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EnglishThe Twisted Doors, by Kathie Dior


The Twisted Doors: The Scariest Way in the World to Learn English is a unique book for students of English as a second language. This combined reader-textbook-workbook-audiobook is aimed at upper-beginning to intermediate-level students ages 12 to adult and is available with or without an answer key (teacher's edition and student's edition).

At the heart of the book is a story about the mysterious adventures of a girl and boy trapped in a scary house with twisted doors, which offers a suspenseful way to practice English reading and comprehension. But there's much more to it than that. Each chapter of the story is accompanied by an astonishing variety of supplementary information based on the vocabulary and grammar from that passage.

The first 12 chapters cover basic English grammar and vocabulary in short, easy passages. From chapter 13 on, the story passages get progressively longer and more difficult, and the language lessons are very cleverly incorporated into the story itself. For example, in order to proceed through doors (and thus through the story), the protagonists have to recite certain vocabulary lists or verb conjugations that were studied in earlier chapters.

In addition to the main story, there is a parallel mystery woven into the language materials in each chapter. These activities include

  • crossword puzzles
  • dialogues
  • grammar lessons and quizzes
  • reading comprehension exercises
  • rhyming riddles
  • speaking exercises
  • vocabulary lessons and quizzes
  • word choice exercises
  • word scrambles

The Twisted Doors game near the end of the book (and on the back cover) can be used over and over to practice English grammar and vocabulary from the book or based on anything else teachers want to work on.

On the audio CD, the author Kathie Dior dramatically recites the story with a different voice for each character. The narrator's recitation is clear and fairly slow - intermediate students shouldn't have any trouble understanding.

Although The Twisted Doors is written for upper beginning- to intermediate-level students, with a little creative thinking it can be used by just about anyone: beginners can practice listening while following along in the book, to get used to the sound and appearance of English; teachers can use it during story time - listen to a chapter or two, review the grammar, lead a discussion, and then pass out photocopies of the text; etc.

All in all, with 39 chapters and nearly 300 pages, The Twisted Doors is an extensive and unusual ESL textbook. If you're tired of how dry and boring most ESL learning materials are, open The Twisted Doors and allow the mystery to pull you in.

The Twisted Doors website


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