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Extra attractions on the route to France

ROUTE NATIONALE EXTRA 1 2. By Margaret Butler, Ros Martin and Daphne Philpot. Teachers' Pack 1 0 17 43994 3 X Teachers' Pack 2 0 17 439946 4 Thomas Nelson Pounds 50 each

Route Nationale Extra 1 and 2 are designed for use in conjunction with Route Nationale 1 and 2 and provide additional material for pupils with learning difficulties. Each pack consists of a Teacher's Resource Book and a duplicating master cassette. The Resource Book provides detailed teacher's notes plus a wealth of photocopiable material.

Among the huge number of schools already successfully using Route Nationale, these packs have been awaited impatiently and they will now surely be most welcome. One of this resource's original attractions was the built-in differentiation through the three routes, or levels, but many teachers have found the need to simplify activities further to cater for students with areas of learning difficulty. Now this has been done for them, and in an attractive form which is sure to appeal to those pupils. For the teachers it will be a real time-saver.

The high level of both support and practice are designed to lead to successful learning by students who would otherwise have difficulties with the main course. Because the copy masters can be used alongside the original text, differentiated materials are available at any time to any student who might need them. Indeed, some of the ideas are so good that teachers will want to use them for the whole group.

The copy masters work in various ways: * They provide access to the main activities in the original text by providing key pages of written and visual support to be used as future reference material; structured activities with simple, clear stages leading to the main activity; simpler, clearer page lay-outs; simple grids that make listening activities more accessible; activities with a reduced number of tasks, giving a narrower focus to aid comprehension and give confidence in written and spoken work; extra support for writing by providing vocabulary copy masters which support songs; * They offer alternative activities, including materials linked to the alternative extra cassettes; careful structure to lead pupils gently from the simple (eg, copy writing) to the more challenging (completing a letter); simplified French handwriting or original retyped practical activities which give students the opportunity to handle pictures, words, part-sentences to aid sentence production and recognition of meaning; * They add follow-ups and extra songs suited to all abilities; * They offer extra practice; * They consolidate the main book by providing a host of games and puzzles which are fun, often give opportunities for creativity and are certainly motivating.

The cassettes, which can be duplicated for independent student use, consist of very simple, clearly spoken items, free of extraneous noises. There are opportunities for pronunciation practice and, wherever possible, repetition has been naturally built-in.

The copy masters are uncluttered and attractively illustrated; text is kept to a minimum and the layout provides clearly defined spaces for drawing or writing. Many copy masters are suitable for transferring to overhead transparency or the Concept Keyboard. Because many of them are self-supporting, providing vocabulary, examples and models, the copy masters make valuable homework materials.

Through straightforward activities and concrete outcomes the emphasis is on active, successful learning. Students practise at their own rate and, with the support given, progress by gentle steps towards a more independent use of language. There are simple, attractive self-assessment features to record this achievement; and "Celebrations", which bring together the language learned for an enjoyable, recognisable purpose providing the all-important tangible evidence of learning.

Sue Brown is head of modern languages at Stoke Dameral Community College, Plymouth.

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