About the course

Essential Reading Second Edition is a three-level course for young adult and adult learners, from A2 to B1+. It teaches essential reading skills through texts with a variety of engaging topics tailored to Asian learners. This second edition offers a new design, updated materials to reflect changing society and trends, and a completely new Teacher’s Presentation Kit to aid classroom teaching.

The Student Books come with 12 topic-based units per level, featuring a variety of motivating reading texts and activities which develop not just reading but also listening, speaking, writing, vocabulary and grammar skills. Critical thinking skills are built through engaging questions for speaking and discussion. Review pages for each unit enable ongoing evaluation of progress.


Student Book


New Life Skills feature teaches transferable, real-life skills in the categories Self and Society, Study and Learning, and Work and Career.


Life skills feature


An extract from Macmillan Graded Readers per level promotes extensive reading and exposes students to different genres of text.


Extract from Macmillan Graded Reader


Teacher’s File and course website offer additional materials, including updated culture notes and supplementary photocopiable activities, and help teachers plan a lesson that perfectly suits their students.

The free online Test Generator provides extra reading passages and comprehension questions for teachers to create progress tests tailored to their students.

Completely new Teacher’s Presentation Kit includes interactive activities and complete audio of all reading passages and listening activities, which allow teachers to enjoy interactive, dynamic lessons with the whole class.

Teacher’s Presentation Kit

Teacher’s Presentation Kit


Interactive activity

Interactive activity



Reviews / What people say

Recommendation – “Excellent variety of exercises”

What I find very useful for students in this course book is the excellent variety of exercises. Students can actually get to understand the reading text better and also learn different ways of saying the key words or common phrases. These exercises distinguish this course book from other books with traditional reading comprehension questions, which tend to focus on ‘testing’ students’ factual knowledge and often make students feel frustrated or bored rather than helping them to improve their reading skills. The exercises presented in Essential Reading usually allow students to notice the situational meaning in the text and lead them to pick up real language used in everyday life. The two texts in each unit give students better ideas about a topic, by presenting different perspectives.

Chu, Po-ying, Professor of Taipei National University of the Arts, Taipei, Taiwan

Testimonial – “an enjoyable and effective way to develop language skills”

To encourage independent reading, Essential Reading covers the key fundamentals of general reading skill development, vocabulary building, and dictionary use skills. The series also promotes extensive reading practices by providing information on the practice and introducing selections of Macmillan graded readers, giving students the opportunity to see that reading in English at their level of difficulty can be an enjoyable and effective way to develop language skills.

Dr Scott Miles, Head of the ESL Program, Dixie State University, US


About the authors

  • Scott Miles

    While working on my undergraduate degree in English Literature back in the early 90s, I decided to get a TESOL certificate on the advice of a friend who had taught overseas. After graduating, I taught in Korea for a year and realized that this was the profession I wanted to pursue. I returned to my hometown (Salt Lake City, Utah) and earned a Master’s Degree in TESOL while teaching ESL night classes in a community college. The students were adult immigrants from all around the world and they were simply fantastic.

    Once again, Korea was my destination upon graduation and I was hired as a visiting professor in Sogang University in Seoul, Korea in 2001. The following decade was a productive one in many ways. I married and had three children, completed a PhD in applied linguistics, and began writing and publishing. In 2014, I returned to the United States and now am the head of the ESL department in Dixie State University.

    Although there are a number of areas in English teaching that I research and teach, reading has always been my foremost passion. Reading can play a major role for most learners in learning a new language and, if done right, can make the learning experience an enjoyable one. I hope this comes through in my reading books for Macmillan.

  • Chris Gough

    I started teaching at the school in London where I did my CELTA (Marble Arch Intensive English) a long, long time ago. Like most of us, my aim was to travel and I soon went out to Valencia, where I taught for a couple of years. I came back to London and worked again for M.A.I.E. I did my DELTA and worked for a while as ADOS. I also started to get involved with teacher training for the first time. I missed Spain a lot though, and in 1992, I went out with my girlfriend (now my wife) to Granada, a city I had fallen in love with during an earlier visit. I worked as a DOS for a year and then took over the running of the school for a second year. Though I loved everything about Spanish life, I wouldn’t say that I really enjoyed the stress of running my own school, particularly in a part of the world where competition is so fierce, and we decided to come back to Britain in 1994. London was no longer very appealing and we decided to head for Brighton, where we had both previously lived.

    I lived there for over 20 years and spent my days teaching, training and moderating Trinity certificate courses. For the last seven years, I have been more or less constantly writing, something I’ve enjoyed hugely but which has involved rather a lot of solitude. My family has very recently relocated to Broadstairs, where life is quieter and the air is fresher. I plan to combine writing with teaching and training as far as possible. We have also bought a house in Almeria so we try to spend a couple of months a year out there if we can.

  • Jackie McAvoy

    I’ve been working in the field of education since the 1980s, but not always as a teacher. Having graduated as a graphic designer, I worked for the National Union of Teachers in the UK and for the Malawi Institute of Education in Africa. However, with the advancement of new technology, I was reluctant to swap the drawing board for a computer. So instead of learning how to use desktop publishing, I decided to become a teacher of English as a foreign language and never looked back. I got the DELTA in 1999.

    I’ve been teaching for over 20 years now in Europe, the Middle East and Asia mostly with the British Council. Increasingly, work has focused on teacher training (workshops for local teachers and trainers often with the local Ministry of Education) and materials writing.

    However, I am no longer a technophobe and a lot of my materials writing is for teaching websites, including Macmillan’s ELT online resource site, onestopenglish, and their online learning environment, Macmillan English Campus. I have produced lesson plans and worksheets for the reading and writing parts of the skills section for onestopenglish and interactive language activities for Campus.

    For the last ten years, I have also produced podcasts and learning worksheets for an online podcasting resource for both teachers and learners of English. I am currently living and working in Portugal.