Book Recommendations part 4

Ladybird Readers Peppa Pig



Peppa Pig is a long running TV show which I also recommend to English language learners as each episode is only about five minutes and it’s easy to understand the story. The actors are also all well spoken, so if you follow their pronunciation then you will do well for yourself.

Enough about the TV show. This article is to talk about the ladybird reader series’ adaption of the peppa pig episodes. I recommend these books for a number of reasons. First, you can read the book and then watch the episode of TV. It’s a great way to help second language learners follow the spoken English. Second, The ladybird reader series always includes a picture dictionary of the words in the book to help your child or student learn how to read that word. Third, peppa pig’s design and storylines are enjoyable for children. I am yet to meet a child who isn’t taken in but the character design or the storytelling.

The Ladybird reader series is good in general. It also includes a range of fairytale adaptions and other famous stories. Since it is a reader series it means that they have leveled the language used. Starting from level one you can quickly build up your reading skills. In addition, ladybird publishing also offers a lot of teaching resources to go along with this series so if you are a teacher you can safe yourself a lot of time and effort.

Image result for ladybird readers


English Resource Recommendations part 3

Usborne See Inside How Things Work

Do your children want to know how everything works? This is the book for you.

Usborne publishing’s book See Inside How Things Work is a fantastic book for helping your child understand how daily objects work. It focuses on five simple inventions that can be found in almost every invention: the wheel, the screw, the wedge, the lever and the inclined plane. Each page is dedicated to a different group of inventions including waterworks; musical instruments; cars and trucks; and flying to name a few. The book does a fantastic job of explaining how simple machines work to make complex systems.

The book is aimed at ages six and older which means that the language is quite simple but can entertain much older children as well. I have personally used this book in my kindergarten and elementary school classes to great success. While they may have only understood half the words they simple diagrams and wording meant they could still get a feel for what was being said. Even the older children learnt things they did not know.

The book is part of a larger series called lift-the-flap books. The whole series covers a wide range of non-fiction and fictional topics. If your children wants to know how something works there is a book in this series for them. With over one hundred and fifty books ranging from space, your body, and dinosaurs to the water cycle, jobs, and the Roman empire.

The books are easy to access aimed mostly at children from the age of 5 but have enough information information to easily keep older children entertained. This also means that the book is appropriate for English language learners too.

If you want to spark your children’s curiosity. Or if your child is already curious about the world and asks a lot of why questions this book and perhaps the whole series is for you.

Mental Models and High School English

A mental model is the way we think about the world. They are beliefs, values, thoughts and feelings that we have about the world that have come from our society, our culture, our family and our friends. They are things that we don’t question because they have become part of who we are. This isn’t a bad thing. It is part of being human, however it is important to understand our mental models so that we can choose which models are the best for us. For example, I am Australian so I am very flexible about time. I am currently living in Japan which has a very rigid perspective on time. Since I am living in Japan I have found it essential to change my mental model knowing that if I don’t I will upset the people around me.

An amazing part of travelling is that you get a chance to question those mental models. When we visit another country we see a country with a different set of mental models. Some are similar to ours but there will always be differences. When we come into contact with another culture we can reflect on our own and learn more about ourselves and how we think about the world.

Not all of us can travel though, but we can still learn a language. A language is a form of mental model. It holds the way a group of people see and think about the world. In learning a language we can learn about different ways of seeing the world. In doing so we can understand our own life and upbringing. In this we can come to better understand our culture. We can appreciate the cultural ways of thinking that bring us a happier life and we can shed the ways of thinking that haven’t.

One of the interesting things about learning English is that it holds a wider range of perspectives than usual languages since it is truly a global language. Every nation with English as its national language has its own unique culture that changes the way English is used. Australians, people from the US, Canadians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Singaporeans to name a few all have their own mental models. You don’t just learn about one culture or one way of thinking. When you add that to the number of countries that learn English as a second language then you really gain a sense of just how many cultures are contributing to the mental modes available in English.

This brings me to the second part of this article’s title, high school English. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to observe the way English is taught in high schools in Japan. One of the things I noticed is that English language despite being a different way of seeing the world is being taught as a way of reinforcing Japanese perspectives. To repeat that, the subject English in Japan is used to teach Japanese moral education. I would not be surprised to find that that our countries treat language education the same way.  This means that a major benefit to learning a language, the chance to reflect on our own society and our own ways of thinking, has been removed.

To conclude, when you teach a language you should include the way that native users of that language think and why they speak the way they do. In doing so we can work towards creating a better way of living in which we combine the mental models of the world’s cultures.


Google Translate:






Meet Mamiko

Our friend and a past student of mine talks about her experience in Australia. Including why she went there and why she thinks others should learn a language in another country.

Thank you Mamiko


Here is what she said in Japanese:





そして、オーストラリアにはたくさんの違う人種、国籍の人がいます。私は、ヨーロッパ人、韓国人、中国人、その他のアジア人 なとたくさんの人を見ました。











Have you learnt a language overseas?

Do you want to learn a language overseas?

Tell me about your experience in the comments