It's comprehensive but a bit pedantic

10th March 2000 at 00:00
LONGMAN BOOK PROJECT NON-FICTION. Various Authors. Pearson Educational. Topic packs from pound;12.50. Big Books pound;19.99. Teacher's Book pound;21.50. Copymasters pound;17.50

This series is designed to teach information retrieval skills - vital, we are told, to everyday living. "For example, we need to be able to find out how to receive government benefits or tax rebates." So that's what is meant by "learning for life".

The teacher's book goes on to tell us that "all the pupil books are written in the appropriate genre and the language is not patronising".

This is more than can be said for the teacher's book itself, which contains such pearls as "encourage even the very youngest children to use the library" and "choose friendly assistants or parents to work in the library".

Once it gets into its stride, though, the advice is certainly comprehensive, if a lttle pedantic. The sections on genre are well done and the "suggested" lessons are clearly structured and cross-referenced with the NLS.

The copymasters need to be used discerningly, though some of them are of reasonable quality.

A welcome feature of the series is that the pupil texts are "tiered". Each chapter begins with "basic information in simple language", followed by a second tier which elaborates, and (at key stage 2) a third tier which elaborates further. The thinking behind this is that the same text can be used, and enjoyed, by children of different abilities.

The accompanying big books are well produced and have an appropriate ratio of text to picture according to target audience. The photographs complement the text, the layout is clean, sharp and attractive, while the range of texts supports different curriculum areas.

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