Teachers are often flummoxed when asked to recommend home learning materials. There is a lot about, but they are inclined to view it with suspicion.
On the inside covers of its new Let's Learn At Home scheme, Scholastic states: "We know that parents want to help their children make the most of the important primary years of schooling."
Certainly Sue Palmer has come up with a level-headed, well organised series of activities for the three age groups. Her aim is to consolidate the type of work children will already be doing at school (for example - look, say, cover, write, check), without being narrow.
The Spelling titles explore several areas of National Literacy Strategy word level work. Writing for ages 8-9 includes guidance on headings, sub-heads and captions.
Palmer is perhaps too adamant when she says, "You need a capital letter at the beginning of each line of a poem", but in general she avoids rigid statements and sensibly makes no attempt to define a sentence.
Most children will respond to the progress charts and reward stickers that come with each book. The work is pitched at a level most appropriate for those who are only just managing to maintain an average level of achievement at school, so the books are worth recommending to parents who are worried that their children are struggling to keep up.