What’s new? Latest publications…


It’s been a while since the latest ESL-SPIN post, but we have all been hard at work, teaching, writing or delivering workshops…

Several of us met up last year at the terrific QATESOL/QCAL conference in Mackay, where Hazel launched The Sea (see below!)

Here’s a little update on what we’re all up to.

The sea

The Sugarbag on Damper team (Hazel Davidson and Dorothy Court)  have a new book out: The Sea: in the sea, on the sea, at the seaside. Like their other reading books, it’s written at three levels, and has an accompanying workbook.


Susan Boyer from Boyer Education has been focussing more on her historical writing – her book on People in Australia’s Past led her to write Across Great Divides: True Stories of Life at Sydney Cove and now a children’s version: Stories of Life at Sydney Cove (a young reader edition).


The latest book by Clare Harris, from The Book Next Door, is not a reader this time, but a book of puzzles with a pre-employment focus: Workwise English Puzzles.


The Urban Lyrebirds team (Carmel Davies, Sharon Duff and Maggie Power) now have three Sing with me! books and three Passages to English books available.

More Carly and Kumar

Karen Slikas Barber (Read Me Again Press) has not yet confirmed what her latest project is, so watch this space! (The Carly and Kumar readers are available here or at your language bookshop.)

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading…

Sing with me! in Vietnam


A fabulous story from a teacher who met the ESL-SPIN team at CAMTESOL:

“After attending the CamTESOL conference in February, I returned to Vietnam to volunteer my services as an experienced English teacher. In previous years, I had successfully used the Sing with me! resources with my own students, so I knew they worked, but when I attended Sharon and Carmel’s workshops at the CamTESOL conference, I decided to purchase my own copy and take it back with me to Vietnam.

Vietnamese students of all ages loved the songs. I trialled them with Secondary, High school and University students, even informal sessions with groups of keen learners, but they were a particular hit at Nguyen Nha Centre for people with special needs, in Quy Nhon, central Vietnam.

Voice is critical when learning a new language and I couldn’t think of a better way to develop sounds than through singing. It is so much fun, and using a combination of conversation, rhythm and music seems to free the inhibitions of students learning a language. This is particularly so when working in a group.

In this case, we had the physically disabled sitting on one side of the room and the blind on the other. We managed to direct the blind across the room to those in chairs and still shake hands and use gesture to assist our words when practising “So how are you going?” We had a ball!

In the end I donated the resource (and my new Bose speaker) to the centre, as the students loved to sing and I couldn’t think of any better way to continue as we started!”

Thanks for the great feedback, Jules (and thanks to the centre for permission to use the picture). It’s always so rewarding for writers to hear how their materials have been used….

See you at CamTESOL?

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Cambodia blog picThree of us are going to be at CamTESOL in Phnom Penh in February 2016. We’ll be talking about self-publishing the books we want to use, and about our network. Look out for us if you’re there: Carmel Davies and Sharon Duff from Urban Lyrebirds, and Clare Harris (that’s me, writing this post) from The Book Next Door.

(A personal note: Carmel and I met in the 1980s, when we were working together in a refugee camp in Thailand, and we’ve only just re-connected – both of us now, to our surprise, involved in writing and publishing. I have Cambodian friends here in Perth from those days, and they’ve been asking me forever, ‘When are you going to visit Cambodia?’ Finally I can tell them – it’s happening!)