1st June 2001 at 01:00
CHILDREN READING. By Linda Evans and Suzanne Baker. pound;45 +VAT (pound;52.87) from Questions Publishing 27 Frederick Street, Birmingham B1 3HHTel: 0121 212 0919.

Children Reading is a training pack to help teachers, classroom assistants and parents support children in developing reading skills.

The video features children of various ages and abilities reading with an adult. The accompanying booklet contains practical and full notes, OHP masters, prompt sheets, checklists, recording grids and the texts of the books read in the video. The videos are accompanied by question prompts for the trainer. The pack underlines the value of the "pause, prompt and praise" formula for effective tutoring: an important message for parents.

The advantages of video over real life are pause and rewind, giving the chance to linger on what otherwise would be a fleeting mment. There is a classroom assistant who role-plays a "well-intentioned but somewhat misguided helper" to show what not to do.

The material concentrates on nitty-gritty classroom techniques, such as how to do a miscue analysis, the pros and cons of finger pointing, and how to introduce books through "picture walking" - summarising the story via the pictures before embarking on the text. The range goes from early years to secondary, and includes work on the "buddy" system for older children.

This is a useful package, particularly for training assistants and parent helpers, although supporting readers can never be reduced to a mechanistic formula: successful support is based not just on knowledge and training, but also instinct and experience.

Kevin Harcombe

Kevin Harcombe is head of Redlands primary school, Fareham, Hampshire

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