Questions and answers

Why does ESF focus on sounds, rather than the alphabet?

Before students learn to read and write they need to be able to recognise and make the sounds of the language. This is how we learn our first language, after all. Spelling in English does not follow a 1:1 sound:letter correspondence, so it makes more sense to learn the sounds first and then the letters that can be use to write each sound.

Why is there no ‘Q’ or ‘Z’ in the first book?

The sounds /kw/ and /z/ are not the most common sounds in the English language, nor are the letters ‘Q’ and ‘Z’ the most common letters. The first book focuses on the sounds that students need to learn in order to get started with reading and writing in English. Less common sounds and spelling options are found in the second book.

Do I have to do all the lessons in this order?

You don’t have to follow the order suggested in the book, but the programme has been designed to build on the sounds and spelling options already taught. If your learner is already confident with some of the sounds, it doesn’t hurt to do the lesson anyway, to boost their self-esteem.

What if my student needs more practice of a particular sound?

Students must be allowed to work at their own paces. Some students will need more practice, some will need less. There are some additional materials suggested that could be used if needed.

What is the point of the ‘show off time’?

After each consolidation session, there is a short series of exercises that demonstrate to the learner, as well as to the teacher and parent, how much progress has been made. These exercises have been designed to reflect the work already done, and so offer a chance to the learner to feel good about learning the language. Success leads to further motivation, which leads to further success….

Can I use this programme with adult learners?

That depends on the learner, of course. Some adults may find it too childish, but many adults will find the materials appealing, and the basic principles will hold for any learner. There is an adult version planned, so if your adult learner doesn’t like this, just wait, and watch this space…

Can I use this programme with people who already speak English?

There is no reason why ESF could not be used with learners who already speak English. There are many programmes already available for this group, but they do not incorporate all the elements that ESF does.

Why do you have different coloured letters?

The colours of the letters reflect the sounds of the letter names. (For example, A is grey, and so are H, J and K.) This is a way to help learners remember the names of the letters, which are often called different names in other languages. The vowel names in particular can be confusing.

Where can I buy ESF?

Please go to the shop page to see how to buy this programme, or contact us directly.

What level do these books cover?

All together the 3 books in the series will take the student from beginner to the end of Junior B. By the time they have completed the series they are confident in reading and writing.