May 2019 – Volume 23, Number 1


American Family and Friends 3

Author:Tamzin Thompson & Naomi Simmons (2015)
Publisher:Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
127 pages978-0194816274 (Paper)$44.70 USD (Student Book)$42.39 (Teacher Book; includes CD/DVD materials

American Family & Friends 3 (Thompson & Simmons, 2015) is third in a six-book series designed for English as a Second Language (ESL) elementary school children. The series focuses on recycling vocabulary và basic grammar concepts for students. Family and Friends 1 begins with basic conversations & skills like counting, based on themes such as family, playing, and clothing. Family & Friends 2 incorporates more grammar concepts, such as asking present tense questions (“Do you have…”) và telling time, based on themes (e.g., school, holidays, etc.). Each book continues khổng lồ increase in proficiency level và includes more complicated grammar concepts. The grammar concepts in Family & Friends 3 include conjugations of “to be” (Unit 1), like + gerunds (Unit 2), possessive adjectives (Unit 3), adjectives lớn describe people & feelings (Units 4-5), routines và time (Unit 6), adverbs of frequency (Unit 7), countable và uncountable nouns (Unit 8), comparatives & superlatives (Unit 9), must for rules and obligations (Unit 10), simple past with affirmatives and negatives (Units 11-13), wh– questions (Unit 14), and future tense (Unit 15).

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Some ESL course books are not easily transferable lớn different cultural contexts; however, despite their limitations, they have “considerable potential” (Rixon, 2013, phường 232) for the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom when adapted correctly. Although Family and Friends 3 is designed to lớn be used in an ESL setting in the United States, many of the topics are relatable khổng lồ an EFL context. In addition, the use of authentic language, vocabulary targeted khổng lồ younger learners, và the use of giải pháp công nghệ make this book transferrable to other contexts.

Sometimes course books equip students with inauthentic language which “overprotects learners and does not prepare them for the reality of language use outside the classroom” (Tomlinson, 2012, p 161). Family và Friends 3 is an exception lớn this, as it provides depth and variety in the language it teaches. For example, students are taught that “I’m nine” is a correct response lớn “How old are you?” (Thompson và Simmons, 2015, p. 13), rather than the less commonly used “I am nine years old.” Furthermore, Family & Friends 3 has a section called ‘Fluency Time!’ at the end of every third unit consisting of a conversation, wherein native English-speaking children mã sản phẩm a conversation on the corresponding DVD (Oxford University Press, 2015b).

Family và Friends 3 focuses on vocabulary for younger learners, such as hobbies (Unit 2), animals (Unit 5) và daily routines (Unit 6). For example, the vocabulary in Unit 6 includes “brush my teeth,” “get dressed,” “have breakfast,” & “walk to lớn school” (p. 48). Whether in an ESL or an EFL context, this vocabulary is practical outside of the classroom. Conversely, some of the vocabulary in Unit 5 (pp. 40-47) is not as practical. The unit focuses on zoo animal vocabulary such as “penguin,” “zebra,” và “camel” (p. 40). “General” animals could be more practical for students (e.g., dog, cat, chicken), as many are common in various countries. Family and Friends 3 provides general và practical English vocabulary for EFL students khổng lồ use inside and outside the classroom. By providing vocabulary that is relevant to lớn their daily lives, students will be more motivated to lớn talk about themselves in the target language (Ghosn, 2015, phường 253).

Technology is crucial for current learners và teachers (Kiddle, 2013), as screens và technology are increasingly prevalent in students’ daily lives. This book provides online components for both teachers and students which complement the curriculum. The teacher’s website (Oxford University Press, 2018a) includes articles on teaching, as well as answer keys to lớn student book activities. The student’s website (Oxford University Press, 2018b) includes four games lớn practice English vocabulary, links to videos that are found on the teacher’s DVD, downloadable files of chants và songs in the teacher’s CD, and printable crafts & activities that connect khổng lồ book themes. In addition, the teacher’s book contains a CD with editable tests & worksheets (Oxford University Press, 2015a), allowing teachers the option of using công nghệ to adapt their materials.

Although many components are transferable khổng lồ an EFL setting, there are weaknesses in this book. One weakness is the lack of cultural diversity. Pulverness và Tomlinson (2013) encourage educators to avoid promoting “an implicitly superior ‘target’ culture” (p. 444), which is especially important for EFL students. There is minimal representation of other cultures in this book. Although the first unit includes many different characters from many countries (Thompson và Simmons, 2015, pp. 8-15), the characters are fair-skinned and have Anglicized names. One activity shows six boys, all with “American” names (Alex, Lee, Fred, Max, Jack, and Billy) (p. 18). Book characters also appear to have more money and go on vacations, & some learners in an EFL context might not be able lớn relate to these scenarios. This could highlight a juxtaposition of privilege và money between American culture và some EFL settings.

Another weakness of this book is its lack of scaffolding. Scaffolding leads students to lớn understand concepts and demonstrate that knowledge (Kong, 2015). Most book activities involve matching and fill-in-the-blank, which are important beginning exercises for learners, but the materials rarely move beyond them. Although there are opportunities for students khổng lồ discuss and use learned grammatical structures, this is the extent to lớn which students can showcase their knowledge. In a real-world context, students will need to be able khổng lồ create and develop their own language, & this can be accomplished through scaffolding activities.

As a whole, American Family and Friends 3 has clear grammar concepts and themes, provides flexibility for EFL teachers khổng lồ adapt materials, models authentic English, utilizes themes và topics that are relatable khổng lồ children around the world, & has CD & DVD resources and online components that tư vấn teachers and students in the growing use of giải pháp công nghệ in education. Although there are limitations, such as an under-representation of other cultures & a lack of scaffolding, this is a good choice for educators who are teaching children in an EFL context and want quality, cost-effective materials.


Ghosn, I. (2013). Developing motivating materials for refugee children: From theory khổng lồ practice. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.) Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 247-267). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Kiddle, T. (2013). Developing digital language learning materials. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.) Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 189-205). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Kong, S. (2015). Designing content-language integrated learning materials for late immersion students. TESOL Journal, 6(2), 302-331.

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Oxford University Press. (2015a). Assessment & resource CD-ROM . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Oxford University Press. (2015b). Fluency DVD . Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Oxford University Press. (2018a). American family and friends teachers site. Retrieved from

Oxford University Press. (2018b). Students family & friends cấp độ 3. Retrieved from

Pulverness, A. Và Tomlinson, B. (2013). Materials for cultural awareness. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.) Developing materials for language teaching (pp.443-459). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Reynham, A. (2015). American family and friends 3: Teacher’s book plus (2nd ed.). (2015). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Rixon, S. (2013). Authors’ knowledge, rationales và principles – steady flow-through or stuck in the publishing pipeline? The case of early reading with young learners. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.) Developing materials for language teaching (pp. 229-246). New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Thompson, T. And Simmons, N. (2015). American family and friends 3: Student book (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Tomlinson, B. (2012). State-of-the-Art article: Materials development for language learning và teaching. Language Teaching, 45(2), 143–179.

Reviewed byBeth BrownTrinity Western Universityelisabeth.brown2