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Literacy Time PLUS Ages 9 to 11 Recommended Read

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This month’s reviews for nine- to eleven- year olds

Tunnels (OUP, 9780192763419)

by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Chicken House, 9781905294428)

Shortlisted in the ‘Richard and Judy Best Children’s Books’ awards in October 2007, this exciting adventure story tells of 14-year-old Will Burrows whose passion for digging leads to a dark and strange underground world, as he searches for his missing father. The thrilling twists and turns of this story will keep you gripped right through to the cliff-hanger ending – with the sequel due for release in 2008.

Active Assessment in English

by Brenda Keogh, John Dabell and Stuart Naylor (Routledge, 9781843124696)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jenkins, Literacy Coordinator, Warwickshire

Active Assessment in English is a book and accompanying CD-ROM aiming to provide primary and secondary English teachers with fun and engaging assessment activities for children learning in English.

One of the key successes of this resource is that the activities assess the learning processes involved in childrens’ learning in English, not just the analysis of written outcomes, as is so often the case. It embraces the ‘aspects of learning’ prevalent in the Revised Framework for Literacy and creates interesting assessment for learning opportunities, not only for teachers’ benefit but also for the benefit of children, as they reflect on their own learning and learn new things in the process. While there are a lot of good activities for use with primary age children, there are also some that would be too difficult. Of the activities that are suitable, effective use would probably be limited to Year 4 upwards.

An excellent feature of this book is that the activities can be annotated and edited using the CD-ROM, or used as a computer-based activity. Tasks are for groups but would also lend themselves to individual, and sometimes whole-class, activities. Tasks link to different genres and aspects of English and would be best used at the start and end of units of work.

I think this is a very useful resource for assessing active learning in English. It would be a useful purchase for the latter end of Key Stage 2.

The Primary English Encyclopedia: The Heart of the Curriculum (Third Edition)

by Margaret Mallett (David Fulton, 9780415451031)

Do you know your diphthongs from your digraphs? Are you au fait with all the main reading programmes published in the UK? And can you really tell the difference between a legend, a myth and a fable? If you have the slightest doubt about saying yes to any of these questions, fear not: the answers are all in The Primary English Encyclopedia. This fantastic resource contains such a comprehensive coverage of literacy topics that it will undoubtedly become one of the most regularly consulted titles on your bookshelf. But don’t wait until you need to look something up; with sections on things like ‘Language across the curriculum’ and ‘Shakespearean drama (in the primary years)’, the book makes interesting reading at any time. There is even ‘A Who’s Who in Primary English?’ at the back.

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