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Young Learner Bibliography

Compiled by Wendy Arnold, 2003

Disclaimer: all the comments highlighted in blue have been made by participants on the IATEFL Young Learners discussion list. They are individual opinions.

Activities, Games and SongsProjectsStories: using and writing
Action/classroom researchAssessmentCourse / syllabus design
Evaluating coursebooks and coursesLearning and language learningLearning difficulties
Learning strategies and stylesTeaching English to Young LearnersTeacher Training
Teaching YLs to read and writeIATEFL publicationsMiscellaneous
Hong Kong  


Cant, A. and Superfine, W. (1997) Developing Resources for Primary. London: Richmond Publishing.

This handbook shows how to extend the coursebook with lots of fun and interesting activities, especially games, songs and projects. There are photocopiable materials and clear explanations.

Chaves & Superfine (1999) Fun and Games in English. Delta

Holderness, J & A. Hughes (1997) 100 + Ideas for children. Topic-based activities. Oxford: MacmillanHeinemann

Great fun, clearly set out, comes with a cassette with songs, photocopiable.

JET (1996) Primary Teacher's resource books 1,2,3 Grey. Delta

Lewis, G and Bedson, G (1999) Games for children. Oxford:Oxford University Press

Fabulously wide range of games, very clear explanations.

Nixon, C & Tomlinson, M (2001) Primary Activity Box. Games & activities for younger learners. Cambridge:CUP

Easy to follow. Wide range. Clear explanations.

Paul (1997) Songs & Games for Children. Heinemann

Rinvolucri, M (1984) Grammar Games. Cognitive, affective and drama activities for EFL students. Cambridge:CUP

Teacher's Resource Books for Primary E.F.L. (1997) Activity Box Greenwood

Toth, M (1995) Children’s Games – MacMillan Heineman ELT Games Series. Great Britain:MacMillan Heinemann

Clear and easy to follow.

Watcyn Jones ed (2001)Top Class Activities .Penguin Books

Ur, P & Wright , A (1992) Five-Minute Activities. Cambridge:CUP

Easy to follow.


Phillips, D, Burwood, D, Dunford, H (1999) Projects with Young Learners. Oxford:Oxford University Press

A wonderful resource, carefully guiding both teacher and YL to applying integrated skills. Very motivating!


Brewster, J and Ellis, G ( )Tell it again - The New Story Telling Handbook for Primary Teachers. Penguin

Wonderful resource! Very easy to use, stories are great fun, comes with a cassette with stories being read and songs.Includes The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Funnybones.

Dunn, O . www.realbooks.co.uk

She writes short articles in her biannual newsletters which are excellent
references, as well as providing us with a very good collection of titles of
REALBOOKs she believes are suitable for the primary and pre-school

Garvie, E (1990) Story as Vehicle.Teaching English to Young Children. Philadelphia:Multilingual Matters Ltd

Great resource to convince you why using stories works!

Morgan, J & Rinvolucri, M (1988) Once Upon a Time. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Mourão S. JET: REALBOOKS in the primary classroom 2003: Mary Glasgow
Scholastic. ISBN 1900702193
It's a resource book and provides activities for nine REALBOOKs, including
Ketchup on your cornflakes and Cheese and tomato spider, by Nick Sharrat and
As big as a pig and Princess dress by Sue Heap.

Mourão S., Collection of picture books recommended by teachers in October / November 2009, 2010. PDF download.

Wright, A (1995) Storytelling with Children. Oxford:Oxford University Press

Wright, A. (1997) Creating Stories with Children. Oxford: OUP.

This is another by Andrew Wright. Lesson ideas and plans for children to write their own stories.


Bell, J (1999) Doing your Research Project. Buckingham:Open University Press

Hopkins, D (1993) A Teacher’s Guide to Classroom Research. Buckingham:Open University Press

Nunan, D (1992) Research Methods in Language Learning. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Skehan, P (2002) 'Instructional Approaches. Task-based instructions:Theory, research, practice'. In A. Pulverness (ed) IATEFL 2002 York Conference Selections. Kent:IATEFL

Skehan, P (1996). Second Language Acquisition Research and Task-based instruction. In J. Willis and D. Willis (eds) Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Oxford: Heineman

Van Lier, L (1988) The Classroom and the Language Learner. London:Longman

Wallace, M.J. (1998) Action Research for Language Teachers. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Very clearly presented. A must-have for all teachers wanting to set up small-scale research projects in their classrooms.


Allan, D (1996) ‘Why Test? Why not assess?’ In IATEFL Newsletter. IATEFL

Harris, M & McCann, P (1994) Assessment. Oxford:Heinemann

Very sensible definitions and uncomplicated assessment suggestions.

Raths, J.D. (1971) Teaching without Specific Objectives in Educational Leadership

He puts forward an intriguing suggestion which is worth considering.

Smith, K (1995) Assessing and Testing Young Learners:Can we? Should we?. In Entry Points:Papers from a symposium of the Research, Testing and Young Learners Special Interest Groups. IATEFL


Graves, K (1996) Teachers as Course Developers. Cambridge:CUP

Graves, K (2000) Designing a Language Course:A Guide for Teachers. Boston:Heinle & Heinle Publishers

A very comprehensive and readable guide for teachers developing their own courses or a published coursebook.

Nunan, D (1988) Syllabus Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Nunan, D (1989) Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Tomlinson, B (1998) Materials Development in Language Teaching. United Kingdom:Cambridge University Press

A must-have to understand the whys and whats of developing your own materials.

White, R.V (1988) The ELT Curriculum: Design, Innovation and Management. Oxford:Blackwell

Willis, J (1996) A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Essex:Pearson Education Limited

A great framework with an individual one for YL! Great way to focus lesson planning, as well as overall course development.


Chambers, F (1997) Seeking concensus in coursebook evaluation. In ELT Journal Vol. 51/1 January 1997. Great Britain:Oxford University Press

Rea-Dickins, P & Germaine, K (1992) Evaluation. Oxford:OUP

Tomlinson, B (1998) Materials Development in Language Teaching. United Kingdom:Cambridge University Press


Brown, H.D (1994) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching.

USA: Prentice Hall, Inc

All you ever need to know about putting theory and practice together. Very readable.

Brown, H.D. (2001) Teaching by Principles.AnInteractive approach to Language pedagogy-2nd edition. NY:Addison Wesley Longman

Cook, V (2001) Second Language Learning and Language Teaching-3rd edition.London:Arnold

Very readable and comprehensive.

Donaldson, M (1978) Children’s Minds. London: Fontana

Lots of inspirational ideas about how children think and learn and very interesting overview of the theoretical landscape at the time she wrote the book. Still available because it's so good

Ellis, R (1985) Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Kyriacou, C (1997) Effective Teaching in Schools. Theory & practice – 2nd edition. UK:Stanley Thornes

Lightbown P. M & Spada, N (1999) How Languages are Learned.

Oxford:Oxford University Press

Very comprehensive. Identifies some interesting perceptions of how languages are learned.

Sylva, K & Lunt, I (1982) Child Development. A First Course.Oxford:Blackwell

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society:The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Great Britain:Harvard University Press

Wells, G (1986) The Meaning Makers. Children Learning Language and Using Language to Learn. London: Hodder & Stoughton

His research shows so clearly the importance of the role of parents and the implications of a similar role in the classroom of the teacher.


Bearne, E – ed 1996) Differentiation and diversity in the primary school. London:Routledge Falmer

Rubin, D (2002) Diagnosis and correction in reading instruction – 4th edition. Boston:Allyb & Bacon

Westwood, P (1997) Commonsense methods for Children with Special Needs – 3rd edition. London:Routledge Falmer

Winebrenner, S ( ) Teaching Kids with Learning Difficulties in the Regular Classroom:Free Spirit Publishing


Fisher, R (1990) Teaching children to think. England:Nelson Thornes

Fisher, R (1995) Teaching children to learn. England:Stanley Thornes

Great ideas! The ‘think-pair-share’ suggestion works extremely well.

