,pg 331). Editing Task is a, 86-word text in the form of an email from student to professor. Six sentences contain seven uses, all incorrect, of verb+infinitive or verb + gerund. The email may not be a realistic example and might be more effective were it to contain correct usage as well. Useful tips, reminders and four new examples of sentences of verb+infinitive/gerund are provided.

Pre-writing Task a 134-word text, 14 sentences contain four examples of verb+infinitive and four examples of verb+gerund. The text is prefaced by a pre-reading prediction question. After reading the student is to identify and make note of verb usage. Vocabulary is low-

11 frequency, all verbs are recycled from the unit. The babysitting topic, Working with Children, may not appeal to a more mature college student. The final activity Writing Task does a fine job of incorporating the units structure, theme and vocabulary. The student is to apply their new knowledge from the unit, incorporate previous units knowledge, into a meaning-focused output activity of writing a paragraph about their own hobbies or job goals. Open-ended question prompts are provided using the units structures and vocabulary. Self-Edit provides useful, practical tips for the student to improve their sentences such as the avoidance of common mistakes. Grammar and Beyond, Level 1 does an excellent job of balancing language-focused learning with meaning-focused input and output in a conceptualized manner. The student will appreciate and benefit from the focus on real-life language and its applicability to real-world situations. Output activities will give the students opportunities for practice however fluency practice is minimal. The learning experience should be enhanced by the upbeat, engaging approach the series takes. While not discussed here, the supplemental materials provide abundant resources for the teacher.


Compleat Lexical Tutor, retrieved from Nation, P. (2007). The Four Strands. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1(1), 213. doi:10.2167/illt039.0 Reppen, Randi (2012). Grammar and Beyond, Level 1. New York: Cambridge University Press.