14th July 2000 at 01:00
FRENCH GRAMMAR FILE. By Gwen Berwick and Sydney Thorne. Longman pound;60. GCSE FRENCH HOMEWORK FILE. By John Connor and Ann Barker. Longman pound;65.

The French Grammar File is a series of A4 photocopiable sheets offering key stage 3 pupils practice in individual grammar points. The exercises are appropriately graded in difficulty, and there is a useful summary at the top of each sheet which acts as a pupil aide-memoire. The file is designed to supplement any course book and support the teacher's explanation of the grammatical point.

Vocabulary and topic areas should be familiar to pupils in key stage 3. The layout of the exercises helps pupils to focus on the pattern in the language, and the emphasis is on practising useful sentences.

The activities are varied without being too complicated, and examples are always given. The materials are probably best used in the classroom, where teacher help is available, but more able pupils would also be able to do them at home.

The GCSEFrench Homework File is in a similar A4 rig-binder. Its photocopiable sheets are also clearly presented, and it offers a mixture of reading and writing materials at three levels of difficulty, targeted at GCSE candidates likely to gain a grade D or below, those likely to gain a grade C, and those aiming for a grade B and above. Instructions are in French, but wisely, as these are homework activities, the English translation is given in the footnotes, so pupils have no excuses for not attempting the work.

The materials are clearly presented and most activities will be familiar to pupils who use a modern textbook in class. All five areas of experience are covered and there are more than a dozen grammar sheets. This type of resource is particularly helpful when there is a mixed ability range within a class and differentiated materials are desirable.

Both of these files offer a flexible resource that will appeal both to teachers and to pupils keen to make progress.

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

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