Spread scarce skills;All ages;Special needs;Books

3rd April 1998 at 01:00
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO RUNNING LANGUAGE. GroupsKey Stages 1amp;2 and 2amp;3. pound;15 each from Speech and Language Therapy, Worthing Priority Care. NHS Trust, Arundel Road, Worthing BN13 3EP.

The proportion of children with speech and language difficulties is hard to pin down, but the authors of these materials suggest that "at least" 10 per cent of school children are affected to some degree.

This is out of proportion to the number of qualified speech therapists we have, and it makes sense to use these people's scarce skills to train others.

These two booklets are an important step in this direction, offering clear and practical guidance to teachers who are determined to do something more than wait for an appointment.

Their main strength lies in their collections of activities and lesson plans, designed for use with groups of three to six children. These are closely focused on specific aspects of language skills and are broadly based.

They include social aspects of communication, as well as more formal speaking and listening and the development of conscious awareness of sounds.

Not every activity will be appropriate for any group of children, and the recording sheet needs further development, including a section on learning targets.

But this is a good start, and can be recommended to schools and education authorities looking to set up their own systems.

John Bald

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