Twisted Doors, by Kathie Dior
The Twisted Doors: The Scariest Way in the World to Learn
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
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
- 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
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