Textbooks: What are you reading?

Hello Everyone,

Today on the Ibaraki JET space, we have an article by Randy Guevara, a third-year ALT working in Hokota. This article describes some of the textbooks used by different levels of high schools in Ibaraki. It’s a good resource if you want to get an idea about what the students do when you’re not there, or if you’ve been asked to help out with textbook lessons. Take a look below!

Have an interview, blog post, or lesson idea you’d like to share? Email the Ibaraki JET PAs at ibarakijetpa@gmail.com


Textbooks: What are you reading?

An Article By: Randy Guevara

Each ALT probably has a different experience how much the course readings are integrated into team teaching. Some ALTS might not know the name, or even seen a textbook where others are instructed to build activities from a specific passage each lesson.

Creating original lessons versus covering textbook material during TT is an important topic and often raised at the annual ALT Skill Development Conference. After reading responses from the SDC Report from recent years, it can be concluded our Japanese team teachers desire a balance of both.

To highlight the two main reasons expressed by our team teachers why using the course material is important when team teaching is first, the students are familiar with the English expressions/vocabulary from the textbook. Second, they believe ALTs bring new and different ideas, games, activities to the material that can be more exciting for the students to study.

Regardless of how much the textbook is used at your school, it is good to know our JTES need to use them to fulfill their job requirements and sometimes that means it will overlap with your team teaching experience. Below is a list of required reading materials for some high schools.

General disclaimer: The textbooks mentioned range from low-high level high schools. There are other high school texts, as well as elementary and junior high school readings that are not listed. Please feel free to contribute and add materials!


Reading English

This is a read and answer workbook. The book is distributed strictly for homework on the weekends and students are to complete one page each week.

Focus Finder

This is referred to as the “training” or “drill” book. The readings contain grammar questions and the students are given a 20 question test each week. This book is used with 1st grade students.

Database 4500

This is a vocabulary book. It contains translations from English to Japanese.

The students are given one test each week. 1st grade students: 20 questions; 2nd grade students: 30 questions.

Vision Quest I, II, & III

This series of textbooks are to help students learn “expression”. The textbook contains grammar and English expressions with explanations. It is used with both 1st and 2nd grade students.

Element: English Communication I & II

This series of textbooks are for reading, listening and comprehension. The textbook contains different passages and followed with comprehension questions. It is used with all grades (1st -3rd).

Eiken Booklets

Some students take the Eiken written test outside of school. If they pass the written test, students might ask English teachers or the ALT to help with speaking practice. The Eiken books at school are to help students with the speaking section of the test. Depending on the level, the books contain practice tests – reading and comprehension questions with a variety of pictures to describe.


Grove Communications I, II, & III

The textbook contains different passages followed with comprehension questions. It is used with all grades (1st -3rd).

My Passport – English Conversation

This textbook is for students to understand communication. The textbook contains scenarios with a dialogue for students to study.

Step – Oral Communication 1

This textbook is also for students to understand communication. Similar to “My Passport”

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