Accent on enjoyment

9th March 2001 at 00:00
SALUT 1. By Val Bates and Carol Laverick. Heinemann Module 1-7 pack pound;10.99. Photocopiable workbook masters pound;68.50. Teacher's guide pound;31.99. Cassette pound;18.50 + vat.

Salut is a key stage 3 course for national curriculum levels 1 and 2, designed for the lowest 10 per cent of the ability range, an audience frequently neglected by coursebook writers. Salut 1 consists of six modules with worksheets and activities in six workbooks, each with approximately 30 pages. A seventh workbook contains the listening materials. It is essential that pupils write in the booklets, which are attractively presented and uncluttered, with sufficient space to complete written tasks.

The activities are varied but simple, with effective support to encourage completion: lines to promote neat handwriting, clues to the length of missing words, clear examples and unambiguous visuals.

Many tasks that involve copying and ordering words alphabetically reinforce basic literacy skills. There is an overall French feel to the workbooks, with instructions in bold type in French and an English translation offered in smaller type below. A particularly nice touch is the Tour Eiffel outline at the start of each module and the Arc de Triomphe at the end, where pupils record their progres.

The glossary in each workbook can be used as an introduction to dictionary skills. It is an interesting idea to put all the listening materials in a separate workbook, and these activities include many simple poems, songs and raps as well as the more usual tasks. The spoken French is clear and readily accessible. Teachers can use some of the 30 games in the resource book to teach and practise the language before using the workbooks; these are an important part of the teaching and fun of the course.

The recurrent theme in Salut 1 is success for pupils. The authors clearly know how to motivate this ability range. I would not hesitate to use this book if the weakest 10 per cent of my pupils were taught together. Salut ties in particularly well with the topic areas vocabulary for the wide ability course Heinemann's Metro. It might be possible to use the Salut booklets for the weakest members of a mixed ability class whose main textbook is Metro. Even where Metro is not in use, most topic areas in Salut 1 are common to most coursebooks. It offers a thoughtful, practical and enjoyable way of enabling the weakest pupils to achieve in French.

Nuala Leyden is head of modern languages at Carlton le Willows comprehensive school, Nottingham

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