Book Review by Beatriz (Wonder)

Wonder is a book that I especially enjoyed, because I have a child who is the same age, and it helped to me to understand certain issues, with this nice and emotional story.

The author has really gripped me because of the easy language, and humanitarian plot.

It is wonderful.

It tells the story of a boy that was born with a hard physical problem that makes him a special person in more ways that we can imagine. The author makes you love the character, and you can understand his relationship with all the people that are involved with him.

What I really loved about the story is how the author describes in a perfect way all the feelings of the characters, from every point of view, in order to thought-provoke the reader, who could understand the huge power of overcoming what you can have if you learn to love yourself.

I certainly would highly recommend reading this book to teenagers, because it is a way to set them in the society.

All in all it is a highly recommended book for adults, not only to parents, that could identify with the story, but also for any different more sensitive people.

Beatriz

Book Review by Mercè G. (Wonder)

I really enjoyed the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s interestly organized into different chapters for each character. It’s an emotional novel, even though it is a sad story, one of the strongest points is that it’s very humanitarian and some pages make you laugh out loud.

The plot is fascinating when we first meet the main character Auggie, who was born with his face deformed. The book is set in the current day and it tells the story of Auggie’s difficulties because he is different.

Over the course of the story we little by little find out that Auggie is intelligent, wonderful and a kind boy. What I really loved is how Auggie overcomes complicated situations.

I would strongly recommend this book to teenagers who enjoy make disgusting jokes to people that are a bit different.

All in all the book is emotional and compassionate and everyone should read it.

Book Review by Mercè (Wonder)

I enjoyed being able to reading this book a lot, and it was in English! It was the first time I finish a book written in a foreign Language in a few weeks.

It is easy to read, and I found it very orginal in its structure. The idea of writting  each chapter from the point of view of the different characters of the story makes it very funny. And one can imagine the universe aroung Auggie. I recommend it to everyone, but I think it is especially appropiate for the young readers.

The story of Auggie is very touching. As you go on with the book you discover how every character feels about him.

The plot tells the story of Auggie, a boy who has a deformity in his face which makes him different from de rest.

He starts going to school after being educated at home for years. How will the children in the school react? How will Auggie feel?

The way of writing every chapter from a different point of view on the same subject makes you identify with one character or another.

I recommend this book to young people, and teachers in order to work with in class, bullying and the different people you can meet an how to manage this.

Book Review by Silvia (Wonder)

Introduction
WONDER is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It gripped me from the first page. The book tells the story of August, a special kid who was born different.

One of the strongest points of the book is the ability to express the feelings of the different characters. On the other hand, the story is as sad as humanitarian and it shows the best and the worst part of human beings. At the end, the book gave the readers a powerful and positive message.

Describe story, main characters
“I am not an ordinary boy”- August Pullman (our main character) said at the very beginning of the book. And actually, he’s not. The book is about him, his family and friends ant the story is set in USA, in a middle class family who have a daughter and son. Their lives got an unexpected change when August was born because he had several and important health problems and a not ordinary (and frightening) face.

For this reason, August didn’t go to school until 5th grade when August’s mom, Isabel, decides it was time for August to leave the security of home and to meet boys and girls and the real life.

It was not ever easy for August, his sister Mia, and the young girls and boys from the school, to have a boy like August as a classmate. But what I really love is the way almost everyone’s lifes got touched and the way everybody had an important lesson to learn about life, compassion and empathy.

Mia, August’s sister is such an intelligent and great little woman. Her life was really touched by the fact of being the sister of such a “special” and “unique” boy, and she developed several qualities that make her an extraordinary human being, even if it was painful and hard.

Student Book Club: Wonder

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Una de las actividades con la que nuestros alumnos disfrutan mucho es leyendo una novela en común con sus compañeros de clase. Cada semana, alumnos y profesor se marcan un objetivo (x número de páginas o capítulos) y, en la siguiente clase, dedican unos minutos a comentar qué ha sucedido, a valorar la lectura, resolver dudas de vocabulario, etc.

A continuación, os dejamos 4 reseñas de la novela ‘Wonder’. Resulta interesante leer cómo cada alumno aporta su toque y estilo en la escritura de sus Book Reviews.
¡Échales un vistazo!

Book Review by Beatriz
Wonder is a book that I especially enjoyed, because I have a child who is the same age, and it helped to me to understand certain issues, with this nice and emotional story.

The author has really gripped me because of the easy language, and humanitarian plot. It is wonderful. Read more

Book Review by Silvia
WONDER is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It gripped me from the first page. The book tells the story of August, a special kid who was born different.

