6 High-powered ESL Teaching Books to Upgrade Your Teaching Abilities

Are some of your ESL teaching books gathering dust on your bookshelf?

You might have a few worn in and page-torn ESL teaching books that have been completely tapped dry of inspiration, but fear not fellow caped ESL superhero, you need not look further!

Finding the right ESL teaching books can be a real chore. If you want to spend less time clicking, browsing and bookmarking, you can see a few superb ESL teaching books below that can get your lesson plan juices flowing again.

Putting Together Your ESL Teaching Book Library

You may find yourself overwhelmed during your search for exceptional ESL teaching books with all the choices out there. When looking at which books to add to your ESL teaching library, it is important to remember a few key aspects.

For a pro tip, be sure to check out FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.

It’s another top resource to teach your class with native materials and will get your students fully absorbed in the world of English. Just like a good ESL book, you’ll be turning back to your FluentU account again and again.

What Level of Teacher are You?

First things first, are you new to ESL teaching or are you a seasoned veteran teacher looking for some new material? This is an important question in regards to the books you will want to browse and select.

New teachers can benefit greatly from the general, all-in-one ESL teaching book, because they cover all aspects of ESL teaching, from classroom management to teaching ESL skills lessons. For those veteran teachers out there, it is a wonderful plan to seek out ESL teaching books that cover new methods or maybe even old methods which can be utilized to spice up the more traditional ESL lesson plan.

Who Are Your Students?

Another important aspect to ponder when pursuing your ESL teaching book hunt is to think of your students or potential students. Not all ESL teaching books are created equal and it is important to know your students in order to make full use of your new ESL library addition. There are ESL teaching books covering material and methods for all ESL levels, age groups and specific interests like testing or business.

With the above in mind, here are a few excellent ESL teaching books you can add to your bookshelf.

6 Top Teaching Books That Will Hardwire You for English Teaching Success

Action in ESL Teaching

1. “Learning Another Language Through Actions” by James J. Asher

Learning Another Language Through Actions

James J. Asher is the founder of the Total Physical Response (TPR) method in language learning, and his book “Learning Another Language Through Actions” is a great addition to your ESL library.

The methodology behind TPR is for students to recognize and process English faster, requiring them to take action after a specific command. This revolutionary method whipped up back in the 1960s by Asher is an exceptional way for you to get your students moving and shaking about the class while learning.

Asher’s book may appear a bit out of date in your technologically advanced classroom, however, the methods are as useful and relevant as the day they were conceived. Your students will enjoy TPR lessons and you may learn a bit about your teaching style along the way.

With all the advancements in technology comes shorter student attention spans and keeping your students eager and active will make your lesson a success. This ESL teaching book is a smart buy for both you and your students.

ESL Visual Activities for Young Learners

2. “TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners” by Chris Morton TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners

Chris Morton’s “TEFL Flashcard Games for Young Learners” is a perfect collection of flashcard games your young and enthusiastic students will love. There are several all-time flashcard game favorites in Morton’s book compiled with new and original young learner games you may have never heard of. If you are looking to add some pizzazz to your lesson plan, then this is a great find.

This ESL teaching book is a great resource for your young ESL learners containing hundreds of fun and exciting games utilizing flashcards that connect with your students visually. Your students will learn new vocabulary, pronunciation, visual recognition, grammar and with a little teacher enthusiasm, their eagerness will grow.

All-in-one ESL Teaching Books

3. “The Practice of English Language Teaching” by Jeremy Harmer

The Practice of English Language Teaching with DVD (4th Edition) (Longman Handbooks for Language Teachers)

Jeremy Harmer’s “The Practice of English Language Teaching” is superb for ESL teachers whom are just beginning or a great reference for the veteran ESL teacher. Harmer’s book is a well-crafted collection of ESL topics for teachers and discusses a few oddities like psychology in the ESL classroom.

The chapters are well organized and complement one another very nicely, explaining the importance behind almost all aspects of ESL teaching. “The World of English,” “Describing Language,” “Describing Learners” and “Describing Teachers” are the first 4 chapters, and those alone are worth the purchase.

You will also find various example activities and lesson ideas throughout the book to assist you in developing your own class syllabus and individual lesson plans for your eager-to-learn students. This ESL teaching reference may be a bit high in cost, however, the 450 pages of material is a lifetime reference. The book also comes with a DVD containing classroom techniques and footage with teacher’s tasks and interviews.

4. “Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language” by T.S. Seifert Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The “Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language” by T.S. Seifert is another exceptional all-in-one ESL teaching book useful for new ESL teachers and ESL veterans as a great reference book. Seifert’s ESL TEFL guide discusses many popular areas you will need to know in order to successfully teach reading, writing, pronunciation, listening, speaking as well as various ESL sub-skills within your lessons.

There are also wonderful chapters on controlling your students, fitting material to the correct ESL level and giving feedback to your students during and after your lessons. Having a well-rounded ESL guide on your bookshelf is great for gathering a few outside the box ideas.

“Easy TEFL Guide to Teaching English as a Foreign Language” is a great ESL teaching hybrid which covers the meat and potatoes of ESL teaching.

ESL Teaching with Online News

5. “Reading English News on the Internet: A Guide to Connectors, Verbs, Expressions and Vocabulary for the ESL Student” by David Peterson

Reading English News on the Internet: A Guide to Connectors, Verbs, Expressions, and Vocabulary for the ESL Student by David Petersen (2007-02-10) Paperback

The ESL teaching book “Reading English News on the Internet: A Guide to Connectors, Verbs, Expressions, and Vocabulary for the ESL Student” by David Peterson is a great ESL resource to keep handy. This book dives into the world of online news articles and discusses how ESL students can build vocabulary, grammar and comprehension. There will come a time in your students’ ESL journey when they will begin to venture into reading news in English and you may start to get a few questions about it.

Spending some time discussing online news articles with your class is a wonderful and fun way to build their confidence and comprehension of English resources outside the classroom. Peterson’s “Reading English News on the Internet: A Guide to Connectors, Verbs, Expressions, and Vocabulary for the ESL Student” is your reference and guide in the journey you and your students will take.

Peterson discusses verbs, connectors, idioms, general news articles, sport articles and business articles in each well-crafted chapter. A free, downloadable version, specifically for the Japanese learner is also available here.

Intermediate Communication ESL Teaching

6. “Intermediate Communication Games” by Jill Hadfield

Intermediate Communication Games

Building communication into your lessons is an excellent approach for all ESL students, however, even more essential for your intermediate level students. Jeff Hadfield’s ESL Teaching book, “Intermediate Communication Games” is a perfect ESL teaching resource to fill a gap on your bookshelf. Published by Pearson, this ESL book will challenge and lift your intermediate students to the next level of their ESL learning.

Hadfield compiled a great list of communication games and activities that will easily fit into any students’ communicative abilities. “Intermediate Communication Games” contains wonderful guidelines for each activity with helpful teacher notes to assist you while you are crafting your lesson as well as during. There are also several worksheets available in the book to help your students develop in each activity as they learn and build the communication experience and knowledge they will need in real world scenarios.

This ESL teaching book is on the pricey side, however, it contains material useful for your intermediate students hungry for more communication practice and skills.


Stephen Seifert is a writer, editor, professor of English and adventurer. With over 7 years of teaching experience to students worldwide, he enjoys the many aspects of culture and traditions different from his own. Stephen continues his search for writing inspiration, boldly enjoying life to the fullest.

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