Turning facts into fiction

22nd December 2000 at 00:00
PHENOMENA 1. Horwitz Martin Education. (01494 614654). Teacher resource book pound;13. Pack of 10 pupil titles pound;35. Pack of six copies of one title pound;21

This series of 10 titles aims to bring fact and fiction together for Years 5 and 6. I have been working with a small group of Year 5 children whose word decoding skills are good but who scored poorly in the Year 4 reading test because their engagement with what they read is rather shallow. I have great hopes that they will find the Phenomena 1 reading materials stimulating and effective.

The five themes are presented in paired titles, one book taking the factual approach, the other turning facts into fiction. For example, Real Sci-Fi is a historical summary o the literary and cinematic development of science fiction as a genre, while Out of Orbit is a fantasy about a space station hit by a solar flare. However, neither book is pure fact nor pure fiction.

To follow the ideas in the resource book to the letter would mean having to order several copies of each title. But it's recognised that teachers will use the materials as stand-alone reading books and the majority of the follow-up activities, including blackline masters, are designed to be appropriate to both methods of using the series. Phenomena 1 is also worth considering for special needs children in Years 7-9.

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

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