Title Español Mundial (3rd Edition)
Author Sol Garson, Sonia Asli and Rosa Martínez
Publisher Hodder Murray
ISBN 0340859059
Reviewer Ruth McCann

This is an update to the popular two-part Spanish course Español Mundial and takes students from ab initio to GCSE over either two or three years. It describes itself as ‘exciting’ and although I do not know if I would go quite that far, the layout is certainly very clear and would be user friendly for both teachers and students.

Language is presented in a straightforward way; avoiding gimmicks and placing more emphasis on how it actually all fits together. Vocabulary is introduced at a reasonable rate and is, by and large, placed in cultural context with the inclusion of information about things such as Spanish fiestas and the Madrid metro. Grammar points are presented in their entirety rather than being watered down for beginners and there are plenty of drill type exercises contained within the student’s book itself to make sure that they get it right from the word go. Regular references are also made to the grammar summary included at the back of the book so that hopefully students might learn to use this with a little more regularity!

Even when dealing with the most basic language early on there seems to have been quite an effort made to include longer chunks of text. There is also a good variety of different types of comprehension exercises making sure that all the passages in the book are fully exploited and that there is a good balance between the four skills. There is a workbook to accompany the series though no ICT package as yet.

This course would certainly hold up well in most independent schools. Students are pushed hard from an early stage and the pace is brisk with the emphasis on accurate and authentic language. I would say, however, that the element of excitement the book claims to contain would, in my opinion, have to come from the teacher!