Gardner, H (1994) ‘The theory of multiple intelligences’. In B. Moon and A Shelton Mayes (eds) at The Open University. Teaching and learning in the secondary school. London and New York:Routledge

Acknowledging, identifying and respecting the many ways learners learn.

Oxford, R.L. (1990) Languages Learning Strategies. What every teacher should know. Massachusetts:Heinle & Heinle

A very detailed breakdown of the different types of strategies, both direct and indirect and how to implement them in the classroom.

Raffini, J. P (1993) Winners without Losers. Structures and Strategies for increasing Student Motivation to Learn. Massachusetts:Allyn & Bacon


Brewster, J. Ellis, G. & Girard, D (1991) The Primary English Teachers ‘ Guide. London: Penguin

Really good rewrite, with lots of new chapters and interesting diagrams and
figures. I was very impressed and feel it has done well to include most of
what's happened in the last decade, which is a lot!!! I really liked their
bibliography, as it's very up to date and includes some good references to
follow up.

C. Brumfit, J. Moon & R. Tongue (eds) (1991)Teaching English to Children: From Practice to Principle. Great Britain: Longman, 2

Excellent articles on a wide range of issues. A ‘must-have’!

Cameron, L. (2001) Teaching languages to Young Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This gives a very thorough background to the theoretical basis for making choices in teaching YLs. That said its very approachable and includes a lot of practical examples and ideas that

can be adapted to different situations. I particularly liked the chapters on "Learning through stories" and "theme-based teaching and learning" (because those are my pet subjects!)

Dunn (1995) Developing English With Young Learners. Prentice Hall

Dunn (1990) Beginning English With Young Children .Prentice Hall

Feunteun & Vale (1995) Teaching Children English Cambridge:C.U.P.

Halliwell (1992) Teaching English in the Primary Classroom. Longman

House, S.(1997) An Introduction to Teaching English to Children. London: Richmond Publishing.

A very straightforward, simple and practical handbook for teachers, with teaching tips, ideas and photocopiable materials related to classroom language, classroom dynamics including discipline, lesson planning, correction techniques, making resources, using stories etc.

Kennedy (1989) Ideas & Issues in Primary E.L.T. Longman

Moon, J. (2000) Children Learning English. Oxford: Macmillan Heineman.

A great handbook for teachers with theoretical insights accompanied by lots of accompanying lesson plans and ideas.

Phillips, S (1993) Young Learners. Oxford:Oxford University Press

Very easy to read. Lots of wonderful ideas.

Reilly& Ward (1997) Very Young Learners. Oxford: O.U.P.

Rixon, S (1992) ‘English and other languages for young children:practice and theory in a rapidly changing world’. In Language Teaching. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

B. Tomlinson (ed) (1998)Materials Development in Language Teaching. United Kingdom:Cambridge University Press

Scott & Ytreburg (1990) From Practice to Progress.Teaching English to Children .Longman

Slattery & Willis (2001) English for Primary Teachers. O.U.P.


Woodward, T (1991) Models and Metaphors in Language Teacher Training.Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Cary, Stephen (1997). Second Language Learners, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers/The Galef Institute. ISBN: 1-57110-065-2

Sections in this book include info on second language instruction, effective instructional practices, connecting theory to practice, instructional supports, and continuous learning through authentic assessments, homework and parental involvement.

Nunan, D (1991) Language Teaching Methodology. Hertfordshire: Prentic Hall International

Nunan, D (ed) (1992) Collaborative Language Learning and Teaching. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Parrot M. (1993) Tasks for language teachers CUP: Cambridge

Richards, J. & Lockhart, C (1994) Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Richards & Nunan (eds) (1990) Second Language Teacher Education. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Richards, J.C. & Rodgers, T (1986) Approaches and methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Stern, H.H (1983) Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Underhill, A (ed) (1997)The Teacher Development Series. Oxford: Heinemann ELT

Ur, P(1991) A course in Language Teaching.Practice and theory. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Very comprehensive.

