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FOCUS ON WRITING COMPOSITION. By Ray Barker and Louis Fidge Nelson. Pupil's book pound;5.25-pound;5.95. Teacher's Resource Book pound;19.95 plus VAT.

With improvement in writing still lagging behind reading (as measured by SATs results) these books offer a structured way forward for the class teacher. Historically, the problem with composition is that it has too often been "caught" not taught. This series is based firmly on the premise that writing involves identifiable skills which can and should be taught. The activities focus on the range of text types and teaching objectives of the National Literacy Strategy and use a wide range of reading extracts s models for the children's own writing. The writers (including Tolkien, Zephaniah, and Dahl) are excellent exemplars of the objectives. Each unit takes the child through the same process: understanding the text, developing ideas from it and writing their own. The exercises lend themselves perfectly to class, group and individual work.

The teacher's copymasters complement the pupil's books and offer easy-to-use guidance on, for example, writing a newspaper article, a leaflet and instructions. This series will reduce the amount of time spent on planning and resourcing writing activities, saving the teacher's energy for teaching.

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