Recommended Reading for CELTA Preparation

by / Thursday, 30 April 2020

Considering applying to do a CELTA or have been accepted on a one? This can be an exciting but daunting time and you are probably wondering where to start with your preparation for the course. You want to ensure that you as prepared as you can be, for what is an extremely worthwhile yet demanding course.

We have had over 130 trainees successfully complete their CELTA course with us and when asked in their interviews what challenges they think they may face on the course, there are three main answers.

  1. I’m worried about teaching grammar. I know I use English grammar correctly, but I don’t know why what I’m saying is correct.
  1. I have teaching experience in a high school / primary school, but I’m worried that the methodology used on the CELTA course will be different to what I know.
  1. I’ve never taught before and I’m really nervous about standing up in front of the class.

So, if you have been having any of these thoughts, you’re not alone.

This blog aims to give you a little information about some of the CELTA pre-course recommended reading. We will look at some grammar books and at some methodology books. We recommend that our trainees buy at least one of the recommended grammar books and at least one of the recommended methodology books before the course. The earlier you can do this the better. It will not only help you to work through the pre-course task sent to you by the centre, but will also help you when completing the four written assignments on the course.


(You can buy the books from Amazon if you click on the titles.)

1. Practical English Usage, 4th edition: Paperback: Michael Swan’s guide to problems in English

Michael Swan is a well-known ELT writer who has published several successful books including ‘Practical English Usage’. A University of Oxford graduate, Swan has a particular interest in second language acquisition. He is also a widely published poet and in 2005 he won The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry translation.

‘Practical English Usage’ is an extremely useful grammar book for all English Language teachers. It’s practically organised to help you find helpful information about different grammar points. Another advantage of the book is that it highlights common student errors and how to help them with these. In addition, not only does it deal with grammar but also vocabulary topics, including an A-Z list of common word problems.

2. Grammar for English Language Teachers

Martin Parrott has had a had a long and varied career. He has worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and author and has worked in several different countries. He has worked for International House, for British Universities, the BBC and in state schools in the U.K and France.

‘Grammar for English Language Teachers’ is a book specially designed to help teachers of English Language develop their grammar awareness, giving useful information about why learners may struggle with certain grammar points. This is great resource for those of you who want to brush up on your grammar before the course but will also be an invaluable resource for lesson planning and writing CELTA assignments on the course itself.


1. The Practice of English Language Teaching 5th Edition Book with DVD Pack (Longman Handbooks for Language Teaching)

Jeremy Harmer is a very well-known and widely read ELT author and has over 40 years’ experience in English Language Teaching. He has produced methodology books, course materials, graded readers and has presented at conferences all over the world. He currently works as an online tutor on the MATESOL programme at The New School, New York.

The first edition of ‘The Practice of English Language Teaching’ was published in 1983. It is currently in its 5th edition. Each edition was revised to ensure that it included the latest developments in the world of English Language Teaching. In this book, you’ll learn about ELT methodology, guidance on managing learners, language and skills and practical teaching ideas. As well as this, the book is accompanied by a DVD with example lessons taught by experienced teachers.

2. Learning Teaching: 3rd Edition Student’s Book Pack (Books for Teachers) (MacMillan Books for Teachers)

Jim Scrivener is another experienced teacher and teacher trainer working in ELT. He is the author several successful texts including ‘Learning Teaching.’ He currently works as an ELT author for Richmond, C.U.P., Macmillan and O.U.P. You can find him on Twitter @jimscriv

‘Learning Teaching’ is a popular methodology book for CELTA Trainees, newly qualified and more experienced teachers. The original edition was published in 1995 and has been updated two more times, most recently in 2011.  This third edition has been adapted and revised to take into account more recent changes in the ELT world. Another advantage of the newer edition is that it is accompanied by a DVD which includes a full lesson being taught by an experienced teacher, in addition to clips of practical teaching techniques.


1. How to Teach Pronuncation Book & Audio CD

On the CELTA course, you will need to analyse any language you are going to teach your learners. We always analyse language for meaning, form and pronunciation (MFP). You will learn how to do this on the course, but getting a head start on the different features of pronunciation before the course begins is a good idea.

We have found that one of the most user-friendly books on pronunciation is ‘How to Teach Pronunciation’ by Gerald Kelly. It is a great text that focuses on the theory of pronunciation, in particular features such as consonants, vowels, stress and intonation. However, in addition to theory, Kelly also provides a wealth of practical tips and techniques for dealing with these different pronunciation features in the classroom.

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