One of the strongest points of the book is the ability to express the feelings of the different characters. On the other hand, the story is as sad as humanitarian and it shows the best and the worst part of human beings. At the end, the book gave the readers a powerful and positive message. Read more

Book Review by Mercè
I enjoyed being able to reading this book a lot, and it was in English! It was the first time I finish a book written in a foreign Language in a few weeks.

It is easy to read, and I found it very orginal in its structure. The idea of writting  each chapter from the point of view of the different characters of the story makes it very funny. And one can imagine the universe aroung Auggie. I recommend it to everyone, but I think it is especially appropiate for the young readers. Read more

Book Review by Mercè G.
I really enjoyed the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s interestly organized into different chapters for each character. It’s an emotional novel, even though it is a sad story, one of the strongest points is that it’s very humanitarian and some pages make you laugh out loud.

The plot is fascinating when we first meet the main character Auggie, who was born with his face deformed. The book is set in the current day and it tells the story of Auggie’s difficulties because he is different. Read more

Review of Speak Up Magazine by Raúl Millan

Raúl Millan, one of our English students, has written a review about Speak Up. Thanks a lot Raúl!

pjev51gtINTRODUCTION
When learning English it’s very useful to have access to resources of authentic written and spoken language. Nowadays the Internet provides countless resources online. However, for those of us who still enjoy reading on good old-fashioned paper, I would recommend the Speak Up magazine.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Speak Up is a monthly magazine designed for Spanish speakers who are learning English. It first came out 25 years ago and since then has been adapting and renewing its content and style to keep up-to-date.

The magazine’s articles cover different topics; current affairs and news, English-speaking travel destinations, music and literature releases and short fiction stories. Colourful pictures bring light to the topics and the magazine’s CD provides authentic spoken English.

WHY IS THE MAGAZINE GOOD FOR ENGLISH LEARNERS?
I would personally recommend this magazine for English learners for the following reasons:

  • It is easy to acquire. You can purchase each issue for less than €6. However, if you don’t want to
  • It covers almost all English-learning levels, from pre-intermediate to advanced. As each article is identified by its language level you can focus on the articles that fit your language capabilities or on those that you are more interested in.
  • The topics covered are interesting and up-to-date so you don’t have the feeling that you’re reading old English material.
  • The magazine’s CD helps you to improve your listening skills, especially if you try to understand it before reading the transcript. You can even purchase or borrow a DVD option where an English film is provided together with the magazine as well as a short booklet in which the film and its language is explained in detail.
  • Key words and fixed expressions are explained and translated into Spanish.
  • Finally, I would like to point out that the magazine has a smart and attractive design.

Student’s Review. Steve Jobs’ Biography by Antoni Ardanuy

Hoy os dejamos con una review que ha escrito nuestro alumno Antoni Ardanuy.
Thank you very much for this great contribution!

descargaAt the moment I am reading an interesting book about Steve Jobs’ life, one of the most revolutionary men in the field of modern computer systems and derivate technologies and one of the founders of Apple. It is a long book but if you are interested in the complicated life of this man it is a good book of reference. He has clearly impacted our lives, whether you are Interested in him or not.

This biography is a long and detailed account of Steve Jobs’ life from when he was a young boy. It describes the atypical life of an atypical character in detail, helping you to understand the great contradictions of this man. He was most known for creating the modern personal computer and the book also explains why these events happened at the beginning of the 70’s and in that part of the world, California.

For me it was quite difficult to understand some of the vocabulary in this book as well as some of the grammatical expressions. Even so, this difficulty is a good reason to learn. The wide vocabulary that the writer uses is interesting and there were a lot of words that I had never heard before.

In fact, I was almost at the limit of being able to read the book completely considering my excessive use of the dictionary. Perhaps I just wanted to understand the most I could. As almost everyone already knows about Steve Jobs, it is easy to understand the general story. It is also easy to read in short segments as it is not a novel or something that requires great attention for a long time in order to enjoy it.

Student’s Review. BBC’s website ‘Learning English’ by Lourdes Montero

Hoy os traemos una nueva review escrita por una de nuestras alumnas de inglés. ¡No os perdáis sus recomendaciones hablando de la página de BBC, donde encontraréis infinidad de recursos para practicar! Thank you very much Lourdes!

Sin títuloIntroduction
One of the biggest difficulties when learning English is understanding people when they are speaking. Oral comprehension is one of the skills that we English learners have to improve in order to gain linguistic skills and fluency.

