Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "four skills" book?
A four skills book is a book that teaches the four skills essential to mastering effective English communication: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. They are sometimes also referred to as "integrated courses." Canadian four skills books include: Culture Link, Canadian Language Basics, Breakthroughs, and Step Forward Canada.
What are the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs)?
The CLBs are a nation-wide standard used for assessing and describing the English language proficiency of adults who are newcomers to Canada, or who wish to immigrate to Canada. The CLBs were designed to be a fair, reliable, and practical standard of English proficiency in workplace, community, educational, and training settings.
The CLBs are organized as a set of benchmarks that describe the ability of a non-native English speaker to read, write, speak, and understand English. They provide educators with a consistent national standard by which to assess English language learners, and they use real and practical language tasks to gauge a learner's progress. The CLBs also assist educators in developing their teaching and assessment strategies.
You can learn more about the CLBs at the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks' website, where you can also download a copy of the benchmarks.
What is an ESL dictionary? Why should I use one instead of a standard English dictionary?
An ESL dictionary is a dictionary designed specifically to meet the needs of people whose first language is not English. It provides different and additional information from a standard dictionary.
Features of Oxford ESL dictionaries:
- They define words clearly and concisely, so that no matter how complex the word, the definition is always understandable.
- They provide examples to demonstrate how words are used.
- They show how words are used in idiomatic expressions and as phrasal verbs.
- They provide pronunciation guides on every page.
- The Oxford ESL Dictionary (Intermediate-Upper Intermediate) includes illustrations so that learners can connect words with what they represent, as well as notes on the level of formality of words, stars to indicate important words, Canadian words and cultural notes, and grammar information.
- The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (High Intermediate-Advanced) highlights the "Oxford 3000", the 3000 key words that learners of English need to know, and synonym notes to help students choose the right word.
English language learners benefit from using an ESL dictionary because they learn the most important words first, they learn exactly how, when, where, and why to use them, and they learn precisely what words mean so that they can effectively use them at work, home, and school.