21st July 2000 at 01:00
CHAT MATHS: Informalhomework ideas forReception to Y6. By Ruth Merttens and Mary Boole. Birmingham City Council and Impact. pound;10. Available from BASS Publications. Tel: 0121-303-8081.

"Parents are the single most important factor in children's educational success," say Ruth Merttens and Mary Boole. But it can be hard to build bridges between home and school, particularly in maths. So teachers will be grateful for a set of activities that are informal, take no preparation or photocopying and (that's right) do not have to be marked!

Ruth Merttens is best known as a prolific author whose publications are grounded in good practice. I first met her in 1984, when she and Jeff Vass visited my school to look at some units of maths work tht parents and children were working on together. They went on to devise many more parent-friendly tasks that became the basis of the IMPACT project, which has so successfully drawn many parents into the mathematical education of their children.

The activities here provide opportunities for all children to sharpen their skills by applying them in real-life contexts, supplying a link for parents to the maths their children do at school. Many have been devised by teachers and members of IMPACT. The tasks are not stressful but motivating, and all are linked to the Framework for Teaching Mathematics. At this price, can you afford to be without this book?

Laurie Rousham

Laurie Rousham is anumeracy consultant in Suffolk

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