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READ AND RESPOND SERIES. Edited by Angel Scott. Scholastic Pounds 7.99 each.

Teaching gets busier and busier. So when you come across photocopiable activities of good enough quality to use straight out of the book at an affordable price, it's good news.

The Read and Respond series supports the understanding of books written by popular children's authors for the primary age group. Each has 24 photcopiable activities and teacher's notes to help children prepare for their reading, make sense of what they have read, develop their understanding of the text and evaluate their own response.

At present, there are six photocopiable books available, divided into three ability levels. At the beginner level, the books are Oi! Get Off Our Train by John Burningham and Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. At intermediate there is Fair's Fair by Leon Garfield and The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson and finally at advanced there is The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Six more titles will be available next spring.

The books begin with interesting background detail about the author. They are then divided into helpful sections, entitled Ways in, Making Sense, Developing Ideas and Evaluation. There is an excellent teacher's section at the end with advice on extension work.

Each section has well-presented photocopiable activities appropriate to the level of the child and which encourage them to think critically about what they have read. The activities are lively and imaginative and designed to provoke discussion. Those in The Sheep-Pig booklet include making a graph of the most exciting moments, comparing the book to the video Babe and debating whether farmers should be allowed to shoot stray dogs in the lambing season.

These books would be a great asset in the primary school classroom, saving teacher time and promoting good practice in reader response.

Nicola Jones

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