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Ready to go for reading;Cross-Phase;Literacy;Reviews;Books

Developing Literacy Skills series. Using Stories KS1P1-3. By Pat Hughes.

Using Stories KS2 Y3-4P4-5. By Frances Mackay.

Using Stories KS2 Y5-6P6-7. By Frances Mackay.

Spelling KS1P1-3. By Ray Barker and Glen Franklin.

Spelling KS2Y 3-4P4-5. By Ray Barker and Glen Franklin.

Harlequin pound;11.99 each.

The advent of literacy hour is spawning a plethora of ready-made materials for primary school teachers. The Developing Literacy Skills series is one. It comprises a collection of photocopiable resource books with structured lesson plans for whole-class, group and individual activities covering text, sentence and word-level skills.

Ready-made lesson plans seem a popular format nowadays. Using Stories has three titles covering the age range, while Spelling has two.

Each book has two lesson plans per chapter, with directions for the teacher on starting point and group activities, and suggestions for plenary sessions and follow-up activities. A usefulfeature is the differentiated worksheets, which work well in most of the books but seem contrived in the two Using Stories books at key stage 2.

The two Spelling books use a variety of methods, and while they emphasise phonics, the method is not followed slavishly. The activities in Using Stories cover the study of genres as well as featuring well-known books frequently used in the primary classroom.

While these books would be useful for beginning teachers, established colleagues may find them prescriptive and laborious in their layout, and, in some respects, lacking in imagination. But then some might say this makes them perfect material for the literacy hour.

* Nicola Jones is a special needs teacher in south London.

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