Nowadays it’s much easier to learn languages thanks to the Internet. In this respect, there are a multitude of free resources available to help in the learning of English. One of the main websites dedicated to this goal is the BBC’s. It’s a virtual place where you can be in touch with real British English.

What’s it about?
The BBC is a world broadcasting reference in the English language. Furthermore, its importance in journalism, news, education and culture is well-known throughout the world, especially within English-speaking countries. In non-English-speaking countries, the BBC represents a model of success and a huge school of this world language.

In its educating role, the BBC has a specific website called Learning English, which is really helpful for vocabulary and expressions and also for listening practice:

Why is this website good for English learners?
BBC’s Learning English website is part of the BBC World Service, which offers free audio, video and reading materials to English learners around the world. Thanks to this wide range of multimedia, every learner can choose the most appropriate material for their needs.

You can access courses according to your level, topics depending on your needs or interests and material relevant for each level. Here are my three favourite sections:

  1. 6-minute English. In these podcasts, BBC presenters discuss a topic and at the same time introduce related vocabulary. Some of the listening files include quotes from an interview or the participation of a guest speaker.
  2. LingoHack. This section uses authentic BBC World news bulletins. Key words are selected from certain pieces of news to help learners go into depth of the meaning.
  3. The English we speak. This part provides phrases and expressions that can be used in everyday conversations, just like native English speakers do.

Student’s Review. ‘TED’s App’ by Marta Franco

 

Como ya sabéis, cada mes publicamos en nuestro blog un pack de actividades self-study relacionado con un vídeo TED. Hoy Marta Franco, una de nuestras alumnas de inglés, os explica qué es la APP de TED y qué beneficios os puede aportar. Thank you very much Marta!

TED-Featured-talksIntroduction
Do you want to a take a journey through ideas, inventions, new ways to think and create, and also learn English at the same time? The official TED App for your phone or tablet allows you to listen to TED Talks from the world’s remarkable minds. With subtitles in over 90 languages, if English isn’t your first language, this may be the best way to improve your English skills.

What’s it about?
The application has plenty of Ted Talks content and offers different ways to access it. The most interesting option is to download talks to watch when you’re offline. You can then watch them every day on your train or bus journey, without consuming mobile data. Among other useful features, there is an option to bookmark talks to watch later on and to build a custom playlist.

Why is the app good for English learners?
The app offers the entire TED Talks video library with subtitle options and the menu itself can be browsed in the user’s preferred language. You also have the transcript of every talk in the language you prefer. Furthermore, most of the talks are given in English so you can feed your knowledge of the language and explore new and innovative topics. What’s more, if you need to give presentations in public you can learn good oral skills from great speakers as they organize ideas logically, focus, incorporate humour, connect with the audience and so on!

Marta Franco

Student’s Review.’A trip to New York’ by Eliseu Vilaclara

First of all, we want to thank Eliseu for this great contribution to our blog!

new_york_at_nightAfter a first attempt to go to New York with my youngest son, my wife, who had always said that she never would go there, changed her mind and decided to come with us. My younger daughter, obviously, decided the same, whereas my elder daughter couldn’t come with us, and didn’t want to anyway.

So, the summer of 2014, four members of my family took a plane to John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport after a stopover in Geneva.

The first feeling at the US airport was we were on the trip of a lifetime. My wife was astonished. I suddenly kissed her and an airport worker looked at me and said “love is in the air”. I was happy, not only for his reaction but because I was able to understand the first words I heard in English!

This joy disappeared the first time we went to have breakfast at a Starbucks near our hotel. I didn’t understand anything. It can’t be so difficult to ask for a coffee with milk, but there were a lot of possibilities about the kind of milk, the temperature, the kind of coffee, the size of the cup… and I got lost.

My son was our tourist guide. After a glance at the map, he was able to lead us to Little Italy, the Rockefeller Centre, the Empire State, Central Park, or wherever we wanted to go!

It’s difficult to sum up what we visited, but the three best things we did, in my opinion, were: attending a Gospel Mass in Harlem, feeling the old pain in the World Trade Centre Memorial and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, heading to Manhattan when the city lights were gradually coming on.

One of the things which surprised me the most was the lack of investment the authorities make in public services, like the underground. Certainly it’s charming, maybe because it reminds of you a lot of films, but it’s not only “under ground”, it’s also “under-maintained”!

All of us miss that city. When in any series we see the Flatiron Building or the Statue of Liberty, we think about that summer and we are filled with a sudden longing for NY.

And now, from time to time, my wife says “how about going to New York in winter…” and I can’t help thinking “you never wanted to go…”.

Eliseu Vilaclara