The world about us;Reviews

26th June 1998 at 01:00
SEE FOR YOURSELF SERIES. By Jeff Stanfield. Transport. School. Homes.

The Street. Shops. Wayland pound;9.5O each. Geography Starts Here series. By Angela Royston, Brenda Williams and Jenny Vaughan. Hills and Mountains. Maps and Symbols. Rivers and Streams. Weather Around You. Where People Live. Your Environment. Wayland pound;8.99 each.

Wendy Morgan on books about urban and natural environments

These series are for five to seven-year-olds but, as they are photo- based, they are suitable for older pupils, particularly those less able to deal with a lot of text.

The See for Yourself books urge pupils to examine familiar objects and locations - such as shops - and draw comparisons with their own environment.

Photographs for each book are mainly of one city or town: Transport uses Birmingham, Schools Cardiff, Homes Brighton, The Street Edinburgh and Shops Leeds and Bradford. This is ideal for comparisons, but it does not, as claimed, add up to a locality study. If all the books had concentrated on a single location, this would have been a possibility and a bonus for the buyer.

This series, in addition to the specially commissioned photographs, has information and questions requiring children to examine the photos in detail. Answers and a glossary are provided at the back of each book, as is an index and a list of books for further reading. Twenty or so activities challenge pupils to make use of what they have learned. If carried out conscientiously, they will help to develop critical faculties and cognitive skills. Controversial matters concerning homelessness and travellers have been included and there are opportunities for pupils to develop their own values and attitudes towards the geography of places.

The Geography Starts Here books cover much of key stage 1. If the series included titles on transport and work, it would make a complete course. These books provide an opportunity for photographs taken overseas as well as in this country. It would be better if more countries were represented and there were fewer photos fromthe United States. Challenging activities are scattered through the books. Further facts, a reading list, a glossary and an index complete each title.

Both series cover the geographical content appropriately for the age group. They are reasonably priced and would make an excellent addition to a geography resource centre, class or school library.

Wendy Morgan is former president of the Geographical Association

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