Be prepared

25th October 1996 at 01:00
READY FOR SCHOOL ACTIVITY BOOKS Brighter Vision Pounds 1.99 each. BUSY BEES SERIES: THINGS TO DO IN AUTUMN THINGS TO DO IN WINTER Brighter Vision Pounds 5.99 each. 1 -2- 3 SERIES Brighter Vision Pounds 5.99 each.

Brighter vision is a new publisher of resources for phonics, maths, science and other subjects for very young children.

The Ready for School series consists of eight books (Colours, Shapes, The Alphabet, Numbers, Nursery Rhyme Fun, Hidden Pictures, Learning is Fun and School Skills) designed to help three to five-year-olds acquire skills and concepts for success at school.

The reading activities are based on building awareness of the visual letter and sound. The children have to match words, circle pictures beginning with the same sound, identify the odd word out in a row of words, trace and write letters and other such activities.

The maths activities consist of tracing and writing numbers, number and discrimination tasks and colouring a specified number of objects.

The books offer parents guidance on every stage of pre-reading and pre-maths preparation and provide them with ideas and activities to aid children's progress. The focus is on parents and children working together to develop basic reading and maths skills.

Parents will welcome the support which these books offer, but whether the black and white uninspiring illustrations will delight the children is another matter. However, used sensitively, alongside real story books, Ready for School could be a useful resource.

The Busy Bees series (Things to do in Autumn and Things to do in Winter) contains project ideas for art, drama, language, movement and science. The thematic units provide adults with a variety of activities but these "tips for teachers" books are without any clear theory or philosophy to underpin them.

There is no clear rationale (other than providing hundreds of unconnected activities). The introduction fails to explain the theory behind the series and the books leave the feeling of overload and confusion.

The 1-2-3 series consists of two books around the themes of Reading and Writing and Colours and Shapes. They aim to assist pre-school workers to help children (aged three to five) to acquire pre-reading and writing skills and explore the concept of shape and colour.

These books have a more focused approach and offer a tighter structure than the more general activity of the Busy Bees books. The content is better judged and places suitable emphasis on the acquisition of early maths and English skills.

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