Cross phase

SOUNDBITES (Pack 1). Collins pound;34.99 per set.

Soundbites, Collins's latest venture into the graded reading arena, is sure to be a welcome addition to any school's library of materials to support the development of literacy in weaker readers.

The series consists of four packs - each aimed at a specific reading age range.

The review set, pack 1, is aimed at a reading age of six to seven-years-old. It consists of six books which blend fiction and non-fiction interestingly and attractively.

The range includes poetry, biography, drama, original fiction and retellings (including Shakespeare), all ofwhichare colourfully illustrated with photographs and cartoons, and should appeal to both girls and boys.

Collins promises a Teacher's Support Pack in January 2001, which should be helpful if schools are using all their human resources (sixth-formers, or non-specialists, for example) to operate paired reading schemes.

There is plenty of scope for this sort of initiative as schools develop their strategies for developing literacy.

If there is one grumble it is that the cost for the set of six slim volumes is a bit steep.

Chris Breese is head of English at Marriots school, Stevenage

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