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Right on cue

ACTIVE DRAMA. By Sheree Vickers. Evans KS1 pound;33.87. KS2 pound;39.99

The play's the thing! Enshrined in the National Literacy Strategy, drama is back with a bang (cue special effects). Active Drama comprises a teacher's book and six copies each of two plays (Snow White and Murder Mystery Weekend for seven to 11-year-olds, Little Red Riding Hood and In the Library Sshh! for infants.

One of the many aims is to encourage children to "perform" with expression - we all know the lively, mouthy child who suddenly becomes a mumbling introvert when faced with a script and a real audience. The books enable children to gain insight into stage directions, dialoue layout and dramatic devices. Moreover, they contribute to work on genre (fairy tales, mysteries).

The plays support the author's claim that children have contributed to their creation. Some of the humour which I thought off the wall had the kids shrieking with appreciative laughter in "performance" (performance could be a read-through in the book corner). Snow White, in particular, is ideal for an end of term production and all the plays have line illustrations which act as staging notes.

The teacher's books include games and activities which will develop not just literacy but also pupils' team work and self-esteem. Recommended.

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