Truly helpful;Primary;Reviews;English;Books

11th June 1999 at 01:00
THE REALLY PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PRIMARY ENGLISH. By Diana Bentley. Stanley Thornes pound;12.50.

Yes, this really is a practical guide. Every double-columned chapter starts with a statement of objectives and ends with a summary of key principles and suggestions for further reading.

The contributors write lucidly and without jargon. Some points are well made. Primary teachers are told that they have a responsibility to become knowledgeable and enthusiastic about children's literature. How refreshing to hear that - and to be told that children of the 21st century will need multimedia literacy, not just the ability to read and write.

In this connection, the book includes two brisk chapters on media education and information technology. The target audience is trainee and newly-qualified teachers, but as with far too many books on education, it seems to have been written for visitors from another planet. The national curriculum, it says, is organised on the basis of two key stages. And it contains yet another representation of that literacy hour "clock". What compels editors to include such bread-and-butter material? Surely the least we can assume of training establishments is that such basics will be covered.

But the book has good sections on planning, speaking and listening at both key stages. Several assessment and record-keeping formats are suggested.

And some of the practical suggestions indeed cover what NQTs might not be told at university.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex.

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