Primary

6th October 2000 at 01:00
WORD BANK - An Introductory Dictionary. Dictionary Collins pound;8.99. Word Bank Poster Pack. Collins pound;19.99. Soundbites Pack 1 pound;34.99

This introductory dictionary is aimed at lower-ability students. It sets out to help students to deal with "the entry word" (the word to be looked up) in a variety of ways. Its function as a part of speech is given; its meaning and, sometimes, its pronunciation are also there. Where the word has a specific subject application it is labelled (for example, megabyte - ICT, melody - music). There is also a thesaurus for some words, which are visually tagged with a conspicuous symbol, and the common usage of each word is exemplified in a sentence. Each page is illustrated with colour photographs while the thumb index helps to locate the target word.

Struggling learners might find the pages a it busy - perhaps because the dictionary is trying to do so much. It seems better suited to middle-ability students.

The dictionary is supported by a teacher's pack, which features photocopiable worksheets designed to reinforce students' dictionary skills and help them to use dictionaries confidently. The content is both useful and predictable. It should save teachers time concocting this type of lesson, but some may find the exercises rather dry.

The Word Bank Poster Pack is based on the same principles as the dictionary but each A3 poster is subject specific. Key words are explained, each poster has a colour illustration, some of which are pretty dull. At pound;19.99 they are expensive and many teachers can create displays with more impact.

Chris Breese is head of English at Marriotts school, Stevenage


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