Q: Skills for Success 5 Reading/Writing is out now!

I just received my sparkling new copy of Q: Skills for Success, Reading Writing 5 (Advanced), the textbook I wrote with Scott Douglas for Oxford University Press. You can read a sample unit on OUP’s global website (Unit 2: What is lost when a language disappears? — one of the units I wrote!). You need to register for Oxford’s Teachers Club first (free).

Our book is written for advanced-level students to help develop critical reading and writing skills along with grammar and vocabulary. We used authentic texts from a wide range of sources and academic disciplines — from linguistics to business to communications to recycling to a whole short story by the great Nick Hornby (“Small Country”). Students also get access to Q Online Practice, which has at least one practice activity for every skill in every unit in the book (about 100 extra exercises). We’ve also written the teacher’s book, and that has answers, tips, alternative assignments (in case you don’t like ours!), and rubrics. Update 11/20/11: The Teacher’s Handbook with Test Generator is now available from your OUP rep (I haven’t seen it yet in print!).

A great deal of planning, writing, and re-writing has gone into the book (Scott and I have been working on this project for over 3 years!), and we hope you like using it! Every reading, every exercise, and every skill box has been looked at by many pairs of eyes (not all of which saw the same thing!) in an exhaustive — and at times, exhausting — process. In the writing assignments, we encourage students to write three drafts of their essays. In our case, we wrote far more than that! Leafing through my copy, I’m very pleased with the product and grateful to the editors who finally got our manuscript into a printable state.

Contact your friendly local Oxford rep for an exam copy! Feedback is most welcome.

Nigel Caplan & Scott Roy Douglas, Q: Skills for Success Reading and Writing 5 Student Book Pack (includes Q Online Practice). New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-19-475642-6. (Available at amazon.com)

Author: Nigel Caplan

Nigel Caplan, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Delaware English Language Institution, as well as a textbook author, consultant, and speaker. Nigel holds a PhD from the University of Delaware, a master's in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's degree from Cambridge University. He is currently director of Project DELITE, a federal grant providing ESL certification to Delaware teachers. He also brews beer.

One thought on “Q: Skills for Success 5 Reading/Writing is out now!”

  1. Dear Mr. Caplan,

    I am currently a member of the Curriculum Development Team and we recently tried out the QSkills for success series.

    For Level 7 students, we are currently using Q:Skills 5. In designing the syllabus for this level, we looked at both the Q:Skills Reading and Writing and then Listening and Speaking. I understand that we should teach both stands in tandem and that there is no stipulation in sequencing other than RW and LS strands should be taught in tandem. The big questions that introduce the unit outcomes offer different perspectives on the unit theme and therefore LS or RW can introduce the unit. However, looking at the learning outcomes of the course books, I noticed that for scaffolding purposes, the Reading and Writing strand should be taught before the Listening and Speaking because the L&S introduces exercises that further extend skills introduced in the Reading and Writing strand.

    For example, in Unit 6 (R & W), the learning outcome is “develop an analytical essay depicting a pubic place and ways to make it more appealing.” In this unit, students are encouraged to first identify public places, reasons that people go to public places, ways on making public places appealing and possibly, the benefits of appealing public places.

    In the same unit but the Listening and Speaking strand, the learning outcome is: “role-play a talk show focused on identifying and solving conflicts centred on issues of personal space. In this unit, students are not only encouraged to look at public places and ways to make them appealing but to infer on the conflicts that commonly arise in public places, and then students are encouraged to think of ways to offer solution to conflicts. The writing skills and critical thinking of students are therefore flexed further in the L & P strand.

    As the author of the books, I would like to ask whether this is done intentionally. Are we correct in assuming that it is better to start with the reading and Writing strand before the Listening and Speaking for the purpose of scaffolding and skills build-up or it does not matter if we interchange, meaning starting with the listening and speaking strand first?

    I would highly appreciate your prompt reply to my quite lengthy question.

    Many thanks and regards,

    Verna Santos-Nafrada
    Curriculum Development Lead Teacher
    King Saud University-PYP

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