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LESENSWERT. By Kate Corney. Collins pound;6.99

Kate Corney has the knack of knowing exactly what teachers and pupils need. Since the arrival of the "new" GCSE in 1998, there has been a dearth of exam-style reading material, and this book seeks to fill that gap for German. It provides a range of authentic texts of varying lengths and with a wide variety of tasks, all of the type likely to be found in the new GCSE exam.

The texts are grouped under five headings, corresponding to the national curriculum's areas of experience. There are the usual signs, menus, and penfriend letters, as well as more entertaining and off-beat items such as the one on a "dog-friendly" restaurant, or the one giving advice (to fragile teachers?) on how to keep fit through the winter, or the piece about a talking Christmas tree.

It's a pitythe book isn't in full colour. With its black and white photographs and various shades of orange on each page, it is reminiscent of textbooks from 15-20 years ago. But there's a lot of useful stuff here. Vocabulary boxes give on-the-spot help and there is a handy page on the effective use of the dictionary, as well as a glossary of examination rubrics. The book is peppered with advice for GCSE candidates and seems very much on the pupils' side. The provision of an answer key will mean that pupils can work from it on their own - particularly useful when teachers need extension (or reinforcement) work for individuals while the rest of the class gets on with something else.

A most useful book that will be a welcome addition to any department's resources.

Richard Marsden is a writer and languages consultant

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