Within easy grasp;Modern Languages;Reviews;Books

5th March 1999 at 00:00
CAPTADO 1!. By John Connor and Roselyne Bernabeu. John Murray. Student's book pound;11.99 Teacher's resource file pound;55. Cassette set pound;45 + VAT.

Peter Bull is impressed by a new course in Spanish

This ground-breaking Spanish course is not afraid to put grammar at the steering wheel, rather than let it languish on the back seat.

Language structures are presented on every spread and reinforced by a cartoon-style storyline featuring five Spanish speaking characters. As familiarity with the language develops, we learn more about their lives, relationships and cultural backgrounds.

ACaptado! is a two-part course taking the beginner to GCSE-level Spanish. The student's book of 12 units deals with all the main language structures and vocabulary needed for the exam. On average, six Gram tica boxes per unit explain new grammar in English. Surround-ing these are imaginative tasks and activities, the rubrics for which are in Spanish.

The Para ayudarte columns present vocabulary, plus advice on how to develop study skills, such as effective ways to mem-orise words or improve fluency. Each unit ends with a Ya lo se section, with ideas for longer tasks and project work.

All the pages are colourful, clearly laid out on high-quality paper, with an abundance of illustrations and photographs. At the end of the book there is guidance on dictionary skills, Spanish-English and English-Spanish vocabulary and an excellent grammar index.

The teacher's resource file (270 pages and a floppy disk) has three main components: teaching notes and transcripts for the 12 units, 39 overhead transparency masters and 96 worksheets for revision, assessment or exam practice. The introduction includes four pages on how to use information and communications technology with ACaptado!, a table of page references for all the topics and the Spanish rubrics as detailed in the student's book. The teaching notes are thorough and supportive. Following the excellent OHT masters, the worksheets for each unit comprise one for foundation intermediate and one for intermediatehigher level for each of the four skills.

With the listening material on the four cassettes, the elements of this course form a sound vehicle for GCSE learning, provided enough teaching time is available.

Peter Bull is head of Spanish at William Hulme's Grammar School, Manchester

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