The authors of this book are fascinated by tabular layouts and use them with the flimsiest of excuses. A table on page three represents the elements and time allocations of the literacy hour - information you would need to have spent 18 months in the outback not to be familiar with already.
A significant proportion of this book is written in Martian-style observations. A paragraph about guided reading says: "The children then read the text to themselves while the teacher remains with the group, listening, watching and intervening where necessary." Cue for Martian giggling.
Set among such redundant observations, numbered lists, tables and uncaptioned black-and-white photographs, the key issues identified in the book's opening section are never properly addressed. Boys' reading is given a couple of columns, phonics even less space. The statement "segmen-ting speech at the level of phonemes is notoriously difficult for children to do" is surely worth further elaboration.
There is some useful advice about implementing the literacy hour, but the photocopiable planning sheets at the back com-pound the book's lack of focus.
Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex