Last year, I was involved in writing for a new series of coursebooks by OUP aimed at teenagers called Oxford Discover Futures. I wrote ‘Writing workshop’ sections for the two highest level student books; level 5/B2+ and level 6/C1. I’ve just received a copy of level 5 and level 6 is due out later in the year.
I was asked to come in for the higher levels, in part, because of my background in EAP. The two highest levels are aimed at students at the end of high school, so are starting to look ahead to the kind of writing skills needed in higher education. Each six-page workshop introduces and practises a different text type and in these two, we looked at summaries and academic essays.
Whilst the subskills we wanted to practise were very familiar to me, finding appropriate topics as a focus proved to be more of a challenge. Because coursebook series are often written more-or-less in level order, the writers of the highest levels always get last dibs on topics, with editors keen not to repeat too closely themes that have been covered in other books. Which can sometimes prove really challenging! After lots of discussions with my editor, for level 5, we finally settled on a broad theme of ‘learning’ with two texts that provided the focus of summary writing tasks – one about what we learn from siblings as we’re growing up and the second about lifelong learning.
For me, it was quite a short project and just a small contribution to the series, but a really interesting writing challenge.