The first story led to some deep discussions about the universe with my ESL students. I am intrigued by the concept the story puts forth. I wasn't a huge fan of the second story, but two of my students said they really enjoyed it. This audiobook definitely added some creativity to my ESL lessons.
This is a personal favorite for me, as it always comes in handy with new students. Most English learners in the intermediate level do not know half of these idioms and phrasal verbs. The audio helps guide our lessons. I pause the audio to explain further. Very, very useful for English tutors.
I love the endings to both of these stories. They were easy enough for my ESL students to understand, but entertaining enough to not bore me to death during the lessons. I like to pause the multiple choice questions before the answers are spoken to let me students think.
As always, Pimsleur materials are high quality and well structured. Phase 4 introduces a more conversational grasp of the past and future tenses, as well as personal interaction beyond, "I like to play tennis. Do you like to play tennis?" I recommend it for anyone looking to speak and understand Italian.
But also as always, the program will stress new words, like "sito del web," spending a lot of time sounding out "see-toh, see-toh del, see-toh del web," while completely ignoring all the little words that run together to create that real conversational tone. I think most Italians would understand the words website and blog, even if you just said them straight out in English. It's all the "dellas" and "L'ho me hanno dettos" that are sped over. Also, although it's antithetical to Pimsleur's method, a written guide would be nice.
With the Pimsleur method, you really can't go wrong. I've used it for French and Hindi, and native speakers of both languages have praised my pronunciation and grammar (disclosure, I learned French when I was little, and I did a lot of extra Hindi reading and learning beyond Pimsleur). If you combine Byki, Pimsleur and daily reading in the language, you'll be proficient in no time. While I speak Portuguese and French, Italian has been hard to master for a number of reasons--first, it's hard to believe that the language actually sounds like you think it does--my fave quote from Phase 4 is "La nostra mostra ha un piccolo problemma." Second, it is so reflexive that unless you really understand the mechanics of grammar (which I don't, despite my love of speaking different languages), it's easy to get lost in conjugation. And that's one major reason to use Pimsleur. Instead of trying to memorize 501 Italian Verbs and their conjugations, just learning what to say is totally worthwhile.