ESL Teacher Textbook Review – The Oxford Picture Dictionary

If you are an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher looking for the ultimate textbook to teach your students vocabulary, then you are going to love the Oxford Picture Dictionary (Monolingual English). This textbook is perfect for any ESL student and any ESL teacher. It can be used by students of all levels, and contains important English words or vocabulary. We use this book at our ESL school, Hawaii Literacy’s Drop In Center, because it can be used with any level of student. As long as the student has learned their basic ABCs and basics of English reading, they can learn from it effectively.

To understand the amazing adaptability of this ESL textbook, I will discuss a little more about how it is used in our school. The Drop-In Center is a free ESL school for the local immigrant community of Hawaii, hence student attendance is not consistent. Students are free to come and go and thus it is difficult to have a traditional lesson plan structure. In addition, since the school is mostly run by volunteers, there are often not enough ESL teachers to divide students into different levels.

The Oxford Picture Dictionary offers many advantages for us:

1) It has relevant vocabulary for all levels of students (you can check out the table of contents on

2) Students and ESL teachers can begin on any page at any time (so new students will not feel like they are behind the class).

3) Pictures can be understood even if the student has a very minimal level of English.

4) All levels of students find the book useful and engaging.

5) The teacher’s manual and workbooks are excellent and make teaching and learning much easier.

6) It is inexpensive for most students (about $17)

Of course, even with these many advantages, the book is a reference book…a picture dictionary. Therefore, in order to make it interesting to students, the ESL teacher will need to integrate it into an effective classroom experience.

For my class, I usually use the Teacher’s Manual, which already has ready made sample dialogues, lists of sentences for dictation, discussion questions, related vocabulary and other suggested activities. I might throw in a quiz or two to help the students check their comprehension.

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