Vale, D & Feunteun, A ( ) An Activity Based Training Course. Cambridge:CUP

It's a brilliant book!


Bearne, E 2002) Making progress in writing. London:Routledge Falmer

Feldgus, E.G. & Cardonick, I (1999) Kid Writing: A systematic approach to phonics, journals and writing workshop. Bothell:The Wright Group

Fisher, R (2002) Inside the Literacy Hour. Learning from Classroom Experience.

London: Routledge Falmer

Nuttall, C (1996) Teaching Reading Skills in a foreign language. Oxford:Macmillan Heinemann

Vacca, J Vacca, R & Gove, M (2000) Reading and learning to read –4th edition. New York:Longman

Westwood, P (1999) Spelling. Approaches to teaching and assessment.Victoria:Acer

Westwood, P (2001) Reading and Learning Difficulties. Approaches to teaching and assessment. Victoria:Acer


C. Mifsud ed (2000) Ways and Measures Uni Malta/ IATEFL

Gika & Superfine eds 1998 Young Learners. Creating a Positive and Practical Learning Environment IATEFL

Turkey Conference Proceedings YLs SIG Issue IATEFL

J. Moon & M Nikolov (2000) Research into Teaching Young Learners Budapest Conference
Uni. Pecs Hungary


Aitken, R ( )Teaching Tenses. Nelson

Argondizzo, C ( 1993)Children In Action. Prentice Hall

Accelerated learning Books

Bailey, K.M & Nunan, D eds (1996) Voices from the Language Classroom. Cambridge:CUP

A must-have, written for teachers, by teachers.

Cant & Superfine (1997) Developing Resources for Primary. Richmond

Hannaford, C ( )Smart Moves - Why Learning is not all in your Head.

Great Ocean Publishers

Smith, C, A ( ) The Peaceful Classroom. Floris Books ISBN 0-86315-277-5

It contains a range of activities which focus on attitudinal aims and is divided into 4 sections:- belonging and friendship, compassion, cooperation and kindness. The book is aimed at general teachers of 3-5 year olds, however I've incorporated many of the ideas into my EFL lessons with older children.

Swan, M & Smith, B - eds (1987) Learner English-2nd edition. Cambridge:CUP

Fantastic! All English language teachers should have this, find out what are the common problems your learners (of just about every nationality) will have in learning English, from phonemics to syntax and more!

Tomalin, B & Stempleski, S (1993) Cultural Awareness. Oxford:Oxford University Press

How to try and NOT to stand on others toes!

Williams, M & Burden, B (1997) Psychology for Language Learners. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Another must-have! How to create the ideal conditions for learning language.

Wingate, J ( )How to be a peaceful teacher.' ISBN 1 899528 05 9

Full of sound advice and practical ideas.

Wright, A (1989) Pictures for Language Learning. Cambridge:CUP

Wright, A (1994) 1000 pictures plus for Teachers to copy. Longman

A fabulous resource for all non-artistic teachers!


Biggs, J & Watkins, D eds (1995) Classroom Learning. Educational psychology for the Asian Teacher. Singapore:Prentice Hall

Bunton, D (1989) Common English errors in Hong Kong. Hong Kong:Longman

Explains some common pitfalls.

Falvey, P & Kennedy, P - eds (1997) Learning Language through Literature. A sourcebook for Teachers of English in Hong Kong. Hong Kong:Hong Kong University Press

Watkins, D.A. & Biggs, J.B. eds (1996)The Chinese Learner:Cultural, psychological and contextual influences.Hong Kong:CERC & ACER

A must-have for English teachers in Hong Kong.

Watkins, D.A. & Biggs, J.B. eds (2001) Teaching the Chinese Learner: psychological and pedagogical perspectives. Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong

Helps to explain some misconceptions about rote learning!