The 5 Best Books for Teaching IELTS

There are so many ways to teach IELTS, but without a good textbook, it can be tough, especially if you’re working with a large class. I’ve used lots of IELTS textbooks over the years, and I’m going to share with you some of my favourites.

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The Collins for IELTS Series

Collins has a range of books for IELTS and I’ve had the pleasure of using some of them. The three below are among my absolute most favourite IELTS textbooks:

1. Reading for IELTS

This is a really great book. I’ve been using it for the past year with a group of students at about the 5.5-6.5 level, and it’s pretty much perfect. Each chapter begins with a vocabulary lesson, and then gets into reading techniques. It looks at how to read quickly and efficiently, as well as how to master common IELTS question types. Students are guided through basic activities, into more challenging ones, before finally doing some realistic IELTS-type exercises. You couldn’t ask for more!

2. Speaking for IELTS

This book is pretty similar to the previous, except that, as you’d imagine, it’s about speaking! It begins with vocabulary exercises and then moves into speaking work, covering issues like pronunciation. The book comes with some recordings, so students can hear model answers. To be honest, though, some of the part two sample answers are really, really long! It’s a bit unrealistic. Still, the language is great. There are loads of practice questions throughout the book, allowing your students lots of opportunity to do some speaking practice.

3. Writing for IELTS

To be honest, I’ve used this less than the others books. While I have used the speaking and writing textbooks extensively in my classes, I’ve only supplemented lessons with this writing book. That’s because I usually prefer to make my own writing lessons with material I have built up over the years. However, what I have used from this textbook has proven valuable, and I’d certainly recommend it highly to other IELTS teachers. The four component books (writing, reading, listening, speaking) all follow the same thematically linked chapter structure, and so you can mix and match really easily.

4. Focus on IELTS

I’ve been using this book for years and in fact it’s a bit dated in certain sections. That’s natural when it comes to areas like technology, but it doesn’t really hold the book back. It’s still up-to-date in terms of IELTS information and is a really useful book for students around the 5.0 level. Its chapters are all based on common IELTS topics and contain a mix of speaking, listening, reading, and writing activities.

5. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS

Of course, we must also include the official guide in this list, right? This dense volume isn’t particularly exciting, but it is very useful. It pretty much contains everything your students need to know about the IELTS exam. Unlike the books listed above, this guide doesn’t teach “IELTS language” – ie vocab and grammar. Instead, it teaches the necessary information about the exam, such as question types and structure.

Bonus: Grammar for IELTS Writing

Ok, ok, ok… you got me. This is actually my book. I wrote it! It would be unfair for me to include it in the list, but I’ll shamelessly tack it on at that end. This is a handbook that includes all necessary grammar for getting students’ writing skills up to about a band 7.0.

Head Teacher
I'm the founder and editor of Beatdom Literary Journal, author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. I'm also a teacher and operate the popular website, TED-IELTS.

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