Ruda-Peachey Education Ltd

IELTS Reading Practice: Academic
Book Review

Once again, Tom O’Reilly has kindly invited me to write a review on a resource due to be published in October by Prosperity Education. I jumped at the opportunity to have a sneak peek at (and write about!) what Peter Clements and Paul Murphy had put together. Although I’m not familiar with Paul’s work, I am a big fan of Peter’s, so I knew it was going to be something inspiring, and they certainly delivered. What’s more, I’m very pleased to see Prosperity Education venturing into the IELTS world, as their main focus has been Cambridge exam preparation...or at least it was, up until now!


About the book


Ielts Reading Practice: Academic (Prosperity Education) by Peter Clements and Paul Murphy is a self-study resource that gradually helps test-takers achieve a score of band 6 or higher. Although it is classed as a ‘student book’, I believe this resource could be successfully used during a teacher-led lesson to provide lots of additional language and supplementary materials. 


The book is divided into 14 units, each covering a task type in a clear and linear manner. 


The book also includes: Extra Activities, Glossary & Index, as well as Answers.


The review


Every unit is organised in three main parts: Think and Prepare, Practise, and Put it to the test

Think and Prepare

Each unit starts by engaging the students with cognitive thinking tasks which give them the chance to reflect on the topic and on their ideas and opinions. 


Like this one:



Or this - and note how it links to the speaking part of the exam:



This part continues with the introduction of challenging - yet useful - vocabulary and phrases that will be practised in the exercises that follow. There is an obvious emphasis on pre-task preparation in this book, and this is not by chance. It is clear that the purpose is to build the students’ confidence prior to tackling the reading text. 


See a sample below:


I love this first part because it has been designed keeping in mind the emotional AND the cognitive aspect of the learner.


But wait...there’s more! 


In a clutter-free fashion, tips and notes have been added to support the test-takers in their self-study, and to give some hints for teachers who are new at exam preparation lessons.


Great idea! Look:




Here the learner finds a topic-related text (shorter than what they’ll work on during the exam) to practice the vocabulary (from the previous section) and task-specific techniques. Working at their own pace, learners can reflect on what they find straightforward and what they need to improve on. 


I love how the practice tasks develop learners’ cognitive thinking skills, while gradually laying a path towards the main task.

Check it out:



But wait...there’s more! 

Like the previous section, Practise offers additional features.

Again, the focus of these ‘reflection points’ is to develop the learners’ critical thinking skills. By discovering their strong and weak areas, and reflecting upon them, test-takers are improving their language and cognitive abilities as well as preparing for their test.


Put it to the test

There’s no safety net here! The learners test themselves working on a task which replicates that of an official IELTS reading paper.

Topics and reading texts


The topics range from the good ol’ faithfuls (e.g. the environment, travel, public transport) to new (cool!) ones. I think this is a massive advantage - there’s no doubt students AND teachers will be grateful for some fresh ideas.


Look. Aren’t they cool?!? I think so...


The reading texts are original and engaging - I love taking advantage of new materials that can be recycled, reused, adapted and, ultimately, exploited. There’s also a very useful feature that is often overlooked. Can you spot it below?



That’s right - challenging vocabulary is in bold - it’s easy to identify! With definitions, parts of speech, and relevant page numbers, the glossary at the back of the book promotes the ‘go and check mentality’, as James Fuller calls it, in his review.



Just in case it wasn’t clear - I really like this book. With a ‘less-is-more’ approach regarding design and layout, this resource has everything the IELTS test-taker needs for self-study, but there’s a lot more to this book. It’s a well crafted supplementary (and support) tool for teachers, and not only for IELTS preparation classes. 


Would you like to know more?


But wait...there’s more! 


Prosperity Education are also publishing Jane Turner’s IELTS Reading Practice: Academic Sample Papers. It goes without saying, this would perfectly complement Clements and Murphy’s student book.


Order it here: