Book reviews - books for parents & teachers (page 1)

Here are books that can help parents in bringing up and teaching their children, and books for teachers to use in the classroom. The inclusion of books does not constitute a recommendation from Parents in Touch to apply particular techniques or theories - we have just reviewed a cross-section of the titles which we have been offered for review. Check out our Bloomsbury Books page too, as well as the excellent resources from Brilliant Publications.

Coaching Cards for Children (Barefoot Coaching Cards) by Kim Morgan

Young children chatter constantly but as they grow up, this can come to a halt and sometimes adults are lucky to get more than a few words in response to a question. That's where these coaching cards come in. With fifty 'starter' questions to inspire meaningful conversations between children and adults they are a perfect way to get the whole family to open up to each other, without too much pressure. With questions such as "Who or what makes you laugh the most?" "What are three things that make you feel proud?" and "What is the best present you have ever received?" they are perfect to use whenever the family gather - around the dinner table, on holiday or during long journeys. Suitable for children from 6 to 12 years, these cards don't require any coaching experience, just a willingness to talk.

Growing Up Mindful: Essential Practices to Help Children, Teens, and Families Find Balance, Calm, and Resilience by Christopher Willard, Psyd

We live in an increasingly stressful world, and teens are one of the groups most affected, so it's good to see advice that can help teens and the adults who care for them. It is claimed that mindfulness builds emotional intelligence, boosts happiness, increases curiosity and engagement, reduces anxiety and depression, soothes the pain of trauma, and helps kids (and adults) focus, learn, and make better choices. Research now claims that mindfulness significantly enhances what psychologists call flourishing; the opposite of depression and avoidance. This book "helps parents, educators, and counselors learn how to embody and share the skills of mindfulness that will empower our children with resilience throughout their lives. With more than 75 accessible exercises and practices, along with adaptations for the individual needs of a wide range of children and teens, this inspiring guidebook brings you road-tested insights and tools".

Teaching Computing (Developing as a Reflective Secondary Teacher) by Carl Simmons

The first edition of this book was 'Teaching ICT' but this edition has been renamed to fit with the current curriculum and the key focus of the book. The theory and practice that supports high quality teaching is the base from which the book is written. It covers all aspects of teaching - planning, teaching, managing and assessment. Key coverage includes; An awareness of the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for England; Developing computational thinking and digital literacy in your classroom; Pedagogy for teaching computer programming; Computer science in primary schools, focusing on the transition to secondary. Both practising teachers and student teachers (whichever route they are taking into teaching) will find this a valuable resource. The new curriculum brought about huge changes in the study of ICT/computing in schools, and this book gives excellent coverage which ensures all the new aspects are explained in depth. This highly readable book has plenty of practical examples and it will really instill confidence in its readers, who will appreciate the practical approach.

The Teachers' Standards in the Classroom (Achieving QTS Series) by Roy Blatchford

All teachers and trainee teachers must work towards and within the framework of the Teachers' Standards. The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS (the book is especially important for these); those completing their statutory induction period; all teachers with QTS who are subject to The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012. This book is the essential guide to the application of these standards in the classroom, and is therefore valuable reading for all those involved in teacher appraisal - as appraiser or appraisee. The text supports you to interpret the standards effectively and independently, and to apply them to your teaching. The chapters mirror the standards themselves and practical guidance and classroom-based examples help link theory to practice. The text also enables teachers to enhance understanding of the standards and improve teaching and professional practice. The first eight chapters take the standards one at a time, and the book then offers a range of information including notes on the new OFSTED framework and the new National Curriculum. Also included are more questions to help trainee teachers think around the standards in relation to placements and assess how and whether they have met the requirements. Interludes are interesting items about benefiting from visiting colleagues' classrooms. The book includes 'Reflections' which are questions designed to stimulate reflective thinking - an excellent aspect of the book.

Lessons in Teaching Phonics in Primary Schools by David Waugh

Phonics is the basis of teaching reading and as such, it is taught every day in primary schools. Phonics is an integral part the National Curriculum. Questions answered by this book include: How do you ensure that you understand both what and how to teach? How do you separate good phonics teaching from the many phonics schemes that are used? What does a good phonics lesson look like? The book covers Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, as well as a chapter on Moving On. The chapters cover the key concepts for each age group, providing exemplar lessons and support for teaching tricky words, alternative spellings, and pronunciation as well as addressing other phonics teaching challenges. It explores the most popular phonics schemes and shows you how good phonics teaching works across schemes. The adaptable and inspired lesson plans included highlight how phonics teaching can be fun; these will be warmly received by teachers, who can adapt the ideas for use with their own classes, or use as they stand. The wide-ranging ideas include suggestions for teaching phonics outdoors, whole class phonics teaching and nonsense words (all ready for the Phonics Screening Test). It's a very easy-to-read book, very well organised so teachers can work through it progressively.
Lessons in Teaching Reading Comprehension in Primary Schools by Suzanne Horton
Reading is far, far more than simply decoding text. We need to derive meaning from the text, to comprehend it; to read between the lines and even read beyond the lines. It's an essential skill and one that needs to be embedded in children's learning as soon as they start to learn to read. Questions answered by this book include: So how can you make teaching comprehension in primary schools effective and engaging? How are you ensuring that children are finding meaning in what they read and how do we support more able readers to learn more? What does a good 'reading' lesson look like? This book demonstrates the effective teaching of reading through exemplar lessons; lessons that can be used by the reader of the book. Interestingly, the book discusses what makes them good lesson plans (this is really valuable information for teachers) and how they can be adapted to suit different classes and different schools. More able readers, particularly in years 5 and 6, are not forgotten. All primary school teachers will need to know how to help children read for understanding, and this goes right through the curriculum. The Lessons in Teaching series is "suitable for any teacher at any stage of their career, the books in this series are packed with great ideas for teaching engaging, outstanding lessons in your primary classroom. The Companion Website accompanying the series includes extra resources including tips, lesson starters, videos and Pinterest boards." Find out more here.

Reflective Primary Mathematics: A guide for student teachers by Elizabeth Jackson

Written primarily for students studying primary mathematics on initial teacher education courses, this book also offers plenty of valuable insight for all primary teachers who teach maths - and that will be the majority of them. Teaching maths can be a challenge, and many will still harbour apprehension begun in their own school days. Reassurance is on hand in abundance in this reassuring and motivating book which explores the philosophy that lies behind good mathematics teaching and its application in the classroom. The student teacher is at the heart of the book, and throughout is given encouragement to really take an in-depth look at their practice. The book includes: developing your own philosophy towards mathematics teaching; understanding links between confidence and learning; the importance of subject knowledge; common beliefs and attitudes among mathematics learners and how to develop your relationship with the subject. The writing style is really encouraging and positive; the case studies will help students see how the ideas work in practice; and the reflection points encourage teachers to really think about their teaching. An excellent book.

The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander

The subtitle of this book is :What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids - Denmark is reputedly the happiest country in the world (2016) figures, and obviously family happiness is a major factor, so there will be something for every family within the covers of this practical guide that encourages parents to reflect on their parenting style. The book reveals the six essential principles that have been working for parents in Denmark for decades: "Play: essential for development and well-being; Authenticity: fosters trust and an 'inner compass'; Reframing: helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side; Empathy: allows us to act with kindness towards others; No ultimatums: no power struggles or resentment and Togetherness: a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day." There is one chapter on each topic, with practical examples to explain and extend. A fresh approach with something of value for every family.

Girls Rising: A Guide to Nurturing a Confident and Soulful Adolescent by Urana Jackson

This book is a valuable resource full of activities that can be undertaken by anyone with teen girls in their care; although it speaks of spirituality, it is not a religious book, and it is suitable for everyone. Young people are hungry and capable of engaging in meaningful explorations of themselves and the world around them; adolescent girls especially have a deep desire and capacity to know themselves and explore their own spirituality. "Girls Rising" is a workbook of activities designed for educators, mental health clinicians, youth workers, parents, and, in some cases, peer educators working with girls ages 13 - 17 that provides a process for them to explore and develop their emotional, social, and spiritual selves. The book offers teenage girls "a unique opportunity to engage with their changing selves and their environment from a deeply soulful and creative place."

Self-Reg: How to help your child (and you) break the stress cycle and successfully engage with life by Stuart Shanker

It's a sad fact of modern life that more and more children are suffering from stress, with huge knock-on effects on their families, on their behaviour and on their ability to learn. The author argues that self-regulation can help avoid this by transforming behaviour by helping young people to identify, talk about and manage their emotions. It shows how parents can start to help them learn to self-regulate, leading to a harmonious and supportive home. The technique has been practised and proven in Canada and Shanker's ground-breaking research is being published for the first time in this timely and practical guide for parents. Mastering the art of self-regulation can help children learn to deal with experiences, overcome frustration, pay better attention, control impulses, engage better with others and enhance their learning capabilities. Self-Reg will inspire in parents a sense that their child can truly realise his or her potential, and give them the confidence to help their son or daughter develop the skills and emotional strength needed to navigate the pressures and stresses of the modern world. It's a tall order but the practical suggestions and easily read approach of the book make it well worth a try.

Tell Me a Story - About the World Around You by Eve Wilson and Katie Sarl

Often, the greatest difficulty children have is how to start a story, whether written or oral. These sets of colourful cards help overcome that, as they can be displayed to children to give
them ideas. The cards will help children's confidence and will promote discussion in a group situation. This set contains cards about jobs, transport, animals and weather (the cards are differentiated by colour). The drawings are attractive and designed to appeal to children, and there is plenty to discuss on each. Several games are described in the accompanying leaflet - this is a versatile set of cards with a wide range of uses and it comes in a plastic case for ease of storage. Perfect for Reception classes studying Knowledge and Understanding of the World and excellent for giving children confidence in their creative thinking ability.  Buy from Small World.

Tell Me a Story - All About You by Eve Wilson and Katie Sarl

All About You has cards for family (and pets!), events, the wider world, activities and imagination (a fairy tale, castle, for example). As children look at the cards, they will be prompted to discuss the ideas the cards bring to mind - they will work well one to one or in larger groups. They are suitable for children from 3 to 8 - with younger children, they can be used as prompts for oral storytelling, and for older ones, they can stimulate story writing. Practical too - the cards are stored in a plastic case which is neat and durable. The accompanying notes are full of ideas and games to enjoy with the cards. With a little imagination, I am sure parents and teachers will find other way to use the cards too - they could be useful in displays (perhaps even a display of the stories they inspire). A very well thought out concept with lots of potential. Buy from Small World.

The First Five Years by Dr. Philippa Kaye

Subtitled 'From birth to primary school, understand and encourage your child's development', this guide covers those all-important early years, informing and reassuring parents as they do their best for their child. It shows how and when children develop each skill or ability between the ages of 0 and 5, with information broken down into age-related sections offering parents hundreds of simple ways they can encourage their children's progress. It covers motor skills, playing, exercise, eating, behaviour and speech development. The second part of the book gives sample activities for different scenarios. The book then addresses a wide range of common concerns, with practical advice. The book ends with suggestions to help the transition to nursery/school. The book does an excellent job of answering all the common questions parents have, in an easy-to-use format which they will find straightforward and informative. Perfect to have to hand through those first years.

Planet Parent: The World's Best Ways to Bring Up Your Children by Mark Woods

I found this book quite engrossing, with its look at the way parenting differs all around the world - it's written with a deft touch and a gently humorous approach which make it very readable. The challenges parents face are universal but solutions are far from universal. It's fascinating to read about the different ways parents handle the same challenges and there are many good ideas which UK parents may never have thought of. Based on practical experiences, the book introduces a wide range of parents including tiger mothers, stay-at-home dads, hover parents and boomerang babies. Wondering what these are? You need to get a copy of this fascinating book to find out. Accessible and entertaining, it's a book that parents will really enjoy reading and they are bound to find plenty of ideas which they can apply with their own children. It's a bit different to the run-of-the-mill childcare books and is a very welcome addition to the market.

Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders (Eye on Education) by Frank Buck

Today’s world seems to be a ceaseless round of demands and interruptions; they cannot be avoided but they can be managed, as this practical book shows. Get Organized! outlines a complete organisational system for the busy school leader (and for the rest of us!), offering simple tools and techniques to bring order and control to your personal and professional life. Practical advice allows the techniques to be implemented in small steps - the first chapter, which I found very helpful, is entitled 'Clear your desk'. The author includes easy to implement ideas, at little or no cost ― you can start right away! Each chapter contains practical tips and tools, listing exactly what to do in order to implement the strategy; well set out, with succinct and clear presentation, it's well worth taking time out of a busy schedule to benefit from the good ideas. Since the first edition of this book (2007), the pressures of managing time when bombarded with emails, social media and the sheer volume of information have intensified phenomenally; this new edition takes that into account with digital strategies and tips for thriving in the Information Age.

Researching and Teaching Reading: Developing pedagogy through critical enquiry by Gabrielle Cliff Hodges

This book studies the ways in which research and teaching are entwined both within and beyond the classroom; readers are encouraged to deepen their understanding of reading through high-quality teaching and research activities designed to engage young learners and generate rich research data, in the expectation that teachers will wish to adapt or develop them further within their own contexts. Key issues considered in this book include: Studying reading in terms of extending young people’s ability to interpret and enjoy texts; The idea of reading as a social practice; The concept of culture in relation to reading; Why historical and spatial theoretical perspectives matter when researching and teaching reading. This is a valuable resource for any student teachers or practising English teachers wishing to learn more about the connection between researching and teaching reading, how to combine them in the classroom and the positive effect bringing the two together can have on their own professional development.

Provision Mapping and the SEND Code of Practice: Making it work in primary, secondary and special schools by Anne Massey

The SEND Code of Practice came into effect in September and it places responsibility on schools to ensure that progress of SEND children is recorded and assessed. This book provides clear guidance on how to implement a simple and user-friendly system to ensure this is done without placing too much burden on teachers; one which can be used for all pupils. The book describes a tried and tested system that helps schools to successfully identify, implement and track provision for all pupils. It demonstrates how schools can implement the requirements of the new SEND Code of Practice; provides achievable solutions to the problems that schools face in trying to evidence the impact of the additional support they provide; provides photocopiable templates of tables that can be used to track progress of all pupils; contains easy to use tools that will allow a school to clearly evidence that additional funding is used efficiently. It is an excellent way to tackle what can seem an onerous burden and schools which use the system to monitor all pupils can be assured they are meeting all relevant requirements with this whole-school approach. This second edition has been fully updated to reflect the recent changes to SEN legislation, the new SEND Code of Practice (2015), the new National Curriculum and new assessment requirements and the new Common Inspection Framework. Additional material has been added to provide a resource for secondary and special schools. Headteachers, senior managers, leadership teams, SENCOs and other educational professionals will find the guidance and support provided by this book invaluable.

The Really Useful Book of Science Experiments: 100 easy ideas for primary school teachers by Tracy-ann Aston

It can be a challenge to offer really good hands-on science provision in the primary school, but with the aid of this simple to use book, all children can be offered the chance to observe and try a fascinating range of experiments. The book includes experiments on It’s alive: experiments that explore our living world, including the human body, plants, ecology and disease; A material world: experiments that explore the materials that make up our world and their properties, including metals, acids and alkalis, water and elements; Let’s get physical: experiments that explore physics concepts and their applications in our world, including electricity, space, engineering and construction; Something a bit different: experiments that explore interesting and unusual science areas, including forensic science, marine biology and volcanology. It's a shame that the book isn't actually split into sections, though - that would make it even easier to use. Each experiment is accompanied by a ‘subject knowledge guide’, filling teachers in on the key science concepts behind the experiment. There are also suggestions for how to adapt each experiment to increase or decrease the challenge, and useful questions to ask the children.

Outstanding Differentiation for Learning in the Classroom by Jayne Bartlett

For lessons to be outstanding, whether for internal moderation, external advisors or Ofsted inspectors, all learners must demonstrably make progress. To ensure this happens, teachers must differentiate according to the individual pupil and their individual learning needs and they must evidence this in their planning, delivery and outcomes. This book shows class teachers and their mentors how differentiation can be used to enhance and support all aspects of the learning process. It includes chapters on embedding differentiation during each phase of the lesson as well as assessment and questioning techniques. The practical guidance includes: what differentiation actually means and why it should be applied in the classroom; sequencing and planning for learning with an overview of the learning cycle; practical teaching strategies and effective techniques to use in the classroom; how to structure and apply differentiation practices in your classroom, department and school. It's not a particularly appealing text visually, but the examples, diagrams and summaries do help to break up the concentrated text. A vital starting point and effective guide for outstanding differentiation, this book is packed full of practical exercises that are easy to implement in the classroom and it is essential reading for newly qualified and experienced teachers alike.

Stop, Think, Act: Integrating Self-Regulation in the Early Childhood Classroom by Megan M McClelland and Shauna L Tominey

This book gives early years teachers an insight into the latest research and a wide variety of hands-on activities to help children learn and practice self-regulation techniques. A child who has self-regulatory skills can focus his attention, control his emotions and manage his thinking, behaviour and feelings - a tall order for a young child! The book postulates that self-regulation in early childhood leads to strong academic performance, helps students form healthy friendships, and gives them the social and emotional resources they need to face high-stress situations throughout life. The book takes you through everything you need to know about using self-regulation principles during circle time, in literacy and math instruction, and during gross motor and outdoor play. Each chapter includes a solid research base as well as practical, developmentally-appropriate games, songs, and strategies that you can easily incorporate in your own classroom. With Stop, Think, Act, you’ll be prepared to integrate self-regulation into every aspect of the school day.

The 11+ - a practical guide for parents by Mark Chatterton

The 11+ can be a minefield - there are many different exam formats for the exam and different criteria applied by the schools. Primary schools rarely prepare children for the test and many, even in 11+ areas, are unfamiliar with the requirements. So what parents need is a guide to the whole process - and here it is. It includes how to apply, which subjects are set, when to apply, what grammar schools are like, the tricky question of tutoring, how to appeal and preparation for secondary school. It is packed full of unique tips, exam advice and helpful advice for children who will be taking the 11+ exam; there are plenty of useful references too. It has been written by a teacher with over 20 years experience of preparing children for the 11+; his own children were successful in gaining grammar school places. A practical guide which will be welcomed by parents with its excellent coverage of the entire process.

Improving School Governance: How better governors make better schools by Nigel Gann

The role of governors has taken on more and more significance in recent years, with governors bearing a heavy burden of responsibility for school improvement. It focuses strongly on partnership, between people with little or no education experience working together with highly experienced education professionals. Topics include: How school governors got to be where they are today; How governing boards do their jobs; How individual governors can best contribute to their schools; Governors’ accountability; The nature of governors’ meetings; The rights that governors have; The relationships between governors and the headteacher; The role of governing boards in school inspection; Governors’ relationships with parents and the wider community; How to evaluate the performance and impact of governing boards; What the future might hold for state-funded schools and their governance; and what national strategic issues will need to be addressed by governing boards in the next five to ten years. It's wide ranging, with clear sections allowing governors to focus on their key area of interest - an essential addition to a governing body library. Written in straightforward language and drawing on a wide range of experiences, it's a book which will encourage governors to take stock of where they are and how they can move their school forward. This essential guide tackles all aspects of the work governors undertake and, although perhaps not a book for new governors, who are already inundated with information, it will be of great value to experienced governors looking for practical guidelines, clearly presented. A small point - as a Clerk to Governors, I was disappointed to see that the book gives very little attention to the vital role that clerks play in improving school governance.

Stimulating Emerging Story Writing!: Inspiring children aged 3-7 by Simon Brownhill

It's excellent to see that this book addresses the needs of teachers of children as young as three. There are plenty of books on story writing for older children, so this one really fills a gap in the market. Enthuse children from a young age and they will learn to love story writing - the innovative and exciting ideas in this book will facilitate that. With comprehensive and informed support for professionals, this practical guide will give both new and experienced teachers confidence to engage their pupils. Packed full of story ideas, resource suggestions and practical activities, the book explores the various ways professionals can help young children to develop the six key elements of story - character, setting, plot, conflict, resolution and ending. All of the ideas in the book are designed to support a setting’s daily writing provision such as mark making opportunities, role play and using simple open ended play resources. The ideas are easy to apply and can be readily used in any Early Years setting, regardless of the experience of the practitioner - the book clearly defines the ideas for FS and KS1, with reference to the EYFS and Key Stage 1 curricula. Chapters include: Creating Characters; The Plot Thickens; Inspired Ideas; Resourcing the Story Stimulation and Getting Started. Extensive references allow teachers to do further research and will stimulate even more ideas. Perfect for new and experienced teachers, this will become a go-to resource, perfect to have to hand when planning lessons.

Stimulating Story Writing!: Inspiring children aged 7-11 by Simon Brownhill

Following on from the previous book, this equally practical guide has all the positive and practical features of the first. Teachers looking for story ideas will find it is full of inspiration, resource suggestions and practical activities. Beyond that, and in such a way as to have a real impact on future teaching, the book explores various ways professionals can help children to develop the six key elements of story. The book builds on existing provision, rather than asking teachers to take a completely new approach. It goes beyond simply putting pen to paper, using strategies such as role play, the use of different technologies, and using simple open ended resources as story stimuli. Separated into two sections and making reference to the Key Stage 2 curricula to facilitate planning, this timely new text provides professionals with tried and tested strategies and ideas that can be used with immediate effect. Chapters include: Creating characters, Colourful conflict, Inspired ideas and Openly stimulating the story. Easy to read, easy to implement, the book will give teachers a solid foundation for developing good story writing skills in pupils.

Challenging Learning: Theory, effective practice and lesson ideas to create optimal learning in the classroom by James Nottingham

Teachers are constantly striving to improve their teaching; good teaching produces good learners and this book is crammed with advice and techniques for helping children of all ages develop into confident, thoughtful and independent learners. Based around the acronym ASK (Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge), this essential guide explores attitudes, skills and knowledge to learning. It considers the strategies that can help teachers to challenge their pupils to think more skilfully and logically and how to develop these techniques more effectively. Clear layout makes the huge amount of information easy to assimilate; the book makes good use of bullet points and headers to make the information accessible and not daunting - it may seem a small point but it does impact on ease of use. The book brings together current thinking from renowned experts, and encourages independent thinking and a spirit of inquiry in pupils of all ages. Through the use of rich examples of classroom interactions, this book offers strategies that will help pupils to produce their own thoughtful conclusions, develop their own concepts, examine logic and remain open to alternatives. Highlights include: effective teaching strategies including FACTS, the Teaching Target Model and the Learning Pit Models; up-to-date research and theory from leading experts; practical suggestions and principles to help you design and develop your own lessons. Not simply for teachers, this book has relevance for all those who work with children. Jargon-free and accessible, it will be relevant and valuable for all.

Strategies to Support Children with Autism and Other Complex Needs: Resources for teachers, support staff and parents (Essential Guides for Early Years Practitioners) by Christine Macintyre

This book both what autism is and offers ways to interact through having a balance of play activities interspersed with more formal teaching of skills of everyday living. It is therefore suitable for student teachers and others new to the teaching of children with complex needs. It gives a good understanding of how to interact with these children on a day-to-day basis. Professionally endorsed, the highly practical text provides a bank of strategies that are specially designed to be matched to the developmental status of each child. It's wide-ranging as shown by just some of the contents - The importance of play for enhancing learning for children with autism and other complex needs; Evaluating different ways of developing communication; Transferring learning from one environment to another to aid memorising; Understanding the impact of sensory hypo and hyperactivity on children’s learning; Developing a ‘Theory of Mind’ and The importance of movement, music and having fun. The emphasis on fun and play is a key element of the book, especially suited to the age and ability of these children. On a practical note, observation and assessment schedules are provided, along with clear and helpful evaluation forms which show staff in primary and early years settings how children on the autistic spectrum can be helped to make meaningful and encouraging progress. This text is an vital read for any practitioners working with children on the autistic spectrum or with complex learning difficulties Increasingly, children with autism are in mainstream education; this book offers practical strategies to help practitioners manage their learning, enabling them to give these children the best possible start in life.

Children as Readers in Children's Literature: The power of texts and the importance of reading edited by Evelyn Arizpe and Vivienne Smith

The editors have brought together a group of distinguished children’s literature scholars, literacy and media specialists to bring us a varied and yet cohesive approach to encouraging reading. With all the current changes in technology and the increasing use of electronic devices for reading, we want to know what, how and why children read. The answers to these questions will help all of us connected with children's reading to ensure we provide what they want. The book looks at the literature that is written for children and young people to see what it tells us about them as readers and thereby helps us give them what they want. The varied aspects covered include: How books shape the readers we become; Cognitive and affective responses to representation of books and reading; The relationship between love-stories and reading as a cultural activity; Reading as ‘Protection and Enlightenment’; Picture books as stage sets for acts of reading and Readers’ perceptions of a writer. This portrayal of books and reading also reveals adults’ beliefs about childhood and literacy and how they are changing. It is a theme of crucial significance in the shaping of future generations of readers given these beliefs influence not only ideas about the teaching of literature but also about the role of digital technologies. This text is a must-read for any individual interested in the importance of keeping literature alive through reading. Teachers, librarians and all those who love literature and want to share that joy with children will appreciate this timely book, with its thought-provoking look at what children read and how we can have an impact on that.

Creating Communities in Early Years Settings: Supporting children and families by Debbie Chalmers

Engaging parents from the early stages of their child's education gets everyone off to a good start which will pay dividends, both at the time and in the future. The book is full of down-to-earth advice, ideas and strategies for developing an early learning community, and the examples of good practice given will facilitate the provision of an excellent, inclusive service to meet the needs of young children and their families and help them to thrive. Just as important is developing a cohesive community within the setting, and this aspect is given plenty of coverage. It's not always a straightforward activity, and the author is realistic enough to outline potential pitfalls. Chapters cover key topics such as: the legal responsibilities of a setting; inclusion; parental participation and parent managed settings; roles and duties of different staff within a setting; effective and sensitive communication with colleagues and caregivers and managing transitions. Creating Communities in Early Years Settings is designed to support early years practitioners, teachers, teaching assistants, nannies and childminders working with babies and children within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The book will also be of interest to students on early years childcare and education courses from level 2 upwards. The book will give all these practitioners practical ideas to help and will increase confidence when working with parents and carers.

Open-ended Maths Investigations for 9-11 Year Olds by Ann Baker

The books in the Open-ended Maths Investigations series provide teachers with open-ended investigations matched to the following strands of mathematics: number; money; measurement; space; chance and data; patterns and algebra. The investigations encourage pupils to apply higher order mathematical strategies creatively and effectively as they develop proficiency in a wide range of problem-solving strategies. They are an excellent way to encourage pupils to think about the mathematical processes and they also show the importance of maths in the real world. Open-end Maths Investigations can be used in isolation, in sequence or dipped into as teachers require, providing a great complement to the maths scheme of work. They are ideal to help differentiation in the classroom and to offer extension work. Also available - Open-ended Maths Investigations for 5-7 Year Olds and Open-ended Maths Investigations for 7-9 Year Olds. An excellent series which encourages pupils - and teachers - to 'think outside the box'.

Radicalisation and Terrorism: A Teacher's Handbook for Addressing Extremism by Alison Jamieson and Jane Flint

From September 2015, schools have had a duty to implement measures to implement anti-radicalisation measures to help prevent young people from being drawn into extremism. We are all concerned by the frequent press stories of school children being radicalised and teachers urgently need a resource that enables them to recognise, debate and disrupt extremist narratives within the context of the classroom. This is a practical handbook which covers issues of citizenship, human rights and respect, civil and political engagement, the nature of identity and how we identify with others. It examines different forms of violence from bullying to the most recent examples of 21st century terrorism ann looks at the historical background - the problems are not new. The handbook considers the causes and consequences of terrorism and helps teachers to explain to children what terrorists do and why they do it; how to differentiate between the reasons, goals and methods of terrorists; why the media and terrorism are inextricably linked; what makes terrorism start and, crucially, what factors bring a cycle of terrorism to an end. Pupils are invited to reflect on the destructiveness of terrorism for both victims and aggressors and considers the process of reconciliation. This timely book will be valued by all schools, with its comprehensive background material and practical advice.

Conscious Parenting: The Holistic Guide to Raising Joyful and Happy Children by Gabriel Cousens

Conscious Parenting is a great resource for parents seeking advice on optimal vegan nutrition and the importance of unplugging and having quiet time in nature for today's children. Anchored by extensive research on the importance of diet and environment by the world's leading authority on spiritual nutrition, the book is packed with advice and information to help you choose authentic, organic, vegan food for optimal health; support your child's emotional, social, and mental development; counter the effects of environmental toxins and harmful media; and create a nurturing environment for your child's spiritual growth. It's a comprehensive tome, one to dip into for specific areas, I feel, rather than to tackle all in one go. Whether or not you are in agreement with the main principles, there is something here to interest every parent - it's a book which will make you think about parenting styles.

Breathe Through This: Mindfulness for Parents of Teenagers by Eline Snel

The teen years can be a challenge and parents welcome any advice - this book takes a new approach. Mindfulness meditation emphasises the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment; it has gained broad acceptance among family therapists and other mental health professionals. It allows us to respond to them in ways that are most helpful, and that promote dialogue rather than clashing. Eline Snel, is a popular therapist and mindfulness teacher. In a warm, simple, and accessible way, Snel describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help you calm down during tense and heated moments and become a more focused and open-hearted parent. Snel includes numerous guided meditations on the accompanying audio.

Promoting Early Career Teacher Resilience (Teacher Quality and School Development) by Bruce Johnson

Subtitled 'A socio-cultural and critical guide to action this book addresses an important and worrying issue - the retention of newly trained teachers. It includes the stories of 60 graduate teachers as they take their first steps into the world of teaching. The engaging narratives clearly reveal the feelings of frustration, disillusionment and even outrage as they come to terms with all that is expected of them. There's a positive side too - exhilarating experiences, documenting the wonder, joy and excitement of working with young people for the first time. This book gives a real insight into the views of new teachers, showing clearly the pressures placed on them as well as the joys they find. With a wide and varied cross-section, the book provides a wealth of experiences to inform more experienced teachers and managers, many of whom will be far advanced along their career path and who may have forgotten the feelings they used to have. The book endorses an alternative socio-cultural and critical approach to understanding teacher resilience and to promoting resilience promoting policies and practices. A valuable book which should inform teaching at all levels, from students, through to practising teachers and up to administrators.

Your Teacher Training Companion: Essential skills and knowledge for very busy trainees by Jim McGrath

Acknowledging from the very start that trainee teachers can find the expectations and workload overwhelming, this intensely practical and accessible guide makes it all seem much more manageable. It succeeds admirably in its aim of being a one-stop-shop for the essential knowledge and skills students need to pass their course with confidence. Both practical teaching skills and academic skills are covered, making this a true all-rounder. The practical advice on balancing the workload is particularly well-handled. The book is illustrated throughout with the case study of a trainee teacher, focusing on developing best practice and ways in which students can pass on key skills to learners. Essential topics covered include: classroom management; effective lesson planning; teaching methods; learning theory; assessment and feedback; delivering a highly successful lesson; making time and space for your studies; improving your writing skills; writing assignments and building your teaching portfolio and planning and delivering an effective presentation. A friendly book which will reassure new students.

Meeting Special Educational Needs in Secondary Classrooms: Inclusion and how to do it by Sue Briggs

The number of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) attending mainstream schools is on the rise, meaning teachers are highly likely to find SEND students in their classroom. The author is an experienced teacher, adviser and SEN consultant with an in-depth understanding of the challenges that these children face, and a very clear way of communicating that to her readership. This practical guide is full of guidance for teachers and teaching assistants who support children with SEND in mainstream secondary classrooms. This updated version includes the requirements of the 2014 Children and Families Act and SEND Code of Practice. Communication is high on the agenda of the book, with plenty of guidance on ensuring successful communication between teachers, parents and students. It also focuses strongly on teachers and TAs working together - an absolutely vital element, as TAs play an essential role in ensuring SEND pupils' needs are met in the classroom. Covering all aspects of teaching children with SEND, including planning, teaching and learning, this is a really good book, reassuring, practical and encouraging thereby helping to ensure the best possible outcomes. Also available - Meeting Special Educational Needs in Primary Classrooms: Inclusion and how to do it

Infusing Grammar Into the Writer's Workshop: A Guide for K-6 Teachers by Amy Benjamin

So often, when schools are looking at areas for improvement within the curriculum, writing comes to the fore - it's something many students find challenging and teachers are always looking for strategies for improvement. Help your students improve their language skills and become stronger readers and writers. Here, the authors suggest best practices for fortifying the writer’s workshop model with meaningful, relevant instruction in grammar; a fundamental element in writing. If you have asked any of the following questions, then you need this book to gain the answers. What does a writer’s workshop look like and how does it fit into balanced literacy models? How does grammar fit into a writer’s workshop? How can you use natural language acquisition to transition children from non-Standard to Standard English patterns? How can you teach students to identify a complete sentence? What are effective ways to teach parts of speech? How can you build on nouns and verbs to teach adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, and dependent clauses? Each chapter clearly demonstrates what teaching the targeted concept looks like in a workshop classroom, with examples for different grade levels which can be adapted as necessary. Clear and understandable, and eminently practical, the book clearly achieves the objective of showing how to teach grammar in the context of the workshop model.

Engaging in Mathematics in the Classroom: Symbols and experiences by Alf Coles

The preface to this book poses some very interesting questions: What comes first, class management or student engagement? How can the ‘real world’ be used to engage learners? What is the role of technology in engaging students? And is ‘understanding’ or ‘exam success’ more engaging? We all know that maths is critical in determining what the future holds for today's students; a good grasp of numeracy opens so many doors so teachers must engage children right from the very start. Making Mathematics Engaging in the Classroom brings together the debates concerning mathematical engagement and draws on first-hand experience and key research to promote successful classroom practice. It covers all ages, even into adulthood, in an accessible and practical manner, packed with suggestions and activities to capture and retain students' interest. The book includes Planning and managing engagement in learning; Mathematical understandings and meanings; Early Primary and the number system; Primary/Secondary Transition and geometrical thinking; Secondary school: Adolescence and algebraic activity; Post-16 and infinity; and Learning across the lifespan

Working with Parents, Carers and Families in the Early Years: The essential guide by Teresa Wilson

Engaging parents with their children's learning is a vital element in their success at school. Establish good practice right from the start with this practical handbook by involving parents and carers during the Early Years Foundation Stage. Getting it right involves time, reflective practice, skill and a genuine understanding of the barriers that can impede forming effective working relationships with parents. Based on current research, this book offers an informed and comprehensive framework for working with parents, drawing on the latest evidence and containing practical advice from practitioners and parents, to support sound partnership practice. Packed with practical examples and activities for training as well as resources to support practice across a wide range of settings, this comprehensive look at the topic will be valuable to both new and experienced teachers. Topics discussed include: Working with parents of different aged children; The development of strategies to support the relationship; The barriers to partnership working, including cultural differences and working with hard to reach families; Setting up home and setting visits; and creating parent-friendly environments. The ideas are straightforward to implement and the case studies show how well they work in practice. What appears initially to be a slim volume packs in a vast amount of valuable information.

A Practical Guide to Transforming Primary Mathematics: Activities and tasks that really work by Mike Askew

Start by giving children a love for maths by involving them in engaging activities, and they will learn to enjoy and appreciate the subject. It offers inspiration and ideas for all training and practising teachers committed to making mathematics enjoyable, inclusive, engaging and successful. The companion to Mike Askew’s bestselling book, Transforming Primary Mathematics , this practical guide focuses on showing you how to unlock the powerful potential of a small set of consistent principles and practices, known as the teaching tripod, to develop a coherent approach to teaching mathematics. Organised around the major strands of the curriculum - number, calculations, shape and space, measures, and data handling – it offers an accessible introduction to the teaching tripod, a careful choice of tasks, supported by a range of tools that extend our natural abilities and held together by careful attention to classroom talk. A range of classroom tasks, each including key learning outcomes, clear links to the framework, links to relevant research, and suggestions for making the tasks easier or harder, are offered for every topic, helping you plan units of work for meaningful learning. Practical, full of examples and very interesting - it really will transform teaching.

Descriptosaurus: Action & Adventure by Alison Wilcox

Descriptosaurus is a hugely popular and highly successful book which helps teachers encourage their pupils' creative writing. Building on that success are these two new titles. Descriptosaurus: Action and Adventure takes a subject which will really excite and engage children and builds on the vocabulary and descriptive phrases introduced in the original bestselling book. Always keeping closely to the theme, it develops the structure and use of the words and phrases to promote colourful cinematic writing. The book opens with an outline of favourite adventure stories and describes the key features they contain; these features are then expanded on through the book. The first part of the book is The Race and this gets the book off to a good start with hooks to build interest and tension. Moving on, we come to The Chase, The Villain and Survival. Each section is packed with examples, including sentences, phrases and words. This is a huge library of ideas and will give teachers an almost unlimited resource to inspire their pupils. It's very simple to use and newly qualified teachers and teachers in training will find the book accessible; experienced teachers will find the range of ideas quite superb. A wonderful resource. You can get 20% off the Descriptosaurus books here - 

Descriptosaurus: Ghost Stories by Alison Wilcox

This essential guide will enable children to take their writing to the next level, combine their descriptions of setting and character and show how the two interact. Children can then experiment with their own ghost stories (a genre which really makes the best use of extensive vocabulary and descriptive phrases), armed with the skills, techniques and vocabulary necessary to describe their scenes in a way that allows the reader to feel the fear. Both the books are exceptionally easy to use; it's easy to find what you need - and if you are just looking for inspiration but don't quite know where to start, just dip in - you will be amazed. Teachers looking for ideas for displays to encourage writing and to extend vocabulary will find the book brimful of ideas. Using these two inspiring books will help their pupils produce exceptional stories. Creative writing can be a challenge for some children, but with these books to hand, teachers can really enthuse their children and get some great results.

Reading Fundamentals: Grade 1: Nonfiction Activities to Build Reading Comprehension Skills (Flash Kids) by Aileen Weintraub

This colourful and clear to use book takes a variety of interesting topics and combines them with eye-catching photographs, and a bright, appealing design to encourage children to read and extend knowledge and comprehension. The book is written for the US market, so although the ideas are just as applicable to British schools, you should be aware that US spelling and language (eg fall for autumn) is used. The book, which makes much better use of colour and photos than many, presents young readers with nonfiction passages that cover a range of topics, including science, history, and geography. After each passage, there are a range of questions--fill-in-the-blank, short answer, true/false, multiple choice, and matching--test key comprehension skills. It's unusual to find a book which has so many short non-fiction passages; they are perfect for short classroom activities. Published by Flash Kids, ISBN 9781411471993.

The Elephant in the Classroom: Helping Children Learn and Love Maths by Jo Boaler

This book asks a big question - Why do millions struggle with mathematics and what can be done to change that for the next generation? The author gives her view on what has gone wrong in mathematics education and identifies the problems facing children in classrooms today. She explains that children need to be taught to be quantitatively literate, to think flexibly and creatively and to problem solve, and gives her suggestions, based on extensive experience, for teaching these principles. Along with practical teaching activities, strategies and questions that can transform a child's mathematical future, Jo Boaler shares a range of free and accessible online resources. It's not just a book for classroom teachers - anyone with an interest in our children's mathematical learning will find it fascinating, and the idea can be applied at home. Practical and enlightening, it gives plenty of food for thought and is an excellent stimulus for staffroom discussion.

Princesses, Dragons and Helicopter Stories by Trisha Lee

This engrossing book is subtitled 'Storytelling and story acting in the early years' which tells you exactly what it is all about. Young children are highly imaginative and we need to capitalise on this before they become self-conscious about their thinking - this book will help all Early Years practitioners to draw the best out of children as they use stories and fantasy play to make connections and make sense of the world. MakeBelieve Arts Helicopter Stories are based on the storytelling and story acting curriculum of Vivian Gussin Paley and have been shown to have a significant impact on children’s literacy and communication skills, their confidence and social and emotional development. this book provides a practical, step-by-step guide to using this approach with young children. It shows how to introduce Helicopter Stories to children. The friendly and accessible approach is full of anecdotes and practical examples from a wide range of settings, ensuring it is relevant to any Early Years setting. The book sets out easy to follow guidelines and rules for scribing children’s stories, creating a stage and acting out stories. Understanding that not all needs are the same, the author sympathetically addresses taboos and sensitive issues in children’s stories; shows how to encourage reluctant participants and supports children with English as an Additional Language. This is a really interesting approach to engaging young children, clearly explained in a way that makes the reader really want to try it out.

Reset Your Child's Brain by Victoria Dunckley

This interesting book, which tackles a contemporary issue head-on, is subtitled 'A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time'. It's an ambitious aim but even if you don't change your child's thinking so dramatically, you will come away from the book with plenty of practical ideas. Some parents struggle with their children's behaviour and children are often diagnosed with disorders that require medical intervention. The author specialises in working with children and families who have failed to respond to previous treatment and has pioneered a new programme. In her work with more than 500 children, teens, and young adults diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, 80 percent showed marked improvement on the four-week programme presented here. Interactive screens, including video games, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets over stimulate a child s nervous system. Of course, it is well-nigh impossible to avoid electronic stimuli, but this book sets out to show how the most vulnerable amongst us can and should be spared their damaging effects.

The SENCo Handbook: Leading and Managing a Whole School Approach by Elizabeth Cowne

This essential handbook is now in its 6th edition - testament to how popular it is, and to the publisher's determination to ensure the information is always up-to-date. The key change in this edition is to take account of the 2014 SEND Code of Practice (2014). Also updated are recent research and implications for policy and practice in schools overall and for SENCos in particular. The book is aimed at SENCOs in all settings, from early years settings to colleges. Students and those studying for the National Award for SEN Co-ordination, whether or not they are committed to teaching in a particular age group, will therefore find the book gives an essential overview. It is valuable for both SENCOs and school leaders; the latter will find the book gives them a greater understanding of how the SENCo role has changed and will change, thus facilitating the implementation of an effective whole-school policy. Key topics include: leading and managing change in SEN policy and practice; building the capacity of class and subject teachers to meet the needs of pupils; managing the graduated response for those with identified additional needs; tracking and recording progress; developing whole-school approaches to policy and practice for those with SEND; the deployment and management of support staff; working with children, young people and their parents; working in partnership with a range of outside agencies and services. The demands of current legislation makes the last point extremely helpful. Photocopiable training materials are included, as well as source lists for further reading and information. All-in-all, a comprehensive and straightforward approach.

Understanding Autism: The Essential Guide for Parents by Katrina Williams and Jacqueline Roberts

This comprehensive book is written by two leading experts in the field. Going back to the causes of autism it then moves on to how it manifests at the various ages and stages of a child's life. Helpful advice is given on practical aspects, including as diet and nutrition, the importance of self-care for parents, how to cope with common problematic behaviours, conditions that can often appear in conjunction with autism (such as anxiety and depression), and how best to manage the child's transition to adulthood. Examples from real life help with the feelings of isolation many parents can experience and they will benefit from these experiences which help to make the book relevant and readable. To me, the use of this book goes far beyond parents - family members and anyone working in an educational setting which has students with autism will find this accessible and empathetic book a valuable resource, which dispels many of the myths and gives practical and supportive advice.

How to Hug a Hedgehog: 12 Keys for Connecting with Teens by Brad Wilcox

Such a clever title - it really sums up the way parents often feel about their teen children. This enlightening book, as the title says, takes 12 keys that can help adults connect with their teenagers. With entertaining stories to support the principles that open the cages, both parent and teen should read this to benefit fully. How to Hug a Hedgehog explores everything from communication to what you might have missed on the teen "warning label." Reading this book will reassure parents that they are not alone; that others have been there before; and ultimately, they can and will be successful outcomes. The practical examples give a good insight into how teens feel and throughout, the book is an easy and engaging read. The suggestions are positive and motivating; they can be acted on a small step at a time to achieve positive results - nobody expects overnight changes but these practical ideas will gradually built up to improve communication, understanding (both ways) and relationships

Flip the System: Changing Education from the Ground Up by Jelmer Evers

This book takes a scholarly look at a world-wide issue. Education is threatened on a global scale by forces of neoliberalism, through high stakes accountability, privatisation and a destructive language of learning. In all respects, a GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) has erupted from international benchmark rankings such as PISA, TIMMS and PIRL, causing inequity, narrowing of the curriculum and teacher deprofessionalisation on a truly global scale. In this book, teachers from around the world and other educational experts, make the case to move away from this uneducational economic approach, to instead embrace a more humane, more democratic approach to education. This approach is called ‘flipping the system’, a move that places teachers exactly where they need to be - at the steering wheel of educational systems worldwide. It's not a book to be tackled by the faint-hearted, but once you become engrossed in the book, it is a fascinating read and a reassuring look at where teachers really should be - at the very centre of education systems, driving them forward.

Stress-Free Feeding: How to develop healthy eating habits in your child by Lucy Cooke and Laura Webber

We all know how important it is to instill good eating habits from a very young age - but however much we are determined to do this, it's all too easy to give in when placed under pressure. This practical book will help avoid that with its real life examples from mothers themselves about their difficulties with feeding and what worked for them. Dealing with children from 0 - 5, it provides reassurance, dispels some of the myths around child feeding, and attempts to dissipate maternal guilt about feeding. Covering the years from pregnancy to primary school, the book will help readers through the most potentially problematic and worrying stages of child feeding with evidence-based solutions to common problems. It's an excellent way to get children off to a good start and parents will find it reassuring and helpful.

Help Your Kids with Music by Carol Vorderman

This is one in an excellent series from DK which guides parents through all aspects of helping their child with the topic. The highly visual approach is perfect for helping with music homework or for supporting children who want to know more of the theory behind the musical instrument they are learning - even if that is just the recorder. The book includes the latest updates to the UK National Curriculum, covering everything from semitones and note values, to harmony and music appreciation. The clear, accessible pictures and diagrams will help everyone learn to approach even the most complex musical theory with confidence. There is a useful glossary of key musical terms and symbols which also aids in de-mystifying the subject. The accompanying CD gives musical examples and well as scales and chords and demonstrating a range of musical instruments. Whether or not you are musical, this book will help you and your child understand music theory - I found it fascinating and I learnt a lot and I think adults will thoroughly enjoy using this informative book with their children.

Developing Memory Skills in the Primary Classroom: A complete programme for all by Gill Davies

Today's classrooms are busy places and children are expected to remember vast amounts of information and instruction. This practical book contains guidance and resources that will help teachers boost their pupils’ working memory. This method has been tested in schools and is proven to have a positive impact on pupils. The resources include a variety of photocopiable games and activities; extensive teaching notes; a range of sample letters to parents/carers; essential information sheets; bespoke baseline assessment tools; a detailed programme that can be run by a teaching assistant under the guidance of the SENCo. I think the theory which lies behind the book and the excellent presentation make this an excellent basis for INSET days. Importantly, the book provides a clear link between working in the classroom and with parents in the home - this is emphasised by the advice and information sheets for parents.The techniques used are wide-ranging, meaning there is plenty for every type of learner; they can be easily adapted for use throughout the curriculum and for learners of all abilities. I think this interesting book has plenty of value beyond the classroom too - we can all apply some of the ideas and techniques.

The ICT Handbook for Primary Teachers: A Guide for Students and Professionals by David Hall

Of all subjects in the primary curriculum, keeping up-to-date with changes in ICT (now Computing) can be the most challenging, so it's good to see this second edition of the book. The curriculum was completely overhauled in 2014, so this new edition is an essential. It includes a new section on the Computing curriculum and an overview of the reorganisation of those online agencies that serve to support ICT - again, an area in which there have been many changes. Covering theory and practice the book explores and outlines the usefulness of a wide range of up to date ICT resources - there is so much out there that it can be well-nigh impossible to look at everything so this guidance is very welcome. There are many really useful references to supplementary online resources, providing activities, multimedia resources and further reading and all these supplement the book excellently. Topics include the requirements of the new Computing curriculum, the place for ICT in enhancing teaching and learning across the curriculum, using ICT in core curriculum subjects and in cross-curricular contexts, different models of e-learning (interactive whiteboards, tablet PCs, mobile devices, the Internet etc), how ICT can be used to help pupils with special educational needs and using ICT for planning, delivery, assessment and recording. Whether you are a student, an experienced teacher, SENCO or ICT coordinator/manager you will find this book invaluable, with a vast amount of information well presented.

The School I'd Like: Revisited: Children and young people's reflections on an education for the future by Catherine Burke

Strongly focusing on the voice of the consumer - the pupil - this fascinating book revisits The Guardian competition of 2001 in which young people were asked to imagine their ideal school. Following on from that, in 2011, The Guardian re-launched the competition; this book presents the views of the children who responded to that competition. It's a fascinating insight into how school pupils view their schools and all concerned with education need to pay heed if pupils are to be fully engaged with their education. Throughout the book, children's essays, stories, poems, pictures and plans give a unique perspective on exactly how pupils view schools. The changes in perceptions since the 2001 edition can be clearly seen and make for interesting reading. The book identifies consistencies in children's expressions of how they wish to learn and highlights particular sites of 'disease' in the education system today; illustrates how the built environment is experienced by today's children and poses questions about the reconstruction of teaching and learning for the twenty-first century. The book makes for excellent reading and the perception of the children will amaze, astonish and sometimes sadden you. It's a powerful book and all those concerned with education, whether policy-makers or classroom teachers, should read and note the vital messages it conveys.

Teaching in a Networked Classroom by Jonathan Savage

Technology changes at an astounding rate and none of us can predict what the future might hold. Teachers can only imagine the world for which they are preparing their students. Creativity is one way of addressing this uncertainty. In this book, the authors argue that creativity is a social and collaborative process that can be enhanced through online and digital technologies. The book is full of valuable case studies and practical tasks, showing teachers how they can develop an approach to teaching and learning with digital technologies that is inherently social, collaborative and creative. Topics covered are - Learning in a networked society - An examination of sharing practices and how knowledge can be shared more effectively - Potential pitfalls of virtual learning environments and public social networking sites - Using digital media to plan schemes of work and lessons - How to facilitate meaningful collaboration and discussion through digital media - Creating online environments to enable students to share their understandings and learning. It collects in one place key ideas about creativity, collaborative learning and ICT in the classroom to engender discussion and planning for the future..

Odyssey - Dynamic Learning System: An innovative approach to inspirational learning experiences by Leon Conrad

Imagine you're in a room, looking at a colourful grid of many different shapes spread out on a wall. There's something intriguing about it - something almost magical. There are triangles, circles, squares, stars. Each has something on it - a word or diagram. There's one shape of each colour ... placed in a strange formation ... what could the underlying pattern be? It's as if each shape is a door or window to another world; the whole display a chocolate box for the mind - a magical carriage to take you on a journey through your imagination. Get ready to embark on your very own Odyssey journey - a unique journey unlike any you've ever gone on before. Odyssey Journeys are based on the Odyssey Dynamic Learning System - a flexible, adaptable, scalable content-free educational intervention that can be used in any educational setting, for any age group.

History Riddles: A Treasure Trove Book by Leon Conrad

If you enjoy, stories, enjoy history and relish a quizzing challenge, then you will enjoy this unusual and thought-provoking book. Pit your wits against this fascinating collection of 30 cultural riddles featuring popular historical stories and legends. Engage with these riddles out of sheer fun and curiosity as a reader, or use them when facilitating an /Odyssey Dynamic Learning System/ journey. You'll find they intrigue, tease, inform, educate, enlighten, and entertain. Still guessing? There are clues to help you. Think you've cracked them? Check out the background information for the answers and for suggestions on exploring topics further. How many riddles will you be able to solve? It's a brilliant way to engage students with history and to encourage them both to think about the riddles and to explore further.

Parenting in the Age of Attention Snatchers: A Step-by-Step Guide to Balancing Your Child's Use of Technology by Lucy Jo Palladino

This can be a contentious issue but Lucy Jo Palladino gives us a well-rounded and balanced view of the situation. With ever-increasing apps available to capture children's attention, parents and teachers are concerned about the effects of so much technology use and want to find a balanced approach between encouraging children to be competent in their use of technology while preventing the attention problems that can develop from overuse. Through seven practical steps parents are shown the best practices to guide children to understand and control their attention. Parents will also learn the critical difference between voluntary and involuntary attention, new findings about brain development, and what puts children at risk for attention disorders. We are all at risk of spending too much time using technology, so adults need to lead by example.

Teaching Art to Young Children by Rob Barnes

Reaching a third edition is always testament to the value and reception of a book and this is a tried and tested text that teachers have valued. Both practising teachers and student teachers will find the range of ideas will give inspiration for the classroom and the clear presentation will help even the less-artistic to have confidence in their teaching. Based on first-hand experience, the book lays heavy emphasis on the inclusion of examples from early years and primary school contexts; an extensive centre section of colour images of a wide range of work will really inspire the reader; black and white illustrations appear through the book. Topics covered include developing skills through using media; how children draw; encouraging artistic confidence in children and producing original artwork and making use of digital imagery. It's a positive and encouraging approach which will really instill confidence and show how art links to all other areas of the curriculum, holding a vital position in teaching.

Understanding School Transition: What happens to children and how to help them by Jennifer Symonds

It's excellent to see the efforts that schools go to to help children through what can be a tough phase in their education. It's a time of huge upheaval with personal and social changes to face. Handling this transition wisely is fundamental to helping children settle and get the most out of their new environment and that's where this invaluable book comes in. These underpin the immediate and longer term wellbeing of children, peer groups, teachers and schools. Understanding School Transition provides a most comprehensive, international review of this important area, complete with practical advice on what practitioners can do to support children’s wellbeing, motivation and achievement. Topics include Understanding stress and anxiety; Children’s hopes, fears and myths at transition; Parents’ and teachers’ influence and role; Children’s relationships with peers as they change schools; Children’s personal and collective identities; Motivation, engagement and achievement and Supporting the most vulnerable children. The extensive references both give authority and open up avenues for further research. Whatever your role in the transition process - teacher, parent, educator - you need to read this book to help students get the very best from their chances. It really gets to the heart of the matter and the in-depth discussion will help all concerned to really understand what goes on during this process.

Money and Schools by Faith E. Crampton

Any book covering the complex subject of school financing is inevitably going to be a hefty tome - it's a deeply complex and ever-changing world. An understanding of finance is an essential for school managers if they are to ensure that the students in their care receive the very best opportunities. Money and Schools clarifies the relationship between money and equality of educational opportunity; it is an authoritative work based on research and best practices. With a strong focus on real-life examples, the book provides a broad overview of school finance, budgeting, and resource allocation, as well as a detailed examination of day-to-day funding operations. A new edition, this includes cutting edge research; new concepts and updated and enhanced web resources and recommended reading lists. With the growth in academies, even more responsibility and accountability is falling directly on schools - and that includes their directors and governors. They may not directly reference this book themselves, but those teaching and managing school finances will find this book a useful fount of knowledge to pass on as well as being invaluable in helping them to make the best of what may be increasingly reduced and unforecastable resources.

Writing Strategies That Work: Do This--Not That! by Lori G. Wilfong

This book contains ten effective strategies that will improve students' writing and help teachers to find out about the best practices around. The author takes you through today’s best practices for teaching writing and how to implement them in the classroom. The book includes a wealth of practical examples and strategies to apply in the classroom, all clearly explained and straightforward to apply. As well as advising what to do, the author also makes suggestions of techniques to avoid, based on years of experience. Learn how to: make sure students have enough work in a genre before you assign writing; develop thoughtful, short writing prompts that are "infinite" and not finite; have students read and learn from master authors in the genre they are writing; create a writing community so that writing is not an isolated activity; use anchor charts and minilessons, along with rubrics and checklists; implement revising strategies, not just editing strategies, taught in context; use conferencing to grow students as thoughtful, reflective writers; let narratives be personal and creative, focusing on details and imagery; let informational writing explore a topic creatively and in depth; and let argument writing be situated in real-world application and not be limited to one-sided, "what-if" debates. Every chapter begins with an engaging scenario, includes the "why" behind the practice; based on the Common Core, the techniques can be applied to the UK curriculum. The book also contains many templates that teachers can reproduce and use in their own classrooms.

Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks: Creative and critical responses to visual texts by Janet Evans

As a reviewer of children's books, I found this book fascinating. I am sometimes perturbed by the content of some so-called picture books with the assumption that they are for young readers, but they can be far from suitable for young children. The intended age may well be far beyond the expected audience. These are picturebooks whose controversial subject matter and unconventional, often unsettling style of illustration challenge the reader, pushing them to question and probe deeper to understand what the book is about - this is not the conventional expectation of picture books. These increasingly popular picturebooks work on many different levels; they are truly polysemic and worthy of in-depth analysis. They push the reader to ask questions and in many instances are intrinsically philosophical, often dealing with fundamental life issues; by giving them to young children, the author/illustrators' point is lost. The book examines these unconventional, non-conformist picturebooks, considering what they are, their audience and their purpose. It brings to our attention the fact that we must always look beyond the picture book format and make sure we read the text and look at the illustrations carefully before sharing them with children. This book takes an international viewpoint, so readers may well not encounter many of the books but it certainly gives teachers and librarians food for thought.

Transforming Reading Skills in the Secondary School: Simple strategies for improving literacy by Pat Guy

This practical and commonsense book is designed to help practitioners working in a mainstream context, and it does include a section on giving effective support in withdrawal lessons. The book suggests ways to develop the underlying skills necessary for good reading through multiple pathways such as mainstream subject lessons, individual and small group support sessions, whole school initiatives, the use of reading mentors and home-school liaison opportunities. Brimming with ideas and activities, Pat Guy explores a variety of different aspects of reading which include the role of the School Librarian - as a school librarian myself, I think more could be made of the role and the part librarians can play in promoting literacy. The best part of this book, to my mind, comes in the form of the advice sheets which are crammed with practical suggestions. They include a series of engaging games, comprehension help and advice for parents including a varied list of reading resources which reflect students' interests. Teachers and librarians wanting to develop the reading skills of secondary pupils who struggle will find this a resource they return to time and time again.

Teacher-Made Assessments: How to Connect Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Learning (Eye on Education) by Christopher Gareis

Assessment is, of course, a measure of student learning but, as this book shows, there is much more to it than that. This new edition of a best-selling book gives guidance on constructing and using classroom assessments through a variety of means including tests, quizzes, essays, and rubrics to improve student achievement. Main sections are why assess student learning; what makes a good assessment; how to create a good assessment; how to create good select response and constructed response items; connecting assessment to learning; influencing practice in school. I would just say that, although the principles are largely the same, this is basically a US publication so some elements may not be applicable to the situation in the UK. However, this clearly written book is a very useful guide to an essential element of classroom practice.

The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (Routledge Companions) by Penny Lacey and others

This in-depth scholarly look at the topic features contributions from writing teams of acknowledged experts providing a balance of both academic and practitioner perspectives; this means that each aspect is excellently covered by real experts, giving the reader confidence. Each chapter contains careful presentations and analyses of the findings from influential research and its practical applications and the book is a treasure chest of experiences, suggestions and ideas from practitioners that will be invaluable for many years to come. The contributors cover topics related to the rights and needs of children and young adults from 0-25 years, this fitting perfectly with the new Education and Health Care Plans, and ensuring progress is maintained after leaving formal education. Careful attention is paid to understanding the needs of carers and of the young people. The chapters are: Provision for learners with SLD/PMLD; Involving stakeholders; Priorities for meeting the personal and social needs of learners; Developing the curriculum; Strategies for supporting teaching and learning; Towards a new understanding of education for learners with SLD/PMLD. This text is an essential read for students on courses and staff working in and with the whole range of educational settings catering for children and young adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, not just for teachers but also for support staff, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, nurses, social workers and other specialists. An authoritative work which makes an excellent reference guide for all aspects of helping children and young people with severe learning difficulties.

Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids by Susan Stiffelman

Parenting expert Susan Stiffelman feels that the very behaviours that we see as negative - refusing to cooperate or ignoring our requests - can be turned into positives that help us build awareness and shed old patterns. The result will allow us to raise our children with greater ease and enjoyment. Filled with practical advice, powerful exercises, and fascinating stories from her clinical work, "Parenting with Presence" teaches us how to become the parents we most want to be while raising confident, caring children. It's an interesting concept and there is plenty in this book which will appeal to all parents - as ever, we take what we need from books like this and thereby benefit. With its very approachable writing style and feel that the author has experienced what she writes about, this is encouraging and reassuring.

Empowering Families: Practical Ways to Involve Parents in Boosting Literacy, Grades Pre-K-5 by Judy Bradbury and Susan E Busch

Parents and carers have a vital role to play in encouraging literacy in their children - it is not just the responsibility of schools. With so many pressures on teachers' time, finding time to develop and implement literacy programmes to keep families engaged and involved can be hard to schedule. That's where this invaluable book comes in, with its step-by-step planning for literacy booster sessions; the book includes ready-to-use handouts for events, such as announcement sheets, follow-up evaluations, and tipsheets that describe ways parents can reinforce literacy at home. These handouts are photocopiable and the tipsheets are also available for easy download from the Routledge website. Key features that will be helped through the programme are; reading aloud to children at home; minimising the 'summer slide'; encouraging boys to enjoy reading; helping children cope with homework and much, much more. There are many useful book lists included, although I must warn you that the book has a US bias; this does not detract from the overall value of the book - the valuable principles explained are equally relevant wherever you live. It's a comprehensive look at a vital area of learning which will give the best results when applied throughout the school - and this book makes doing so easy and achievable - and provides great encouragement.

How to be Inventive When Teaching Primary Mathematics: Developing outstanding learners by Steve Humble

Maths is all around us and this inspiring book shows teachers how they can engender a love for maths in their pupils by making good use of the world around us. The author is known as Dr Maths for his passionate approach to teaching and developing a love for maths. This highly readable and motivating book is packed with exciting and creative ideas, many of them quite unexpected. It empowers teachers to not only use the ideas in the book but to develop their own ideas by giving them the confidence to know that thinking creatively really works. Take your pupils on a maths walk, meet dinosaurs, visit art galleries, learn your destiny number, create your first human graph in the playground and learn how to be an algebra magician  - what inspiring ideas.  Centred on five key mathematical topics - number, geometry, measurement, statistics and algebra – the book takes a journey, introducing historical facts, ideas for innovative and inventive classroom activities and explorations of the key misconceptions for each topic. The author's enthusiasm is clear to see and the book is a fascinating read.

Jumpstart! PSHE: Games and activities for ages 7-13 by John Foster

Children and young people can sometimes be reluctant to discuss the issues that arise in PSHE, so this book of practical activities will be really valued by teachers, as it provides a springboard for activities and discussion. Full of practical activities which are well explained and easy to implement, the book covers class and group discussions and formal debates. It moves on to a range of activities to encourage further participation, including games, role plays, hot seating and thought tracking. The nature of the activities make it easy for children to express themselves on issues that concern them such as bullying and sexual issues; these can be hard topics for teachers to address so they,too, will gain confidence in expressing themselves. Major issues including drugs, relationships and discrimination are made easier and more meaningful to handle. Each chapter is divided into smaller sections which are clearly labelled with the appropriate age, so teachers can use just the right level of material for the age of the children - this is a really useful feature and makes the book easy to use throughout the recommended age range, especially as many teachers are not specialists in the subject. PSHE is a vital subject and can have a huge impact on pupils' lives, so use this excellent book to help it to be a positive impact.

Speak, Listen and Learn: Teaching resources for ages 7-13 by Tony Wood

This valuable book contains a series of graduated lesson plans aimed at improving children’s speaking and listening skills, their self-confidence and their motivation to learn. These are key skills, sometimes overlooked but essential both in leading to better school performance and helping future prospects. Teachers using the scheme as set out in the book can be assured that it is well proven, having been developed and tested in schools over a four year period. The skills taught fulfil the criteria of the new National Curriculum and make the principles easy to apply throughout the curriculum, making a whole-school approach emm=inently possible. Each lesson worksheet is comprehensively thought out, with learning objectives, guidance on preparation and organisation, an activity guide, and follow-up suggestions. Whatever the level of the children being taught, the four levels of difficulty combine to develop a powerful range of abilities associated with persuasive and presentational speech, dialogue and debate, as well as developing the children’s command, use, and articulation of English. Each level consists of twelve starter lessons suitable for class-based group work, with sections preparing pupils for a variety of class competitions including public speaking, poetry reading and debating. The activities link naturally with other areas of the curriculum, and topics already being studied can easily be incorporated. Children will readily engage with the activities and as their confidence grows, there are plenty more ideas to work through to enhance learning.
The Nursery Year in Action: Following children's interests through the year by Anna Ephgrave The key to this book lies in the title - following children's interests, and this child-centred book does just that. The first thing that struck me about this book was the extensive use of colour photography; simply flicking through the book will inspire Early Years practitioners. You will find a month-by-month view covering all aspects of teaching in nursery settings which can be applied if you are teaching a few children or responsible for a large setting. Children's awareness of the world around them is heightened by this approach and parental involvement facilitated. Clearly explained outcomes show the benefits of applying the principles. Much of the book reports on practical examples and the way the ideas actually work in practice, giving confidence in the methods and ideas. Planning is assisted by photocopiable sheets, letters and lists of resources available for download - a real boon for busy teachers. A very practical book that puts the child at the centre of planning and provides inspiration throughout the year. The author's Early Years department has achieved four 'Outstanding' Ofsted judgements - testament to the efficacy of her methods.
Teaching Mathematics Creatively (Learning to Teach in the Primary School Series) by Linda Pound and Trisha Lee This second edition offers new and experienced teachers a fascinating and inspiring range of strategies to offer an innovative and appealing approach to teaching mathematics. It explains the role of play in bringing mathematics, making the subject far more interesting than children expect - using these ideas, they will really look forward to their maths lessons. It uses the power of story-telling; encourages learning maths outdoors; links maths and music and even introduces giant maths (how much food do you include on a giant shopping list?). These approaches integrate maths across the curriculum and help children see the part it plays in every area of life and learning. Well written with practical examples included as well as useful lists of further reading and (this appeals to me as a librarian) very good lists of children's books to use. An inspiring book with an approach that really engages children with their learning, making excellent use of children's love for and response to story telling. The strengths of the authors - Linda Pound is an Early Years Education Consultant and Trisha Lee is Founder and Artistic Director of MakeBelieve Arts - have been brought together to bring us an excellent teaching resource.

100 Ideas for Early Years Practitioners: Outdoor Play (100 Ideas for the Early Years) by Julie Mountain

Outdoor activity is so important for all children and never more so that in an age where a combination of security fears and increasing use of electronic media keeps children indoors more than ever. Schools can take the lead in promoting outdoor activity and starting in the Early Years sets a good pattern. This book offers early years practitioners easy-to-implement outdoor play activities along with practical advice on managing and evaluating their provision. The wide ranging ideas cover a range of complexities and offer something for all levels of outdoor play, with a good progression of activity levels to help teachers who are less experienced. The activities support learning in the classroom, involving mark making, storytelling, communicating, exploration, maths and mud! The author's enthusiasm shines through and will encourage teachers to try out the ideas.

Outstanding Assessment for Learning in the Classroom by Jayne Bartlett

This book demonstrates how assessment for learning can be used to enhance and support all aspects of the learning process. Including chapters on embedding assessment during each phase of the lesson, using assessment data to inform planning, questioning techniques and feedback, the book will help teachers to use assessment effectively to produce outstanding results. Packed full of practical strategies, this book shows you how you can make assessment meaningful in the classroom, directly impacting your students and creating a more autonomous learning environment. It is written specifically with the class teacher in mind and draws on a range of different examples across many subjects to deliver ideas that can be translated with ease to everyday teaching practices. From the time the bell goes right up to making and assessing completed homework, the book covers every aspect of lessons and will greatly aid teachers in ensuring assessment is a fundamental and integral part of their planning. This innovative approach, with its practical advice and wide range of activities will be equally valuable to new and to experienced teachers; newer teachers especially will appreciate the confidence the approach will give them. Using this practical book across the school can help teachers ensure a consistency in approaching and reporting, giving results which are consistent across the whole school thereby increasing their value and reliability. Aimed at secondary teachers, this is an excellent staffroom resource which will stimulate discussion and improve practice.

Dialogic Readers: Children talking and thinking together about visual texts by Fiona Maine

It can be fascinating to listen to the discussions that primary-aged children can have as they talk together about what they have read; here we have a book which harnesses the potential of those discussions, highlighting the potential for talk between readers as a tool for critical and creative thinking. Dialogic reading basically uses picture books and images to enhance and improve literacy and language skills and is therefore a principle that can be applied from an early age. The book emphasises talk as a tool for learning and shows how it can form an integral part of primary classroom learning and teaching. It explores the language of co-construction; children’s critical and creative responses to text; the dialogic transaction between text and readers; the use of language as a tool for creating a social cohesion between readers. Aimed at educational lecturers, researchers and students who want to explore an expanded notion it is a book which repays thoughtful reading and facilitates discussion around the concepts, bringing them to an awareness of a wider audience. It's a fascinating look at how opportunities for children thinking creatively together might transform the potential for learning in the classroom. A very interesting approach which offers a good deal of food for thought and could lead to a different approach across the curriculum.

Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up by Ken Robinson

When I first saw this book, I thought it might be a dull, dry read - far from it. It's written engagingly and wittily. The author is the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential and here he turns his attention to how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalised, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes and practical examples, this is an inspiring book which focuses on the individual. The very best thing about the book is the very real hope it offers for the future of our schools and for our children - if only the powers-that-be will pay heed.

100 Family Adventures by Tim Meek and family

We all know that children should be encouraged to get out and about, enjoying all the wonders that the world around us offers - and what better ambassadors for this than children themselves? This inspiring book has over 100 activities, all tried and tested by the Meek family - Dad Tim, Mum Kerry, and children Amy and Ella. Choose your activity by theme, maybe starting off Close to Home, and then progressing through Woodland, Water, Hills and Mountains, Exploring, By the Sea, Extreme Weather - whatever takes your fancy as a family. Within each section there is a range of difficulty, from making a rope swing to scrambling up a stream, from spending a day without electricity to going on a charity bike ride, from exploring a rockpool to camping on an uninhabited island. It's wonderfully varied with activities that are within the reach of every family. It's well written, extremely practical and absolutely packed with hints and tips that are valuable whether you do the exact activity or are inspired to set off on your own adventure. There are too many benefits to enumerate but my key ones would be promoting a close loving family that enjoys being together, and increasing appreciation for the natural world. A simply brilliant book.

Understanding and Managing Children's Behaviour through Group Work Ages 5-7: A child-centred programme by Cath Hunter

Understand what and how children communicate and how to respond in a way that provides positive messages, is key to managing and improving behaviour. The book introduces the concept of reflective language and other tools, equipping staff with new skills - skills that can be used in any aspect of education. The first section explains the factors that influence children’s behaviour. The second section of the book focuses on using group work programmes, and demonstrates their impact. The activities in the group work programmes explore the concept of using reflective language as a behaviour management tool and are designed to motivate and build confidence, self-esteem and resilience. The book includes practitioner and classroom management tips and reflective tasks; strategies and practical ideas for staff to use to help them engage more deeply with the contents of the book; flexible, tried and tested group work programmes designed to promote inclusion rather than exclusion; clear step-by-step instructions for delivering the group work programmes; case studies showing behaviour examples with detailed explanations for the behaviour and strategies to respond to it. It's a clear and well thought out approach which will allow teachers to use the principles with confidence to enhance classroom behaviour.

Collins Primary Geography

"Collins Primary Geography provides a progressive, skills based scheme for primary school pupils." Designed for the new curriculum (2014) it has a "Focus on locational knowledge – there’s emphasis on up-to-date case studies, a range of maps and atlases, individual sections on the UK countries and comparisons of the UK to the wider world. More focus on local enquiry – Teacher Guides provide advice and tips on how to incorporate local area study into your lesson plans."

World Around Us: Pupil Book 1 & 2

To encourage and stimulate children's interest in geography from the start of KS1, this first book includes detailed case studies with supporting evidence. To set children on the right path, from the start subject specific vocabulary is introduced and they learn geographical skills to increase locational awareness. The book covers map skills, physical, human and environmental geography, introduces contrasting localities in the UK, Europe, Asia and the wider world and uses an extensive range of evidence to stimulate the pupil’s interest and encourage investigative skills. It takes a child-centred approach, with children's experiences forming the focal point for each activity. Photographs, maps, satellite images artwork, charts and diagrams are used throughout; all these are excellent quality and fully appropriate to the topic. The accompanying Collins Primary Geography Teacher's Book 1 & 2 (Primary Geography) contains copymasters. To complete the KS1 resources, which are superbly comprehensive, there is Collins Primary Geography Resources CD 1 (Primary Geography) which includes maps, videos, photo slide shows, lesson plans and photocopiable activities to use in the classroom. Truly a one-stop resource perfect for modern teaching.

Investigation: Teacher's Book 3

The wide selection of follow-up work reinforces the skills introduced in the Pupil Book, through a wide-ranging series of activities. The book is full of practical information on how to get the most out of the pupil book; each page has the link to the Pupil book at the bottom. It helps with planning a locality study and studying the local area; countries covered include Scotland, France and Chile; other topics are wide-ranging and include weather,travelling and settlements, with worksheets on each topic . Also included is guidance on progression and assessment, lesson planning and summaries and links to the National Curriculum, with detailed information on each unit. Use this alongside Collins Primary Geography Pupil Book 3 (Primary Geography), which is written in a really engaging way to stimulate children's interest and involve them totally in the activities.

Movement: Pupil Book 4

These exceptional Pupil Books really encourage pupils to engage with their own learning; to reason on what they see around them; and to think about how people live in other countries.Each book is divided into units covering physical, human and environmental geography. There are also case studies of contrasting localities in the UK, Europe, Asia and the wider world. The pupil books use an extensive range of evidence to stimulate the children’s interest and encourage investigative skills – photographs, maps, satellite images artwork, charts and diagrams.Locations featured in Book 4 include: Northern Ireland, Germany, Jamaica and United Arab Emirates. Collins Primary Geography Teacher's Book 4 (Primary Geography) contains copymasters to support the work in the Pupil Book. The series is written by Dr Stephen Scoffham, a Principal lecturer in the Department of Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University. He teaches undergraduate, post-graduate and in-service courses and has particular responsibility for geography, environmental education and the global dimension. An established educational author, Stephen is Honorary Publications Officer for the Geographical Association and editor of their best-selling publication, the Primary Geography Handbook.

Change: Teacher's Book 5

The Teacher’s Guide contains a wide selection of follow-up work and encourages reinforcement of the skills introduced in the pupil book and information on how to get the most out of the pupil book. The Copymaster Matrix is a useful quick reference guide to the worksheets and their purpose; the spiral binding makes for easy copying. The worksheets are closely linked to the Pupil Book and both encourage children to think, to reason and discuss. Collins Primary Geography Pupil Book 5 (Primary Geography) includes England, European Union, United States of America and Kenya. These are high-quality resources, in full colour. Maps, photos and diagrams are all detailed and informative.

Issues: Pupil Book 6

This final book in the series really builds on previous learning and the way children have been encouraged to develop their geographical skills. Topics include Planet earth, Water, Weather, Settlements, Work and travel, Environment and Places. Throughout the book, pupils are presented with real-life situations, often featuring children, and encouraged to reason on and discuss their learning. The Investigation question on each topic really encourages this; the importance of mapwork is also emphasised with an activity for all the topics. Teachers can find supporting resources in Collins Primary Geography Teacher's Book 6 (Primary Geography)

Interactive Resources

The first CD is designed to support the KS1 books; the second supports KS2 work. These comprehensive CDs includes maps, videos, photo slide shows, lesson plans and activities to use in the classroom as well as worksheets to print out; the contents of the Teacher books are built-in. Having all the resources to hand in this way will be hugely beneficial for busy teachers. Collins Primary Geography Resources CD 2 (Primary Geography) Overall, this is a superb collection of resources which makes geography engaging, informative, relevant and highly enjoyable.

Supporting Change in Autism Services: Bridging the gap between theory and practice by Jackie Ravet

This book explores the theoretical and practical dimensions of improving service provision for children, young people and adults with autism. All those concerned with this area will find the book valuable and the fact that it is addressing all practitioners across the board means that a joined-up approach will be adopted, providing unity between the various organisations - a practice implicit in new legislation. Theory is all very well but guidance on applying theory is essential to ensure the best possible outcomes and, as this book shows, it's not only children affected. core aim of the book is to identify and critically examine some of the key factors that either facilitate or inhibit the implementation of good autism practice at both practitioner level and workplace level. The practical applications shown through the range of practitioner case studies will be extremely useful to show the ideas in the real world. Topics explored include: controversies and ambiguities in autism policy, theory and discourse; understanding autism in an inclusive context; enabling participation; making sense of behaviour; autism and interprofessionalism; strategic planning for autism friendly services; bridging the implementation gap. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in improving services for people with autism in the education, social care, health and voluntary sectors. The extensive use of references both gives confidence in the book and gives sources for further reading.

Teaching and Learning in the Early Years ed by David Whitebread and Penny Coltman

This comprehensive text gives a well-balanced approach to the Early Years curriculum, giving equal weight to all aspects of learning. Working from the fundamental fact that an effective early years curriculum must start with the children, their needs and their potential, the contributors acknowledge that learning must have a strong element of fun, wonder and excitement. The book draws on a wide range of expertise, ensuring that every chapter is packed with input from experienced specialists. Fully revised and updated to reflect recent changes to the curriculum, there are new chapters on assessment, communication, writing, creativity and diversity. The book includes an analysis of research into how children learn; and discussions of issues such as classroom organisation, curriculum management, and assessment; a detailed section on play and language and chapters covering individual curriculum areas, including new chapters on music and PSHE. Each chapter combines a review of important principles with practical and inspiring classroom examples to inspire teaching. This practical aspect makes the book easy to relate to and shows the value in a classroom setting; the black and white photos extend this. The fact that the book is now in its fourth edition speaks for itself, showing the value placed on the book by practitioners. Full of good ideas, this is a highly readable book which merits a place in every Early Years setting and will also be a valuable resource for students.

Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities: A resource book for teachers and teaching assistants by Barry Carpenter and others

Children and young people with CLDD have a range of conditions and combinations of conditions which can often be unfamiliar to educators. It can be challenging to engage them with learning, so there is a very real need for approaches and resources to engage this group of children in learning. The Engagement for Learning Framework has been developed and trialled by over 100 educational settings (both special and mainstream) with learners from early years to post-16, so educators can be confident that the methods are well tried. It gives practitioners from a range of disciplines a shared means of assessing, recording and developing personalized learning pathways and demonstrating progression for these children. The focus on inquiry means that however complex a young person’s needs, educators will be able to apply the approach. Clearly presented, despite the complexity of the material, the book gives an in-depth view of using the Engagement for Learning Framework effectively; the case studies show the impact of the system. I like the fact the book specifically includes Teaching Assistants, who play a vital role in any classroom and especially with students with complex issues, where they are frequently providing essential one-to-one support. The impressive qualifications of the authors makes this an authoratitive book that will be highly valued by all involved in the teaching of CLDD young people.

Cross-Curricular Teaching in the Primary School: Planning and facilitating imaginative lessons edited by Trevor Kerry

Cross-curricular teaching provides an engaging way to teach but it must be carefully structured to offer the maximum benefits to pupils. Done well, it provides an exciting way of teaching that enhances each individual subject - and using this book will help teachers to recognise when it works well and how to use it to the best advantage. This is the second edition of this practical and accessible book, which has been fully updated in light of the new curriculum. It shows how cross-curricular work can contribute to deeper subject knowledge, giving children a clear perspective of how all learning intermeshes. With many examples of effective topic work to reassure teachers that the approach really works, this book provides guidance on the underpinning theory and strategies to facilitate cross-curricular work with young children. The theory behind the strategy is explained with information on how children learn, how to improve learning skills, and the theory and rationale behind the cross-curricular approach. Other topics include developing the curriculum and lesson planning; teaching and learning in an integrated way at KS1 and KS2 and cross-curricular approaches for maths. To be really effective, whole school approaches and team teaching for cross-curricular teaching are needed and this is covered, along with the role of support staff in cross-curricular teaching. Supporting children with special needs is not forgotten either. Finally, the all-important issue of assessment is covered. Overall, this is an excellent and reassuring book, giving all school staff the confidence to embed the approach.

The Playful Parent: 7 Ways to happier, calmer, more creative days with your under-fives by Julia Deering

In our busy lives and especially when we have young children, it's easy to forget the importance of play. The Playful Parent offers a new solution for parents and carers looking for a calmer, happier and smarter way to parent the under-fives. Through seven simple steps, the author shows us how to get young children involved and learning, thinking and growing, helping and cooperating through putting play at the centre of family life. With a straightforward approach, Julia Deering offers support and advice to busy parents, with practical advice combined with hundreds of simple activities, tips, tricks and fixes, guidance, prompts and brilliant ideas. Play is a natural part of growing up, so use this excellent book to tap into what your child wants to do in order to encourage him/her to do what you want. With its coverage of all the key areas where problems can arise, this is the ideal book to have alongside you for those tricky moments.

50 Fantastic Assembly Stories for KS2 by Adrian Martin

It can be a challenge for teachers to keep coming up with fresh ideas for assemblies, so this excellent and innovative addition to the Brilliant Publications range will be well received. There are 50 stories, all set in the fictional Mill Lane Junior School. As the assembly themes are used, Children will become familiar with the fictional pupils and staff and relate to the moral dilemmas the characters face; as they get to know them, they will begin to know how they will respond and from this, children will develop their own responses. Topics include achievement, listening, justice, courage, community, friendship and many more learning from experience, listening and cooperation to achievement, determination and courage. Each story provides a moral dilemma for the character(s) to consider/tackle. The impact of the way in which the character deals with the dilemma is significantly greater as the pupils associate with and relate to the character. The stories can be used at specific times of the year, when issues arise, or whenever you are suddenly called upon to do an assembly. It is a different approach to any I have seen and really well thought out - I can see teachers using the stories to develop and enlarge the themes in the classroom. A really useful resource.

Understanding Living Things - Brilliant Support Activities, 2nd Edition by Janet O'Neill

Designed to support slower learners or pupils with various learning difficulties operating at the lower levels of understanding at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, this is one of a series which has been updated to conform with the new curriculum. The books follow the National Curriculum for years 1-3 and selected topics of years 4 and 5 in science. The presentation of information is clear and uncluttered, with one concept per sheet, making it ideal for the target audience, and the 'Think and Do' activities stimulate further activity. books introduce one concept per sheet, using simple language and clear, black line illustrations making them easy to read and understand. The 41 sheets can be photocopied by the purchasing institution. The worksheets focus on life processes common to all living things, humans and other animals and green plants, as well as on how living things relate to their environment. There are plenty of resources for children working at the expected level, but this book will be invaluable for those looking for differentiation in the classroom, ensuring the needs of all are met.

100+ Fun Ideas for Practising Primary Languages Through Drama and Performance by Janet Lloyd

Using in a range of natural situations the words rather than just reading from a book will, most likely, make pupils less self-conscious about using the language, so they have the dual benefit of speaking language and using it in a natural situation. The book suggests more than 100 activities based on drama, dance and performance; the ideas are simple to incorporate into teaching and will elicit a good response from pupils, who will enjoy the lively range of ideas. The activities are linked to the Foreign Language Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum and show how drama, performance and art can be used to achieve substantial progression in all four language learning skills. Each activity is levelled from beginners to advanced and many of them can be used progressively to cover several levels, thus giving good progression and well as allowing for differentiation. A very useful book packed with ideas.

Working in Teaching: A guide to qualifying and starting a successful career in teaching by Alan Newland

For young people thinking about a career in teaching, there is much to consider. This book makes an excellent starting point and will be a valuable addition to a careers library. It covers every stage of becoming a teacher from routes into teaching to securing a teaching role as an NQT. Part 1 is Heading into teaching; Part 2 Routes to qualifying; Part 3 Your first year as a teacher and Part 4 is Career development - so as you can see, this book really is valuable to have to hand from choosing teaching as a profession up to and beyond the first year of teaching. Topics include Different routes into teaching; The PGCE and other teaching courses; Placements and observation; Finding teaching roles to apply for; Applications and interviews; Support for NQT year; Secondary and primary school teacher salary; and Career direction and development - truly a comprehensive look at all the questions aspiring teachers have. A particular point to note are the case studies from teachers at all stages of their career, so readers know this is what happens in real life, not an idealised picture. Down-to-earth questions, such as can I afford it, and what support will there be are answered.It's an approachable book, clear and easy to use, whether you just want to dip in and out, or read it right through. Excellent for all aspiring teachers.

Lessons in Teaching Computing in Primary Schools by James Bird

The changes that have taken place in the new curriculum to in ICT are immense - in fact, ICT is now computing and this change reflects the different approach that must now be taught. This can be a daunting prospect for teachers, who are faced with a complete change. And that's where this book comes in - this book provides subject knowledge, takes a look at effective teaching of computing in primary schools and provides high quality exemplar lessons. The lessons are accompanied by analysis of what makes them good and this useful approach gives teachers a springboard for preparing their own computing lessons, armed with the confidence that what they are doing really works. The book includes algorithms , programming and digital content for KS1 and programming, physical computing, networks, digital information and technology for KS2. Written by highly experienced authors, the book encourages thinking through its lesson plans, discussions and activities. The book is one of the Lessons in Teaching series, a series "that takes exemplar lessons as a starting point for developing subject knowledge and exploring the theory behind them. The lessons can be adapted to suit different year groups and schools."

Teaching Synthetic Phonics (Teaching Handbooks Series) by Rhona Johnston and Joyce Watson

The synthetic phonics approach is used in all primary schools in England so it is essential that teachers, whether already in the classroom or still training, have a thorough understanding of its principles and why it is the chosen system. This comprehensive and up-to-date guide helps in understanding the theory behind phonics - without that knowledge, teaching loses its meaning. It shows how children's learning of reading develops and helps in understanding the process, whether it is going smoothly or if problems are encountered. The systematic coverage means teachers can ensure every aspect is covered fully before moving on; there is a plethora of information here to inform and thus improve teaching. This new edition has been updated to include new chapters on the new Phonics Check in year 1 and overviews of popular phonics schemes used in England and Scotland.

Creativity in Primary Education (Achieving QTS Series) ed by Anthony Wilson

Written for primary trainees, this book is equally valuable for experienced classroom teachers - it can be easy to overlook the value of creativity in the classroom and let teaching become stale. Not only do teachers need to be creative themselves - they need to develop the skill in their pupils and what better way than by example? The point that really struck me is that creativity is not restricted to a limited number of subjects but embraces the whole curriculum and gives an excellent basis for cross-curricular teaching. The success of the book is proven by the fact this is the third edition; it retains key material and has been updated and revised to include two new chapters - the theme of the creative curriculum and supporting trainees to see how effective curriculum design can enhance creative teaching. An excellent way to refresh established teaching and bring in new ideas which will delight children. With plenty of good examples, this gives lots of food for thought and motivation to extend creativity.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week (One Born Every Minute) by Vickie Hugo

Written by an experienced midwife, mothers-to-be can be reassured that this book contains up-to-date professional advice. Keep this book by your side through the three trimesters of pregnancy for a reassuring and practical look at an exciting time in a woman's life. The book opens with general advice then discusses each week on a two page spread, accompanied by photographs and diagrams to enable a full understanding of all the changes taking place. Written in a clear and practical manner, it covers 'What is going on with you' and 'What is going on with the baby'; alongside this are boxes of time-relevant information. The information is succinct and gives all what you to know to make the right decisions. Birth and the first few hours conclude the book. Clear and practical, an excellent guide.

Baby Play for Every Day by Claire Halsey

Of course, you want to do your very best for your baby, right from that exciting day when your baby arrives. It's not always easy to think of things to do, but if you have this inspirational book to hand, there will be plenty of ideas - one for every single day of baby's first year, in fact. Month by month this clear and practical book shows you how your baby will be developing and gives you ideas to help that development. It's not all about baby, though. A happy baby needs happy parents and the activities keep this firmly in mind, including ideas for relaxation, healthy eating and exercise. No need to go out and buy lots of expensive toys either - the book encourages you to use everyday objects to stimulate your baby's growing imagination; there are pages within the book especially for baby to look at too. Of course, as a DK book, it is beautifully presented and illustrated - it really makes you want to try out the activities. You can follow this excellent book day-by-day, or dip in and out as the fancy takes you. Either way, it's an invaluable and highly recommended companion to that all-important first year..

Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters by Carla Naumburg

With widespread use of the internet and vast numbers of parenting titles on the market, it is no wonder many parents feel overwhelmed by advice. Mindful parenting is about paying attention to what is going on with your children and yourself, and making decisions based on your family and its own needs. Carla Naumburg shares what truly matters in parenting, by connecting with children in ways that are meaningful to them and you. It is a calm and practical approach to parenting that encourages us to slow down and pay attention to what really matters. With practical advice and personal experiences, this is an interesting read which encourages reflection.

Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and Out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan

This is not just theory, it is firmly classroom based. Meena Srinivasan began teaching in order to touch lives but, as sadly can happen in teaching, the demands of the curriculum became paramount. When she learnt about mindfulness, she felt this was a philosophy which would transfer well to the classroom. Each chapter begins with a personal narrative concerning a challenge Srinivasan faced during the school day and goes on to show how a specific mindfulness practice helped. The inclusion of testimonials from students, colleagues, and parents show how others have put the principles into practice. An interesting and very readable book with plenty of practical ideas.

Teaching Religious Education Creatively (Learning to Teach in the Primary School Series) edited by Sally Elton-Chalcraft

This fresh approach to the teaching of RE is full of creative ideas to make RE a lively and relevant subject for primary school pupils. We know how vital it is for all of us to understand and accept that there are many different beliefs in our world and that we need to accept and respect people's faiths. RE teaching has the potential to change viewpoints and lives and this thoughtful book shows how effective teaching can encourage discernment, strengthen individual faith and help answer questions. Chapters are written by specialists and give an in-depth view, including detailed references to supporting research. Teaching today goes far beyond learning by rote - it encourages children to make their own decisions and what better subject than RE to do that? Stimulated by the innovative and clear ideas in this book, teachers will be enabled to make the most of this important subject.

Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom by Sally McKeown and Angela McGlashon

The world of ICT is so fast-moving that it can seem a daunting task for teachers to try and keep up to date. This practical guide contains 50 Brilliant Ideas plus 20 Brilliant Starters to help teachers unlock the enormous potential of new technology. There is a particular focus on young people with additional needs and I found this particularly interesting as ICT can offer so many additional opportunities for anyone who struggles to learn, for whatever reason; this approach also helps integration in the classroom. The book is written by two of the UK’s leading technology experts, and it makes the subject approachable and not in the least daunting. The clear guidelines given for each activity, including invaluable tips, make the most of the marvels of modern technology. The contacts and information boxes for each topic give links for further information and application. The book has been specifically designed to help develop pupils’ key skills, including problem solving, developing concepts and communicating to different audiences. In each activity, the authors show why and how a particular resource was used and show how similar techniques can be implemented right across the curriculum. A range of technologies are covered, including many free to access right up to sophisticated packages. An excellent book which will stimulate discussion and innovative teaching ideas.

Bringing German to Life: Creative activities for 5-11 by Catherine Watts

This excellent cross-curricular approach to language teaching puts language just where it should be - at the heart of a range of activities; that is, after all, the way we learn our first language. There are 14 sections, each beginning with a story in German about two children; the stories develop through the book to tell all about their day. Following each story, you will find ideas on using the vocabulary plus a range of activities, including finger puppets, handmade crafts and exciting games, all of which offer opportunities to practise the language. A wide range of further activities follows, consisting of lively games, songs and opportunities to communicate simple ideas. Cross curricular links include Literacy, Numeracy, PE and ICT; this approach really integrates language learning into the curriculum. The book allows use in many different ways, leaving teachers free to use the ideas in the way that will best fit with their teaching - great displays can be created with the craft suggestions and these provide a good way to keep languages at the forefront of pupil's awareness. It's an excellent approach which guides teachers whilst giving plenty of scope for individual adaptation.

Descriptosaurus: Supporting Creative Writing for Ages 8-14 by Alison Wilcox

No more pupils sitting with blank pages (and blank expressions!) during creative writing sessions with this inspiring book to hand. The book is 'a thematic expansion of a dictionary and a thesaurus'. Teachers will find it invaluable to encourage children to expand their descriptive vocabulary, experiment with language and sentence structure and build up narratives. Following a comprehensive introduction explaining how to use the book, there are three main sections - settings, characters and creatures. Each is sub-divided, for example settings includes landscapes which is further divided into specific landscapes each with an incredible range of words, phrases and sentences to use in association. The book includes a CD-ROM containing all the main elements of the book plus additional resources - don't miss these! Constructive and easy to use, I can see this book being in constant use. There is just so much in this phenomenal book that I can't do it justice here - you need to take a look for yourself - creative writing lessons will be transformed and pupil confidence and ability extended. It's equally valuable for parents who want to support their child's writing at home, and also for home educators and PGCE students.

Circle Time for Young Children (Essential Guides for Early Years Practitioners) by Jenny Mosley

Make the most of circle time with this practical and inspiring book, written by a leading exponent in the area. This new edition of a well trusted book is fully compliant with the new curriculum. Circle time is a key part of the Early Years curriculum and provides an excellent way to embed confidence which will support children throughout their school years. The opportunity given for sharing and talking is fundamental to teaching relationship skills, enhancing self-esteem and building a positive behaviour management and anti-bullying policy. Circle time enhances every aspect of the curriculum but has a key role to play in PSE and this is emphasised through this book with its 'why? what? how?' format. Plans include the suggested number of children, resources needed and 'what to do' ideas; all these stimulate discussion and act as a springboard for further activities. Clear, practical and rewarding to use, this is an excellent tool to maximise value of this all-important part of the Early Years classroom.

Teaching Physical Education Creatively (Learning to Teach in the Primary School Series) by Angela Pickard

We all appreciate the importance of encouraging children to participate in and, most importantly enjoy, physical activities to set a good pattern for life. By using this practical and creative book, teachers will be setting good habits in a positive environment. The book has a wide range of ideas for developing the teaching of dance, games, gymnastics and outdoor and adventurous activities and it helps teachers to see the value of each aspect. Children are inquisitive and active by nature and the ideas capitalise on that with its exciting and innovative approaches to teaching physical education. It goes into great detail - it's not a quick fix book but one which merits careful consideration before embarking on lesson planning. A practical guide, it takes account of the many different situations faced by primary teachers. This is an excellent resource for both practising and aspiring teachers and will be a very welcome addition to the staffroom library, where it will generate discussion and inspire planning throughout the primary years.

Jumpstart! History: Engaging activities for ages 7-12 by Sarah Whitehouse

These engaging activities focus on the new curriculum for history and will be welcomed by teachers who are looking for a fresh approach to the subject. We need to do more than teach facts - we need to encourage pupils to delve beneath the surface so they know why events took place. Understanding the historical skills of chronology, enquiry, historical inference and knowledge and understanding of people, places and time is an essential part of this and these areas are addressed by this book. These skills transfer readily to all areas of learning. By learning how to find out for themselves, children take ownership of and pride in their learning and this approach will stand them in good stead. Each key area of KS2 history is covered - eg Victorians and local history - with plenty of activities to encourage learning. The approach really does take children right inside history and the book is an excellent resource.

Help Your Child Love Reading by Alison David

Many parents - and teachers and librarians - would love to encourage their children to read more and to discover the joy that comes from being a voracious reader. This easy to follow and accessible guide will help you do just that. The simple approaches suggested cover all age groups from babies to teens, giving targeted advice that will work with each age range. Following the guidelines will help reading become a fun experience that will bring you and your child closer together. We all know the benefits reading brings, apart from the sheer joy of immersing yourself in a good read - it increases confidence and imagination, encourages language development and writing skills and offers benefits throughout life. The Bookshelf at the end of the book brings together all the books mentioned through the text and forms an excellent basis to build up your child's own home library. An inspiring book.

Everyday Blessings: Mindfulness for Parents by Jon Kabat-Zinn

This interesting and thought-provoking book explains the concept of mindful parenting. It looks at all aspects of parenting - emotional, intuitive and personal - and shows how to apply the practice of mindfulness meditation to parenting children of all ages. It is a series of essays which aim to encourage parents to be aware of what they are doing and why; attuning themselves to how they are feeling; how the child is feeling and why the behaviour is taking place. The book strongly promotes attachment parenting.

Snap Science - Teaching Framework Year 2 by Jane Turner

Developed to cover the new science Programme of Study, Snap Science Teaching Framework Year 2 is one in a comprehensive resource which provides sequenced lesson plans and high-quality resource sheets for every topic. The focus of the new curriculum is scientific enquiry and this is encouraged throughout the book with a question for children to answer, scientific phenomenon to investigate or problem to solve. All this really engages the young learner and gives him or her a part to play in the lesson. This is one in a whole-school series that provides a comprehensive teaching progression guaranteeing that all aspects are covered in primary school. An extensive introduction explains how to use the book and includes assessment criteria. The book is divided into seven sections with a series of detailed lesson plans for each - these include preparation, resources, exploration and enquiry (including differentiated challenges) and a summary. Supporting the book is an extensive range of online resources which can be found on the Collins Snap Science website; these allow teachers to customise the resources for their class. Do look at this as it gives a far better picture of this superb resource than I am able in a short review. An excellent resource to support science teaching and one which will be highly valued by schools.

What Every Parent Needs to Know: How to Help Your Child Get the Most Out of Primary School by Toby Young and Miranda Thomas

Many parents feel that they would like to know just what goes on once they leave their child at school for the day - well, now they can find out. Right up to date, being based on the 2014 curriculum, you can find out exactly what is taught in each year; what you need to know before the year starts and what your child should know by the end of the year (but remember, every child is different and will learn at his or her own pace). There are also ideas for supporting learning at home as well as explanations of all that jargon that can be so confusing - SPAG and SATS, EAL and ELG. Written by experienced education professionals, the book sets out to demystify primary education - but remember, you can always ask your child's teachers for information and advice; one benefit of this book is that you will be able to do so from an informed viewpoint.

Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley

Develop children's natural inquisitiveness with the 55 playful innovative and stimulating experiments in this book. Children love to explore and they see wonder in everything around them. As they experiment, so they learn, and these activities harness that to get the maximum learning benefit and to encourage children to extend their activities. Children are naturally inventive and are not trammelled by pre-conceptions - make the most of this and encourage them with these investigations. The activities are well explained and use readily accessed materials; the reasoning behind them is explained so adults can see the benefits. An excellent way to encourage children to do what comes naturally and to encourage adults to work with their children. Based on the website

Busy Ant Maths - Teacher's Guide 3 by Peter Clarke

The Busy Ant Maths programme is designed to be used right through the primary years, offering a complete programme based on the requirements of the 2014 curriculum. Teachers can have full confidence in this new scheme' knowing it is specifically written for the new curriculum, not built on existing material. Progression of learning is extremely clear and teachers can easily see how each element of the curriculum slots together. The activities are engaging for pupils with a large number of activities and challenges to support each area of learning. The guide is in loose-leaf format so teachers can add their own notes and content. I am amazed at the level of detail, laid out by lesson - week - unit in a consistent format, making planning a doddle. Included are unit overviews, differentiated learning activities, built in assessment and lesson plans
  Additional material for Year 3 (and available for each year) includes Busy Ant Maths - Progress Guide 3; Busy Ant Maths - Homework Guide 3 and Busy Ant Maths - Assessment Guide 3 My evaluation pack included a telling the time poster for Year 3 which covers all aspects of the topic. The series includes workbooks for each year group, one of which is reviewed at with our study guides. Teachers can access a wide range of resources through the.Collins Connect online learning platform. A truly comprehensive resource, remarkable for its complete support of the new curriculum.
Me and My World

I Want To Be An Artist from Me and My World

This is, quite simply, brilliant! As I unpacked the sturdy cotton bag, I felt a real sense of anticipation as more and more goodies came forth - so just imagine a child's excitement! The pack contains 12 Acrylic paints, small, medium and large paintbrushes, 4 small canvases, a heavy drill cotton apron, and 'Art Ideas' Book which will inspire and show children how to use different types of paints, pastels, inks and crayons. PLUS 'The Dragon Painter' Book, a lively retelling of a traditional Chinese story, in the 4 - 7 year olds set or Famous Paintings - cards about 30 of the World's most famous paintings and their artists - in the set for 7-11 year olds: Key to the philosophy of Me and My World is the fact that adults should engage with their children and share in the excitement of helping them to learn. The idea of having everything packaged together is great - it gives children a real sense of purpose as they use the elements together. Everything is of high quality and will provide many years of happy and productive use. I am really impressed - all the range is well worth taking a look; each set is packed with carefully selected resources to encourage children to explore and enjoy creative learning, with lots of stimulating ideas which will develop key skills in an enjoyable way as well as encouraging interaction with parents. Do take a look at Me and My World and browse through their full range; all the packs are exceptional and will really spark children's interest - there's something for all interests..
I want to be an artit

The Friendship Adventure: An Awareness of others programme, developing kindness, friendship and understanding by Hilary Hawkes

The Friendship Adventure is a project for children aged 7 to 11 in schools or children’s groups. It uses stories and the themes from those stories and links these with fun games, activities and project ideas to help children develop understanding and acceptance of differences in people and people’s lives. The Friendship Adventure’s aims are to help all children: develop understanding and acceptance of themselves as unique individuals; to value the diversity of people; to explore and develop the qualities of kindness, friendship and understanding - enhancing their own and others’ sense of self-esteem and confidence; develop values and behaviours that reduce the likelihood of bullying, exclusion of others and discriminatory views. The Friendship Adventure teaches awareness and acceptance of differences and uniqueness in people in groups, school, communities and the wider world in which we live with the intention that children will carry the promoted values of kindness, appreciation and understanding forward into their adult lives. The book came to me as part of a pack including 'Stories for Feelings for Children'.

Family Breakdown by Penelope Leach

This practical and detailed book is written for separating mothers and fathers, as well as others involved in the process of ensuring the best possible outcomes for children following separation. This book is full of ways to minimise the impact of separation and the options are here for parents to make their own choices. Of particular value are the personal experiences and insight into what children of different ages are likely to understand and feel about the process. The book is informative about many of the tough decisions that must be made, including legal and financial advice on those decisions. It's a comprehensive guide; not necessarily to be read from cover-to-cover but to be dipped into for specific information. It's valuable for everyone concerned, not just parents, and provides a good starting point for discussion and decision making, always putting the child's needs as priority. Some contentious issues are raised - it's up to the individual to make their own choices - every family is different.

Illuminate and Wondermaths: Gifted and Talented Maths

Meet the needs of your gifted and talented mathematicians through this 10 session course. Everything you need in a box. Are you looking for enrichment materials to extend and challenge your apprentice mathematicians? Whether you are a teacher, tutor or a home educating parent, The Maths Zone has two perfect maths courses available:
1. Wondermaths (KS2) 10 pupil course includes access to the support website with links to a fantastic range of activities, presentations used on the course and a blog (all password protected). See a Wondermaths sample here.
2. Illuminate (KS3) 10 pupil course, including CD Rom with all session, presentation files and access to a range of free maths games and activities.
Each course consists of: 10 fully prepared sessions designed to enrich and extend learning in maths;  a Teacher / Tutor Guide with all session outlines, activity sheets and Take Away puzzles for each lesson; 10 individual student workbooks. Each box contains some free additional resources needed to run the sessions: game cards, dice, counters etc
If you would like to find out more about how these courses can support you and your pupils/child, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
With so much teaching geared towards tests and to the achieving of targets, it can be hard for teachers to provide suitable work for their gifted and talented mathematicians - and that's where these excellent resources come in. They engage learners with the underlying ideas of mathematics; pattern, structure and proof.
Each course consists of 10 sessions of round 90 minutes each of which is composed of three sections; an opening activity to get students engaged, a main activity that explores the key idea and a take away puzzle to keep the thinking going. Teachers are always short of time and these courses enable them to offer their G&T students a range of stimulating and thought-provoking activities that will reinforce enthusiasm for maths.

The 7 Secrets of Raising Happy Eaters: Why French kids eat everything and how yours can too! by Karen Le Billon

This may be a book which doesn't have instant appeal - apart from the engaging title - but persevere and you will be well rewarded. For all parents who want to turn mealtimes from potential battlegrounds into relaxing - and healthy - times together, this is the book you need. Here are some of the secrets - you'll need to buy the book to learn the rest! Secret 1: Teach your child to eat, just like you teach them to read! Secret 6: 'Teach me to do it myself'. The book takes the reader through the process of taste training, including strategies, games and experiments that will encourage even reluctant eaters to branch out. There are more than 100 recipes located at the end of the book. Throughout the book, you will find games to increase the enjoyment of eating and it's good to see these are indexed at the beginning of the book so they can be found easily. There are plenty of real-life experiences - always reassuring for parents. A positive and empowering approach.

100 Geography Lessons: Planning Guide (100 Lessons - 2014 Curriculum)

The upcoming changes to the National Curriculum for Autumn 2014 mean that teachers will be seeking out resources to help them plan their lessons with the new requirements in hand. Scholastic have produced an extensive range of books to help teachers with this, of which this is just one example. Both subject coordinators and classroom teachers will appreciate the long- and medium-term planning and progression in this book, which is detailed and comprehensive. There is a clear overview with simple week-by-week breakdowns on creating units of work plus a CD-ROM full of editable planning grids. The A2 poster will be an asset to the staffroom. This highly successful series has sold over a million copies, showing how valuable it is for schools.

100 Ideas for Dads Who Love Their Kids but Find Them Exhausting by Willem Van Eekelen

Looking for a present for an exhausted dad? Then look no further! This intriguing book is packed with ideas to help dads entertain their kids with the minimum of effort. Written from a personal perspective, Willem gives every activity a suggested age range and provides tips and golden rules along the way. The book includes games for at home, in the car, at the park, in the pool, at the forest - pretty much anywhere where parents and children spend time together. We all know how important it is for parents to spend time with their children and here are plenty of ideas to help you enjoy that precious time.

Mindful Learning: Reduce Stress and Improve Brain Performance for Effective Learning by Craig Hassed and Richard Chambers

We all learn in different ways, and we can all benefit from different approaches. Even if we just take away some information we benefit, so this interesting book on Mindful Learning has something to offer everyone. Mindfulness is now being used in educational environments to benefit students in a variety of ways. In Mindful Learning, practical insights and exercises are given on how to successfully apply mindfulness in the educational setting, resulting in a book that clearly sets out how we can manage stress, improve performance and create better communication and relationships. It's a practical book which will interest teachers, counsellors, parents of school-age children, and students of any age.

Baby's First Skills by Miriam Stoppard

The learning that takes place during a baby's first year is quite phenomenal. This book shows how parents can enhance that learning through that most natural way - play. Each month has a Golden Hour of Play plan which suggests a range of activities appropriate for the age and how much time will provide the optimum results - of course, these are only guidelines and every parent will be guided by their child's reactions. Parents always want to know what their child should be doing at a certain age and the Baby Skill Map shows you how skills develop and how best to choose activities to develop skills. There are 48 suggested activities described, each with various play ideas. The book gives parents an excellent insight into what to expect (always remembering that no two children will develop in exactly the same way) and this understanding allows parents to help skills develop - at the same time, vital parent/child bonding will be taking place. Clearly written, well illustrated and full of practical advice; it will be especially welcomed by first time parents.

What Your Year 6 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a good year 6 education by E. D. Hirsch

I am full of enthusiasm for this series and it's excellent to see that all the primary years are now covered. We are so often asked what is expected of children in each year group. Of course, it is impossible to generalise and every child is different but these books give an excellent base to start from - it's up to parents to work out what suits their child and if you have these books to hand, you can work with your child at their level. This book gives your child a really broad grounding in all subjects and it is this range that is exceptional. Yes, it covers the essentials of English, maths and science but also geography, history, visual arts and music are given sizeable chapters, ensuring a well-balanced education for both home educators and children in schools. Topics are clearly explained with a wealth of visual material to aid learning. The inclusion of plenty of supporting material adds hugely to the value of the book - for example, extracts from literature, reproductions of paintings, biographies of relevant people and useful maps. These are all invaluable teaching aids, brought together to save busy parents searching far and wide as well as giving stimulating ideas for extension work. The maths section is clearly explained with plenty of practical examples. Throughout the book there is a huge range of high quality illustrative material and all-in-all, this is an excellent and comprehensive source of support for Year 6 work. Scroll down this page to see the rest of the series.

ToddlerCalm: A guide for calmer toddlers and happier parents by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

A title full of promise - and the book does not disappoint. Among the topics covered are sleep, picky eating, praise (and why it is not always a good thing), communication and being an individual. It does not take a rigid approach but the author appreciates that all children and situations are different; it is reassuring and non-judgmental and never leaves the reader feeling in the wrong or inadequate. A book designed to instill confidence in parents - one to have on hand, to dip into and take from it what works for you. 'Enjoy your toddler' is the positive message that comes across strongly in this practical book which is written with the benefit of real-life experience. It features plenty of quotes and actual experiences which reassure parents that they are not alone.

MOB Rule: Lessons Learned by a Mother Of Boys by Hannah Evans

This is a superb read for any mother of boys - and only boys - and who finds herself in a sometimes alien world. Hannah Evans has three boys and this is an uplifting and highly readable account of her life with them. Well written, totally honest and very down-to-earth, I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted account which will resonate with any mother living in a male dominated family. So often, I found myself identifying with the goings-on and it's always reassuring to know you are not alone! Supplemented by quizzes and tips which add another humorous dimension, it's a great look at family life. Take it on holiday for some light relief from family life.

Brilliant Activities to Stimulate Creative Thinking: Stretch Gifted and Talented Children - and Everyone Else - in Primary Schools by Will Hussey

Judging by the number of requests for help with creative thinking that we receive, it is an area where children really need help. Children all learn in different ways and this book approaches the subject through a series of varied challenges which will stimulate everyone, not just gifted and talented. It shows a real understanding of what motivates children and is written in a such an encouraging and enabling way that teachers will be fully confident to think 'outside the box' and try new ideas. The activities are short (10 to 15 minutes) and focused making an ideal start to the day or introduction to a lesson, to get children fired up and thinking creatively. No elaborate materials are needed so the teacher is ready to go with over 150 inspiring activities that can be used with children of all abilities. The activities may be photocopied by the purchasing institution and the pages are laid out to facilitate this - a nice practical touch.

Teaching Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Through Drama: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic Activities by Debbie Chalmers

Learning these vital topics can be done in more exciting ways than sitting still and working through exercises. This book takes a much more interesting approach - one that will engage children and give them a wide range of experiences which will reinforce learning and ensure facts are memorised . Children need to learn key facts, of course, but this innovative and dynamic approach takes these key topics and suggests a learning activity to support each topic. The activities are clearly explained and do not rely on a complex range of support materials - the children themselves are the most vital element. All abilities can work together on these ideas and they will suit mixed-age classes too. The children will enjoy the inter-activity with each other and the less confident child will not feel overwhelmed. An innovative approach with many possibilities.

What Your Year 5 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 5 Education by E. D. Hirsch

This is a truly excellent series, both for home educators who want to ensure they cover everything in the curriculum as well as for parents who want to know what is being taught in school. Like the others in the series, the focus on English is exceptional, with a wide range of all kinds of texts to share with children as well as a section on language. The maths section is equally comprehensive and is usefully divided into 7 key areas. There are many maths and English books around but the inclusion of history, geography, visual arts, music and of course science, provide a really well-rounded curriculum. Everything is explained clearly , there are plenty of illustrations to support learning and the colour coding makes finding resources easier. Especially interesting are the boxes which refer back to work studied in previous books - excellent for revision (assuming that you have, of course, got all the books!). There are also useful boxes which cross-reference between topics and these help to inter-relate learning. Perhaps unexpectedly, I find that all the books in the series are really interesting reads for anyone - learn about literature, brush up your history or try some practical craft activities.  It is important to remember that, while this book is an excellent resource to see what the general expectation is at Year 5, every child is different and it is up to the parent or teacher to decide what is appropriate; by all means take this as a guide but choose work appropriate for your child - a child can be above average in one subject but need a little extra help with another. A worthwhile investment for everyone who wants to support their child's learning.

The New Granny's Survival Guide: Everything you need to know to be the best gran foreword by Janet Ellis

The stereotype of grannies has changed - now over half the grandparents in the UK are aged under 65. Grandparents today have their own rich fulfilling lives of which grandchildren are one part. Not only that, but parenting has changed enormously since we were parents and as grandparents it is vital that we understand that.This enlightening book is full of sanity-saving advice from Gransnet - even if we think we know it all and have read all there is, every book has new things to learn and this book is no exception with its practical guidance, hilarious insights and fresh ideas.It's a collection of advice from those who know - real life grannies who write from their own experience and that shines through in the way the book is written. Covering many topics from the very early days, to entertaining the grandchildren and on to difficult situations, there is something for everyone. An excellent book which would make a great gift for all grandparents-to-be.

100 Maths Lessons: Planning Guide (100 Lessons - 2014 Curriculum) from Scholastic

With the forthcoming changes to the National Curriculum, teachers will find this series invaluable in preparing for these. The book contains long and medium term planning for years 1 to 6, carefully matched to the new curriculum.The medium term planning links each topic to its curriculum objectives which are clearly bullet pointed. In addition, key maths concepts for each year are outlined; there is a year-by-year overview of the progress expected and the background knowledge needed. The mixed age planning is a useful section as so many schools have mixed age classes. Included is a CD-ROM packed with interactive activities and photocopiable resources which can be customised to your school. A straightforward, no-nonsense approach which gives a firm foundation for all primary maths planning.

100 English Lessons: Planning Guide (100 Lessons - 2014 Curriculum) from Scholastic

This book is laid out in a similar way to the maths one and has all its attributes. The medium term planning is broken down week-by-week and this enables teachers (and especially subject co-ordinators) to have a clear and simple overview. It's not daunting - the layout is clear and easy to follow and makes the subject easily manageable. For each year, there is a breakdown of the areas of grammar to be learnt  and the table at the end of the book provides an excellent quick reference year-by-year. The A2 poster which is included in each book is an excellent staffroom resource, giving a quick reference point. This series is a stalwart of Scholastic's lists, with more than a million sold in 15 years - quite an accolade - and these updated versions are set to continue the popularity. Teachers can view sample resources at

Brilliantly Behaved Toddler (50 Things You Really Need to Know) by Lorraine Thomas

50 bite-sized chapters from a parenting coach cover the most trying situations that a parent and toddler are ever likely to meet - including mealtimes, sleeping, toilet training and supermarket tantrums. The brevity of the chapters is perfect - what busy parent of a toddler has time to plough through pages of advice? Just a few pages plus an activity box to help parents gauge their progress and see results as they move forward. while informative narrative and quotes from childcare experts guide and equip them with the techniques they need to feel happy and confident in their parenting skills; confidence really is the key issue here as toddlers always pick up on any uncertainly or inconsistency so the reassurance this book builds is valuable.

Super Bright Baby (50 Things You Really Need to Know) by John Farndon

Again, this is a succinct and easy-to-read book which covers life from pregnancy to becoming a toddler. It includes strategies bonding, intelligence-building play and teaching children to read and these can be used throughout a baby's development. There's a very useful timeline covering learning and growing milestones - parents always want to know where their children are developmentally. The scientific facts for each topic are a good background and bring authority, and quotes from leading childcare experts are always valuable and useful.

Rapid Writing: Stage 3 Teaching Guide by Dee Reid and Diana Bentley

Rapid Writing is a collection of resources designed for SEN and Struggling Learners at KS2 (working at P8 to 3C) and is proven to double pupils' normal rate of writing progress. It  is created by expert authors, ensuring that all areas are covered and, most of all, it’s designed to be fun, so your children will develop a love for writing which will permeate all aspects of their learning. This book includes a comprehensive overview of Rapid Writing and explains how to use it. There are 30 units which include writing tasks, check points, assessment and revision. It's a comprehensive and valuable resource with many stimulating writing ideas.

Grammar and Punctuation (The Primary Teachers Guide) by Sebastien Melia

English grammar and punctuation - we all need it and we all need to use it correctly. This book covers sentence types, clauses, word classes, complex and compound sentences and punctuation, providing valuable background information to enable primary teachers to teach English grammar and punctuation with confidence, even if they feel they were not taught the principles themselves. The SPAG test at the end of Year 6 means pupils need to be secure in their knowledge therefore teachers need the support a book like this gives to be confident that they are teaching to the best of their ability. Everything is clearly explained, with plenty of examples and key features highlighted - teaching ideas, why we need to know, subject facts and many more interesting points.

H is for Hummus: A Modern Parent's ABC by Joel Rickett

An ABC book with a difference - this is a witty take on modern-day parenting. From A for app, au pair, active birthing and aromatherapy to Z for zumba and zzzz this is the perfect book to relax with after a stressful day parenting. The bright pictures will appeal to children too although the subtlety of at least some of the humour will be beyond them. An entertaining tongue-in-cheek look at parenthood - keep it by the bed to send you off to sleep in a good humour!

Foundation Blocks for the Early Years - Physical Development: With Expressive Arts and Design by Maureen Warner

A clear and comprehensive guide with one easy-to-follow activity to each page. Resource lists, learning objectives, how to carry out the activity and extension activities are included for each topic. We all know how important physical activity is and the book gives plenty of ideas for indoors and out plus links to other areas of the curriculum; it goes on to cover health and eating, ensuring young children are given good lessons right from the start.  The second part of the book, Expressive Arts and Design, gives children the opportunity to explore different media and to extend their creative abilities. The table of learning opportunities at the end is excellent for helping busy teachers with planning and recording. Full of ideas, this is an excellent resource. Covering the new EYFS Framework, this series is written by experienced practitioners - other titles include Personal, Social and Emotional Development with Understanding the World and Mathematics and Communication and Language With Literacy September 2012).

Bad Teacher: Hilarious tales of staff misbehaving by Jenny Crompton

Who'd have believed it? This is a hilarious collection of stories about staff getting up to no good which will have you wondering just what goes on in schools - not just in this country, but around the world. There's the teacher who didn't notice some of his class had been locked in the cupboard by the class bullies; the teacher who posted her real thoughts about her students on her blog; on the annual report of a persistent truant: "Who?" and many more which will have you laughing out loud - or trembling in fear for the future of our young people!!! Illustrated with equally amusing cartoons, this is a fun read.

CRAMES by Ashley McCabe Mowat

Subtitled Creative Games to Help Children Learn to Think and Problem Solve (in Only 5 Minutes a Day!)this is an inspiring read which is packed with simple ideas that are easy to implement at home or in the classroom. Designed to help children think creatively and to solve problems, the book is divided into what if?; give me five; flow; link; stance balance perception; invent and improve. Each section tackles different thinking and reasoning skills with suggestions and questions to pose to students. Designed for ages 5 to 11, I think it could be used with a wider age range as everyone will come up with ideas according to their maturity. An interesting book and one which helps develop vital skills. Try the sample questions at

A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen: 100 Poems for Schools ed by Celia Warren

Themed around the famous verse from Ecclesiastes -There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven - this is a thoughtful and wide ranging collection which introduces both old favourites and new poems. The 100 poems, representing 70+ poets from Christina Rossetti to Roger McGough, reflect with thoughtfulness, candour and humour on the contrasting themes of the verses that inspired them. "As a collection, the poems will improve children's phonic awareness and fluency as readers; encourage children to appreciate the richness and variety of poetry; provide opportunities for discussion, reading aloud and performing poetry and encourage emotional literacy as children encounter the varied 'seasons' of life." That's an ambitious outcome but with the aid of the Teacher's Guide (below), it can become reality with this carefully selected collection of poems which offers something for everyone and is an excellent introduction for children to the wonderful world of verse.

A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen Teacher's Guide by Celia Warren

Poetry is wonderful but not always easy to get pupils to engage with it. The combination of the poetry collection (above) and this Teacher's Guide supports teachers as they read and explore with world of poetry. In particular, it gives assistance as teachers strive to meet the new demands of the English curriculum, which stresses the value of reading and discussing poetry and learning it by heart. The guide includes a set of concise teaching notes for every item in the anthology; specific guidance to help the teacher read each poem for maximum impact; theme-based assemblies, including families, self-belief and appreciating others and photocopy masters to support the activities described. It really is a wide ranging resource and I particularly like the inclusion of assembly ideas so pupils get the opportunity to express what they have learnt. Each poem has a page of lesson ideas - a summary; how to read it aloud and a section which homes in on the emotions of the poem to aid children's understanding. An excellent resource.

What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 4 Education by E D Hirsch

Like all the preceding books in the series, this contains a huge amount of well-rounded and balanced information that should be at the heart of every child's learning. Home educators, especially, will find this book invaluable in helping them provide a well-rounded curriculum. Parents of children in school will find this an excellent basis for understanding what is being taught and it will also enable them to give their children experiences and knowledge outside the limits of the National Curriculum. A particular feature is the emphasis on subjects not normally covered, such as Visual Arts and Music. I also like the inclusion of extensive extracts in the literature section - ideal for whetting the appetite for further reading. The information is clearly presented, highly readable and well illustrated - a real pleasure to read. Other reviews I have read of the series express concern that the information given is too prescriptive, but like everything else in life, you need to take what you want - in the case of these books, use the book for reference, find out what the expectations are and adapt to suit your child. The information is valuable and comprehensive and there is something here for everyone to benefit from. Highly recommended.

The Essential Guide to Children and Separation: Surviving Divorce And Family Break-Up (Essential Guides) by Jennifer Croly

Not a subject we like to think about but sadly a situation which is becoming increasingly common, so this down-to-earth look at the situation will be well received. We all, parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, teachers, youth workers and counsellors, need to know how to support children through the divorce process and in the years that follow. Each child will react differently, but some issues are common to all: the need to be listened to, coping with the grief that follows the destruction of the original family unit; having divided loyalties, dealing with the organisation necessary when a child has two homes; coming to terms with step-parents and step-families. This book is written with personal and professional insight, and also contains interviews with children who have gone through the adjustment process. It sheds light, brings hope and encouragement to anyone who is trying to help children through one of the most difficult of life's experiences.

Spelling Teacher's Guide by Carol Matchett

Using this Teacher's Guide will add enormously to the value of the six books in the series for pupils and covers Years 1 to 6. It suggests how best to introduce each learning point or 'focus'; clarifies the detail of the focus and exactly what should be taught and provides activities to reinforce and help children to remember spellings. There are a vast number of ideas here and each page of the pupil books has its own section including focus, teach, practise, apply and assess suggestions. These ensure that teachers gain maximum teaching value from the books, giving their pupils the best possible opportunity to reinforce learning. The six pupil books are reviewed on our Schofield and Sims page.

Spelling Teacher's Resource Book by Carol Matchett

This book includes resources for revision and extension work; reminders and prompts - which encourage pupils to use spelling strategies when writing and assessment and record-keeping resources to support on-going and periodic assessment - busy teachers who have to keep many records will particularly welcome this! Together, the eight books in this excellent series provide a really comprehensive resource for classroom use, giving teachers the reassurance that they are teaching all the required spelling patterns in a logical order and giving plenty of ideas to increase learning.

Sticking Up for Siblings: Who's Deciding the Size of Britain's Families? by Colin Brazier

This is a book which sparks an interesting and potentially controversial debate. An interesting statistic - children without siblings in this country are almost twice as commonplace as they were a generation ago. Many people put this down to the cost of raising children but is this really the case? And what are the consequences? The book explores whether there is a cost for parents, society and children themselves and "explains how recent shifts in academic thought are consistently showing a brother or sister to be a potentially powerful vector for social adjustment, moral capital, emotional intelligence, and even exam performance. Just as unexpected is the growing body of evidence revealing that a sibling can have a positive impact on a child's resistance to allergies, obesity, depression and family crises".

A Contented House with Twins by Gina Ford and Alice Beer

Twins - it can seem a daunting prospect when you first learn you are expecting twins (as I well know from personal experience!) and to be able to turn to books like this is hugely reassuring. Alice Beer is the mother of twins, so the book draws on her personal experiences, combined with Gina Ford's extensive experience and knowledge. The book covers what to expect in a twin pregnancy; establishing feeding and sleeping routines; and coping with the practicalities of everyday life. As with all books on parenting, the best thing you can do is read all you like, absorb the information and then use what applies to your situation and what works best for you. It's always great to learn about other people's experiences and this is an interesting book to read with lots of practical advice.

Divas & Dictators: The Secrets to Having a Much Better Behaved Child by Charlie Taylor

The cover picture of two children bouncing on their parents' bed will strike a chord with many exhausted parents! This is a practical handbook based on personal experiences, full of straightforward techniques to help you improve your child's behaviour. As well as the practical ideas that every parent can apply, the book helps an understanding of why children act as they do and helps parents understand their thinking. The author emphasis praise strongly throughout the book - and we all know that, adult and child alike, we respond well to praise. The book is easy to read and full of case studies which reassure parents that the ideas really will work.

How to Raise a Happy Toddler by Tizzie Hall

A comprehensive book on all aspects of childcare between one and three years, including the key issues of sleeping and potty training. The book includes: Solutions to common sleep problems and advice on the transition from cot to bed; Dealing with tantrums and introducing boundaries; Advice on potty training for boys and girls; Answers to common health concerns and safety issues With real-life case studies, answers to common questions and brilliant tips, this is an excellent book to help you enjoy these all-important years. The practical advice covers all the key areas for toddlers, written with a real awareness of the fact that not all children are the same.

BMA When Your Child is Ill: A Home Guide for Parents (BMA Family Doctor) by Bernard Valman

This is a brand-new edition of a tried and trusted favourite. A well laid out book, quick and easy to refer to even when you are in a bit of a panic because your child is ill - but take a bit of time out when you get the book to familiarise yourself with the contents. Comprehensive question-and-answer charts help you make informed decisions about your child's health and give the confidence to know when to visit a doctor or hospital - always a tricky one. The flow-charts are especially good for an easy overview of problems, and I like the fact there are different flow charts depending on the age of your child. The First Aid advice is bang up-to-date and specially tailored for children. This edition is fully revised and follows the National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines. A reassuring book for every family to own.

Train Your Brain to be a Genius from Dorling Kindersley

An ambitious title, but one that is well covered with Dorling Kindersley's well-renowned approach. The book is highly visual and packs in a huge amount of information. Find out about some of the greatest brains in history - including Darwin, Gandhi and Mozart. The book includes a series of brain-boggling puzzles, games and optical illusions that'll sharpen wits and fine-tune the brain; the reader will learn just how the brain works and how to maximise its potential. The puzzles are hugely varied and some are really quite challenging; the book is divided into different types of thinking and reasoning skills so everyone can look for what most interests them.

Grandparent's Survival Guide to Child Care by Sheila Marlin and Dr Lis Paice

It is becoming increasingly common for grandparents to take on some care of their grandchildren, whether for a day or two a week or all the weekdays. This inevitably raises many concerns - how much can I manage and can I manage two children, how do I entertain my grandchild, how much have things changed and what do I need. How will I fill the day if the child is bored? Can I cope with two children at a time? What about all these new theories I hear about, how can I get up to date? What equipment will I need to buy, and who should pay for it? Written by a doctor and a Montessori teacher both with extensive experience as grandparents themselves, this book answers all those questions and many more you may not even have thought of - I was pleasantly surprised by the huge amount of detail included. Caring for grandchildren can have a huge impact on everyday life and this practical guide gives reassuring answers and ensures that caring for grandchildren is fun and offers huge benefits for all the family.

Ages 7-9 (Real Life Maths) by Paul Hollin

Children enjoy learning so much more when they see a purpose to their learning and this book on Real Life Maths gives them just that. There are 10 engaging and age appropriate scenarios which link maths to other areas of the curriculum - they include Pizza Please!, School Sports Day and Mr Wolf's DIY Shop. Each scenario includes background notes and rules, varied resources, activity sheets and suggestions for follow on activities: whiteboard support and differentiated activities are included, making this a very comprehensive resource. A CD accompanies the book. An excellent series - also available Ages 9-11 (Real Life Maths) and Ages 5-7 (Real Life Maths)

Being a New Dad (Complete Idiot's Guides) by Joe Kelly

The latest title in this tried and trusted series focuses on new dads and what they can expect. There are plenty of books around for first-time mums, so it's good to see a book which will appeal to dads with its respected and readable format. It's a clear and helpful guide presented in a way to appeal to dads, and a book they won't be embarrassed to be seen reading! It is presented in three sections - Spring Training, The Opening Day and First Season. The downside of this book is that it is American, so some of the terms and settings will be unfamiliar - but the basic advice is universal!

Mothers Raising Sons: No-nonsense rules to stay sane and raise happy boys by Nigel Latta

A practical, no-nonsense guide to raising boys which shouldn't just be read by mothers - fathers too need insight into what makes boys 'tick'. The book takes the reader from tantrum-prone toddlers right up to troublesome teens, discussing common concerns such as behaviour, communication and learning. The writing style is entertaining and makes for a good read, so the reader will enjoy the book as well as going away with lots of useful tips - tips which will come back to mind at a later date when they are needed. Written with great insight, it's well worth a read even if you think you don't need it - there are times when we do all need good advice to fall back on.

Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Dr. Lesley Regan

Well-informed mums-to-be can make the best decisions when they have accurate and reliable information. Not actually arranged week-by-week, but in sections covering weeks 0-6, 6-10, 10-13, 13-17, 17-21, 21-26, 26-30, 30-35 and 35-40, this comprehensive book covers all the key information needed for each group of weeks. As well, there is general information about pregnancy plus sizeable sections on labour and the first few weeks - so much, much more than the title indicates. Very easy to read, yet authoritative - the author is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Potential problems are not glossed over, but covered in a practical and reassuring way which informs and advises, enabling the reader to make the right choices and seek advice. As we expect from DK, the book is copiously illustrated, with photos and diagrams, and appealingly presented - a lovely gift for a mum-to-be.

Letterland - Learn to Read and Write

Many children use Letterland at school, playgroup or nursery and the memorable and well-loved characters have helped many children to take their first steps in reading - my own children still remember them well! You can give your child a head start with this succinct and clearly written guide - just sharing books with your child is the first step. Speaking and listening are the first skills covered, then shapes and sounds, and making words. There are lots of fun activities included plus links to over 50 free online resources, which are excellent to develop learning in an enjoyable way. The Letterland letter sounds and shapes are included, as is a useful glossary and those all-important High Frequency Words. A useful, practical and straightforward book which makes learning fun.

Pregnancy For Men: 101 Tips by Mark Woods

Dads - don't be left out! Find out what your partner is going through and how you can help her in this interesting little book. Just straightforward facts, allowing you to find out what you really need to know without ploughing through lots of information. It's practical but it's also funny, so dads won't find it a chore to read but a pleasure. There are many more than 101 tips, as each topic has three or four tips and they make fascinating reading. A super gift for a dad-to-be.

Babies & Toddlers for Men: 101 Tips by Mark Woods

Again, there are far more than 101 tips - there are 101 categories ranging from nappy changing to sleeplessness to potty training. All presented with a twist of humour that makes reading a pleasure as well as very enlightening. Buy this as a gift for a father-to-be along with Pregnancy for Men and they will know what to expect!

Word Cards from Letterland

This bright pack of durable cards is an ideal way to develop word recognition skills. There are 78 generously sized cards - three for each a-z letter sound. The double-sided cards feature a bright picture and word featuring the familiar Letterland pictograms on one side and the corresponding plain word on the other. There are helpful suggestions included within the pack, including how to recognise the decodable words, which are identified with a star, and plenty of games to play. You could also use the appropriate cards eg window to display in the appropriate place in your child's bedroom or around the house. The possibilities are almost endless!

Letterland Cookbook

At first glance, I thought this might be a little contrived, as it has a recipe for each letter. But not at all - it works really well and there are plenty of different approaches within each page, all based on the appropriate letter. Of course, the recipes are the main thing and they are clear and easy to follow and focus strongly on healthy food. Each has the level of difficulty indicated, plus timings. One benefit of using recipes to to help children learn to follow instructions. The additional activities will encourage literacy, and hopefully you and your child can go food shopping together to further extend learning.

Letterland Things to Make and Do

Each of the much-loved Letterland characters is here with a fun activity for children to enjoy. The  activities are simple to follow and teach basic craft skills. And while they are having fun, children are learning plenty of other skills which will help their literacy develop.  There are sentences to read aloud to reinforce the letters and at the end of the book, parents will appreciate the extra ideas for developing speaking and listening skills. A lovely way to extend the value of the Letterland characters and concept.

Understanding Myths and Legends by Karen Moncrieffe

27 stories from around the world, which will give an excellent basis for classroom work in history, RE and literacy. Children love the excitement of these exciting stories, with giants, monsters and gods and goddesses. Each story is retold, with an illustration, and followed by a range of activities using a variety of question types to test comprehension  - we are always being asked for interesting comprehension resources and this book makes a refreshing change. Every story includes background information so teachers can explain the context of the story to their class and a range of follow-up activities to support learning and understanding of life in ancient times. Myths and legends have a vital part to play in our culture and a book like this does an excellent job of introducing them to children.

Brilliant Activities for Gifted and Talented Children -That Other Children Will Love Too by Ashley McCabe Mowat

An excellent resource to help teachers provide plenty of differentiated activities and for parents who wish to stretch their children and unlock their potential. Suitable for children of 6+, it is certainly not only for G&T children. A book full of ideas for classroom activities for ages 6 and up. One of the most important things children can learn is how to think and reason and these activities will certainly promote that aspect of learning.  The book starts by introducing and explaining Bloom's Taxonomy. The activities are wide-ranging, from brain teasers that can take just minutes, to activities that can take several days. There are many different ideas related to each topic and they can be undertaken by individuals or groups. They are all activities that children will enjoy and can used as a springboard for yet further learning.

Brilliant Stories for Assemblies by Paul Urry

Teachers are always on the lookout for good resources for assemblies and this really lives up to its title - Brilliant! There are over 60 stories suitable for KS2, divided into four sections - Cultural stories; Religious stories from the six main religions; Moral stories;  Historical stories. A natural storyteller, Paul Urry has created a captivating range of stories which cover all times of year and specific issues which may arise during the year, for example bullying and racism - these could be used in a classroom situation too. After each story, there is a question (or questions) for discussion. A very useful resource for the busy teacher and excellent for the staffroom, especially if called on to take an assembly at short notice.

21st Century Girls by Sue Palmer

This is an in-depth scholarly work which provides a fascinating look at the way girls grow up and develop in our modern era, and the high demands which are placed on them from an early age. Today, children are expected to grow up very quickly - it seems that childhood becomes shorter and shorter and yet it is essential to gain maturity to handle situations. The book postulates that we devote plenty of attention to physical maturity while emotional maturity is being overlooked. Sue Palmer believes that if we don't get a grip on this problem soon, the increase in developmental disorders, behavioural difficulties and mental health problems recorded by experts over recent decades will soon roll out of control. It's definitely thought-provoking and a topic not to be taken lightly.

What Your Year 3 Child Needs to Know ed by E D Hirsch

This really is turning into an invaluable series. They are for everyone, whether home educating or with children in school, who wants to know what their child should be learning in each primary school year. Language and literature, the arts, history and geography, maths and science are all covered. The topic could be dry and boring - but far from it. The writing style is lively and engaging and the book is full of illustrations cartoons and practical examples. The references back to earlier books are a useful feature for consolidation. Not just what you should cover, but plenty of teaching material as well, for example poems and extracts from books, mean this book is a great resource to use through the year. Don't be intimidated -  you can dip into this and use just what you need - it's simple to navigate and full of practical advice. Don't feel you have to follow it to the letter - every child is an individual. An excellent buy - highly recommended.

Sleep Solutions: Quiet Nights For You And Your Child: From Birth To Five Years by Rachel Waddilove

What parent could resist? Nearly all parents experience sleepless nights; of course we expect that with a new baby and when the little one is ill or teething but this book shows that endless sleepless nights do not have to be an inevitable part of being a parent.  Based on practical experience, Rachel shows how it is possible to gradually train your baby to sleep longer each night. Parents tell us what did and didn't work for them and what help they found was available. Night terrors, sleep-walking, and other common sleep-related issues are also covered.We all know that sleeplessness takes its toll, so these ideas are well worth a try for the benefit of all your family. It's a practical and accessible book, full of reassurance.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: Parenting wisdom from around the world by Mei-Ling Hopgood

A fascinating insight into child-rearing methods from around the world. Of course, they may not all be to our Western taste, but there is something to be learnt from every idea. You will be amazed to learn that Peruvians manage without pushchairs; that many Chinese babies are potty trained at about a year; why Asians are so far ahead in school, and much more. This is not just a collection of snippets - each topic merits a full chapter and it makes fascinating reading, whether or not you want to try the ideas for yourself. By understanding why these methods work, we can all take away some helpful information.

Weather (Activities for 3-5 Year Olds) by Caroline Quin and Sue Pearce

For full reviews of all the books in  this series from Brilliant Books, see Foundation-Stage-for-teachers . The activities are designed to develop important preschool skills and they link to the Foundation Stage curriculum. All of the play activities are designed to develop important preschool skills and positive relationships and are linked to the Early Learning Goals of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, revised by the Department of Education for September 2012. The series also includes Water, Shopping, Pets, Food, Families, Colours, All About Us, Gardening and Caring and Sharing.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish 

A fresh new edition of this excellent parenting guide. We all have times when we think our children just aren't listening to us - but perhaps we aren't talking to them in the right way. This book is packed full of advice on how to handle lots of common situations that occur in the home. There are practical exercises to do which are an excellent way of stopping and thinking about how our words come across. The book includes ways to help with negative feelings, how to express feelings and gain your child's cooperation and how to resolve conflicts. This edition is packed with new information - the letters from parents who have successfully used the book makes excellent reading. The use of cartoon illustrations breaks up the text and increases the readability of this book. The authors suggest reading a chapter at a time and applying what is learnt before going on, which is excellent advice.

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Dr Richard Ferber

We are all used to the fact that babies don't sleep and that is something new parents accept, but this practical book will help parents (New and experienced)  understand how to help their baby sleep better. When toddlers and older children don't have a good sleep pattern, that can become a real issue - that is why it is so good to see a book which gives help with developing good sleep patterns throughout childhood. This is a comprehensive book, perfect to dip into to resolve specific sleep problems. Starting with babies, Dr Ferber gives reassuring advice on routines, how to help your baby settle himself, and day and night time sleeping. Case studies and simple methods to improve sleep are helpful. Common behaviours in older children are discussed and practical and reassuring guidance given. I particularly like the fact that the contents page lists sub-headings for chapters, so it is easy to find advice on specific concerns. An excellent book - well worth a read.

A Funny Kind of Education by Ross Mountney

Ross Mountney's children were struggling at school - they were not enjoying learning and it seemed as though the life was being crushed out of them. So she and her husband made the momentous decision to home educate. This is her story - the excitement, panic and hilarity of home schooling life; a story which may change your view of education forever. There is joy, there is also sadness but most of all there is realism - this 'tells it like it is' and the book will give invaluable insights to those already on the home educating path and to those considering it - and also to those who judge others. A thought-provoking book which challenges pre-conceived ideas on home education, and brings a whole new perspective to the topic. Written with touches of humour, it is eminently readable and highly recommended.

Learning Without School by Ross Mountney

Many would like to home educate but wonder if they have the necessary skills to do so - this is a practical guide for those parents. This book explains what home education is and its pros and cons. There is practical guidance on how to begin home educating and what you need to do. Many are concerned about how home education affects children's social skills and friendships - there is a really practical chapter on this. It also covers technical aspects, such as the curriculum, core subjects, exams and timetables. Best of all - this book is written based on personal experience, so you know the ideas are tried and tested. Children with learning difficulties are not forgotten either. Different options are given so the reader can select what works best for them - the book is not preachy but practical and realistic.It is a reassuring book for those who home educate and an enlightening one for those who don't. An excellent read.

Baby-Led Breastfeeding by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

How To Make Breastfeeding Work With Your Baby's Help - I like the subtitle of this book, which really highlights the fact that breastfeeding is a joint exercise. This is a straightforward and reassuring guide which takes away much of the mystique around the topic and puts the emphasis back on it being a natural process. A scan of the contents page shows that all the key questions new mothers have are addressed. The content is practical and easy-to-read, both to dip into and to read right through. Topics are covered in depth and the book will be an excellent resource for professionals as well as mums - and new dads can also gain a good understanding of this important issue. The addition of a section of colour photos is an unexpected but valuable bonus.

First Aid for Babies and Children Fast from DK

From first aid essentials to life-saving procedures, this succinct book gives you the knowledge you need instantly if a baby or child falls ill or gets hurt. Written in association with British Red Cross, you know you can rely on this book. User-friendly step-by-steps tell you how to treat babies and children for more than 100 medical conditions and injuries from minor cuts and burns to meningitis and asthma attacks. The photos of First Aid procedures give an excellent visual reference.  I think the best thing about this book is how easy it is to find the information you need, and then how simple it is to follow - the last thing you want when you are in a panic over an accident or illness is to plough through reams of irrelevant information. The colour coding helps quick reference. Ideal to have in the home, at nursery, playgroup - anywhere with young children, in fact.

BabyCalm by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

'A Guide for Calmer Babies and Happier Parents' - what parent of a new born will be able to resist dipping into a book with such a promise? This is not a prescriptive book, but one that you can dip into and pick up the ideas you think might work with your child. It is reassuring and supportive and encourages that parents to rely on their own instincts as they know their own baby best. The main emphasis is on sleep, but feeding is also included. Sarah Ockwell-Smith is very experienced, and that experience is reflected in this book. It is readable, contains plenty of personal experiences, is practical and very supportive for new parents. I recommend reading it before your new baby arrives.

A Parent's Survival Guide to Music Lessons by Elizabeth Lawrence

Confused about the right instrument for your child? Don't know how to go about finding a teacher? Parents have many questions when considering music lessons for their child and more so, perhaps, if they did not learn an instrument themselves. Whether or not that is the case, this excellent book will guide you through all the things you need to know. Music is so important and a wonderful way for children to escape from the stresses of academic work, so do encourage them. The book is written in a friendly approachable style and the instrument factfiles are especially useful as they discuss each instrument from the viewpoint of learners, not just a technical description. Practice, exams, instrument care and performing are all covered and there are plenty of photos to help choices. An excellent practical guide and ideal for music teachers to show to parents.

The Day-by-Day Baby Book edited by Dr Ilona Bendefy

There are so many baby books on the market that it can be hard to choose - but here is a comprehensive book that covers almost any question new parents will have. After an introductory section on baby care, it takes you through that all-important first year literally day-by-day, as well as covering key issues (for example crying and weaning) in two page 'Spotlight' sections. Lavishly illustrated with photos, this is perfect for both new and experienced mums. Don't be overwhelmed by the vast array of information - take it day-by-day, or use the extensive index to search for key topics. Written by a team of experts, you can be sure this is information on which you can rely. It's a reassuring book which will make a great gift for all new mums. It really is a definitive guide.

What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know edited by E D Hirsch

Following the success of the book covering Year 1, Year 2 is an equally comprehensive look at the curriculum for the year. The series answers a question common to many parents, who are bewildered by the curriculum and want to know exactly what should be covered each year, whether they are home educating or their child is in school. By far the biggest section is Language and Literature which has an extensive and very useful selection of texts in  a variety of genres; surprisingly, maths is much smaller. History and geography, Visual Arts, Music and Science are also included - it's excellent to see guidance for these oft-overlooked subjects The book is packed with supporting activities, which are clearly explained and fun to do. The presentation is excellent - it is very readable and approachable, either to read through or to dip into as the occasion calls (better still, do both, so you have read the book and know how it can help when a specific topic arises). The colourful illustrations add to the appeal and there are also extra resources listed. An excellent support for children in Year 2.

A Parent's Survival Guide to Starting School by Kirstine Beeley

The author is both an ex-primary school teacher and parent of a five year old, so this practical guide views the topic from the two key perspectives. Parents have many questions before their child starts school, and they don't always know where to go for answers - this practical and easy to read guide is an excellent starting point. It's slim size belies the amount of information included and it is also unexpectedly full of good colour photos - the presentation is more that of a glossy hardback, so it's a pleasure to read. There's helpful advice on preparing your child for school (academically and emotionally), help on choosing schools and practical help on supporting learning. This is a book to keep by you for many years, as the 'DOs and DONTs will be really valuable throughout primary school. A reassuring read, packed with advice and information. Highly recommended.

Preschool Choices - A Parent's Guide by Hilary Hawkes

Another practical and informative guide from Need2Know Books. Initially, I expected a book on choosing early schooling, but it is far more than that. Parents face many choices in their child's early years and the choices they make influence their child's development, so informed choices are vital. The book explains how children learn and what influences their learning, enabling parents to do their best. Early chapters focus on the importance of play at home and how parents can encourage the development of early learning skills. It continues with advice on finding outside groups and activities and goes on to childcare and nursery education. There is a very useful section on organisations relevant to the age group. Lots to think about and to help parents in this useful book.

The 3-Day Nanny by Kathryn Mewes 

Subtitled Simple 3-Day Solutions for Sleeping, Eating, Potty Training and Behaviour Challenges. A combination of old-fashioned advice from a nanny Extraordinaire coupled with modern parenting ideas means this book combines the best of both worlds. This is an eminently readable book, starting with two chapters about successful parenting and the principles behind her plans, followed by three chapters for different age groups and one for potty training, is ideal for dipping in and out of. As with all books of this type, some of the advice will work for and suit some parents; other ideas won't - it's ultimately up to you, as parents, to take the good ideas that work for you and the benefit of any book is the variety of choices you are given. A real benefit of this book is the advice given for older children - just because a child passes the stage of baby doesn't mean the problems end!

The Contented Mother's Guide: Gina Ford

Subtitled Essential advice to help you be a happy, calm and confident mother this is full of reassuring advice for all mums, experienced or new. Love her or hate her, there is no doubt that Gina Ford has a huge following and has garnered much respect. Here Gina has worked with her enthusiastic online community of mothers to distil the best advice on being a contented mum - because contented mums are more likely to have contented babies. The approach is wider than many books, helping new mums to build positive relationships, enjoying outings and holidays, and plan whether to return to work - all explained by personal experiences.

Eating for Two: The complete guide to nutrition during pregnancy and beyond by Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel - a name which has become synonymous with recipes and nutritional advice for young families. With so much conflicting advice, mums-to-be are really anxious about doing the very best for their unborn baby. This practical guide enables them to be sure that they are doing their best, with easy-to-follow recipes that provide all the essential nutrients as well as being great for families. There is advice for each of the three trimesters, and sections on various food groups. The recipes are easy to follow, but some do require rather a long list of ingredients! The photography is mouth-watering and I think this is great as a family cookbook after pregnancy too.

The Parent's Guide to Self-Harm: What Parents Need to Know by Jane Smith

This is a really difficult and sensitive subject to handle, but with the problem on the rise, it is vital for parents and teachers to have an understanding of the issue and the problem it brings. The wealth of experiences shared in this book from other parents make it particularly useful and will reassure parents that they are not alone. Parents are helped to identify the problem; to know how to approach their young person; where to go for help and how other parents have coped. Factual and non-sensational, the book is written by an expert in supporting parents. I like the way that many topics are addressed in the form of questions asked by parents.

Creative Play for 2 - 5s by Dorothy Einon

Written by a renowned child development expert, this is packed with ideas to stimulate, entertain and teach young children. Written for parents, there is also a great deal here for any child care provider, especially childminders who will find the ideas invaluable in a home setting. It starts by outlining what to expect at each age, giving confidence and reassurance. This is followed by three sections - Art and Craft; Music, Movement and Drama; and Words and Numbers. Lots of activities are described and illustrated, and it explains what a child learns. Interestingly, the Talent Spotter boxes help you identify your child's strengths. Highly readable and full of inspiring ideas, this is an excellent book for all parents and will prove invaluable in helping your child to grow, develop and enjoy challenges and fresh ideas.

In this book, the authors work on the premise that it is not random chance that means you have a baby who sleeps or doesn't sleep, but rather it is the parents' attitude and actions. Developing an understanding of your child means that parents are in control and the avoidance of conflict builds a trusting and confident relationship. It's a kind approach - no leaving your baby to cry herself to sleep, but a gentle way of building on what the authors call the 'core night' to encourage your baby to sleep and get into a good pattern. Ideally, start to implement the suggestions from birth, but if you have an older child, you will still find a great deal of help and supportive practical advice. Written by a mother and a Health Visitor, the book understands what new parents face and there is advice here to benefit all, whilst still allowing you to make your own decisions.

The Fit Mama Method by Marie Behenna

Understanding our body is the key to looking after it and this book aims to help pregnant women and new mums look after their bodies. The author specialises in pregnancy exercise and birthing and her experience and understanding is now available through this book. The exercise programme is gentle and mums-to-be can be confident they are doing their best for their unborn child. The book is easy to read and reassuring - the personal experiences help new mums to be reassured and increase confidence - nobody is alone in what they are experiencing. An excellent way to be informed and then have a basis for making your own informed decisions. 

The Parents' Toolkit by Naomi Richards

Naomi Richards has worked with children and parents for 8 years. In The Parents' Toolkit Naomi shares the key life tools she uses and teaches so that you can help your child successfully navigate childhood challenges and grow up into a happy, confident and resilient young adult. Her coaching tools include teaching your child positive self-talk, simple problem-solving techniques to encourage your child to arrive at the right solution to an issue, and specific advice for you as a parent to hone your own listening and coaching skills. Aimed at parents with children aged 5+, The Parents' Toolkit includes real-life examples and suggestions as to what to actually say when coaching your child. Essential reading for all parents wanting to give their children the best start in life.


Bringing Up Your Parents by John Farman

Most teens don't seem to believe their parents went through the same things as them, so this witty book will help them to appreciate some of the things parents say and do. It does not talk down at all and the amusing way things are presented will help teenagers to see things from their parents' point of view. There are plenty of ideas of defusing potentially difficult situations and all the advice in the book is just as valuable to the parent as to the teen - parents should read it to learn what's important in the life of today's teens. Lots of scenarios are used, with helpful suggestions, which really show an understanding of what concerns today's teenagers. Your teen probably won't want to admit to reading this book, so why not casually leave a copy lying around? I always found the bathroom to be a good place!

How To Talk To Children About Modern Art by Francoise Barbe-Gall

This book discusses 30 fascinating works by modern and contemporary artists and I think that adults will learn just as much as children from the book. How often do you hear an adult say 'Is that really art?' - read this book and your viewpoint may well change. The works discussed can be seen in galleries around the world and are often seen in reproductions. I think this would be a great resource for teachers planning a visit to an art gallery - the questions and answers can be applied to many different situations. Each work of art is shown in full colour, so the book can be used as the basis of discussion at home or in the classroom, and will help all ages to question and appreciate art. An interesting feature is the colour coding for 3 age groups - 5-7, 8-10 and 11+. A very useful and enlightening book.

A Parent's Guide to Graduate Jobs by Paul Redmond

Parents can have a real impact on their 'child's' chances of finding a job after uni. A degree is no longer a guarantee of a job, so parents will want to do all they can to maximise chances of finding a job - and not just any job, but a job the graduate really wants. It's not just the qualifications, but contacts and experience are also valuable, as are other skills developed at uni, such as IT and literacy. Plenty of practical guidance on topics such as how to choose the right university, CV writing and interview techniques is also included. The book isn't just useful post-uni, it's got great advice before and during too. Practical and useful.

Teenagers Explained by Megan Lovegrove and Louise Bedwell

Who better to explain to adults how teenagers think than the teenagers themselves? Megan and Louise demystify the language and feelings of teens in this 'Manual for Parents by Teenagers' - teachers too will find it an excellent insight into what can seem an incomprehensible world. Many parental concerns are shown from the point of view of the teenager - communication, joining in with family life, relationships, drink and drugs, school, friendships - it's all here. Written in a friendly and approachable style, it's an excellent read for everyone with a teenager in their life. Teens - buy a copy for your parents; parents - take note of the practical ideas!

How to Help Your Dyslexic and Dyspraxic Child by Sally McKeown

Parents can feel upset and confused when told their child is dyslexic or dyspraxic. They wonder what the words mean and how they can help their child. This informative book answers these questions, and reassures parents that there is plenty they can do to help. How to reassure your child; how to approach the school; strategies to use at home and how to help with homework are covered. There is much to be learnt from the experiences of other parents quoted in the book. It is a practical book that can make a real difference to parents. Teachers will find it invaluable in understanding the issues from the viewpoint of the parents, and all those who come into contact with these syndromes will find their understanding increased.

Early Years: Language and Literacy by Hilary White

Early language and literacy skills are so important but often parents either wonder how to help their child, or have concerns about the progress being made. This practical and easy to read guide from Need2Know Books show many simple ways in which skills can be developed, and helps parents to understand the phases of learning. So much early learning is incidental learning - there are some super ideas for using games to help learning in a fun way. The ideas can easily be incorporated into everyday life. The tips on learning to read and improving spelling are practical and form an excellent basis for primary age learning.

How to Help Your Child with ADHD by Beverly Davies

ADHD is complex and often misunderstood. The book takes the reader from diagnosis, through treatment, to family life through to life at school. A child with ADHD can have a huge impact on the whole family, and this practical and informative book is full of strategies to help cope, particularly focusing on the family. Understanding is a key issue, so parents, teachers and other professionals dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will all find it easier to understand once they have read this. The detailed case studies are excellent and very reassuring for parents to know they are not alone.

Babies and Toddlers for Men by Mark Woods

There are many, many books written about babies and toddlers but it is rare to find one written purely from the viewpoint of dads. This book, which includes numerous real life experiences, deals with both the emotional and practical sides of becoming a father. From the early days in hospital, up to three years old, the book is generally split into three month sections, giving just enough information to handle at a time. A good read for mums too, to help them understand what the father is feeling. An excellent guide - witty, reassuring and informative. I found it a fascinating read, with far more practical information than I had anticipated.

Twins by Dr Carol Cooper and Katy Hymas

Being told that you are expecting twins can be exciting but also very worrying. This book, comfortingly subtitled 'the practical and reassuring guide to pregnancy, birth and the first year' answers most of the questions that prospective parents of twins will ask. It is very approachable and friendly in its approach, with plenty of tested tips and personal accounts. The advice is practical and easy to follow - the book can be read from cover to cover or is equally useful for dipping into as needed - I suspect both approaches will be used, as new mums want to know all they can from the start. There is lots of information on all aspects of having twins, before, during and after birth and the joys and potential problems are clearly explained.

Baby Development: Everything You Need to Know by Dr Claire Halsey

An ambitious title, but this book from Dorling Kindersley, well-respected publisher of many parenting books does what it says. There is an immense amount of information packed into the pages of this book - I actually found the font a little small. The book helps parents to 'maximise your baby's physical, cognitive and emotional potential' and it fulfils that very well. Practical activities, games to play with baby and key milestones explained - all you need to know, clearly and concisely presented.There are lots of ideas, all clearly and practically explained, so that you can gently encourage your baby to take the steps she needs towards developing her early potential, and feel reassured that you are doing your very best to give your child a good start in life.

Dyslexia (Talking It Through) by Althea 

A succinct book, this is an excellent starting point to explain about dyslexia to both parents and children. It explains the symptoms and effects of dyslexia in a factual and easily understandable way. The different ways in which dyslexia can affect children are explained in a child-friendly manner, which will reassure and open up opportunities for further discussion. Six children tell their own stories and explain the strategies that help them cope. Children will be reassured to learn that they are not alone and reading this colourfully illustrated book will help them greatly. I would also like to see it shared with all children, so they can understand and support their peers.Althea is a very experienced writer of books to help reassure and familiarise children with a wide range of experiences. 

The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D Davis

Written from personal experience, this book provides great insight into how it really feels to be dyslexic, to cope with the problems it brings to everyday life and with the stigma that results from other people's misunderstanding. Often, people with dyslexia have other talents and the book shows how these can be used to overcome the problems. Using  practical step-by-step techniques, using visualisation and multisensory learning, the author provides practical help based on the fact that dyslexics use pictures rather than words. The book helps us all to see dyslexia as a positive experience - of course, as with all books of this type, what works for one may not work for another, but I recommend you try it and see if it applies to your own situation - you will find it helpful.

Be Careful (Talking It Through) by Althea 

We can tell children to 'be careful' over and over again, but sometimes they don't learn until they have done something. This book, which features young children and their toys, is an excellent way to encourage children to heed the wise advice of adults. Practical situations, such as cooking, illustrate the potential dangers and show some very sensible children always taking the right course of action. Children will enjoy reading this as a story and at the same time they will be learning. Colourfully presented and packed with sensible and practical suggestions, this is a valuable book for home and school. RoSPA helped in the production.

I Can't Hear Like You (Talking It Through) by Althea 

It is hard for hearing children to understand the world of a deaf or partially hearing child, and too often such children (and adults) are treated as being less intelligent. Hearing problems re experienced by many children and yet they are not talked about on a regular basis - this short but meaningful book helps address that issue. Sensitively written from the viewpoint of a boy who wears a hearing aid, children learn to understand the difficulties he faces and how they can help others in a similar situation - and we see the boy helping another, who is profoundly deaf. An excellent classroom resource to help understanding.

Lunch Boxes (Talking It Through) by Althea 

A topical subject and one which can raise quite strong emotions amongst parents, who often resent being told how to feed their children. This practical book would be an excellent resource for teachers, either to show parents or to share with children, who will then pass on the healthy eating message. The book looks at some healthy lunch boxes and tells us why certain foods are good, and why some should be avoided. Much attention is also given to various dietary requirements, and this is a good way to help children understand what others are eating. The importance of breakfast is shown! A practical and entertaining read.

Your Body: A Guide to Healthy Living (Talking It Through) by Althea Your Body

Another practical book in this series for young readers. As with all the books in this series, it is easy reading for children and offers valuable insights for adults, in the way they are helped to understand how children perceive things. The body is an amazing thing, and this book takes children on an exciting journey through the body and explains clearly the marvellous things that take place. A key feature of the book is how to take care of our bodies and this is presented in a way that will appeal to children. 

The Snail and the Whale: Read and Respond by Jean Evans

Scholastic produce this series of books which are designed to help teachers get the most out of popular children's fiction. Sometimes, you just know that a book is a brilliant teaching resource but can't quite decide how best to use it. That's where this series comes in - I loved them when doing library lessons with KS1 and KS2 children. This book is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's well-loved book and is full of inspirational ideas for KS1. Guided reading, shared reading and then ideas based on plot, character and setting. Plenty of other activities too - book review, understanding pictures, writing - which will make for very interesting lessons. All photocopiable too. 


How To Do Maths So Your Children Can Too by Naomi Sani

Do you feel confused or worried when your child comes home and asks for help with maths homework? Have you forgotten what you learnt or are worried about teaching your child different methods from those used in school? If so, this is the book to help you. It will develop your own confidence in your maths skills and you will be able to pass this reassurance on to your child. Ideal for supporting your child through primary school, the book is packed with practical examples which you will be enabled to tackle using the clear direction given. Topics which seem new to parents, such as number bonds and chunking are clearly and succinctly explained - there is just enough information to allow you to give your child the best help possible and it is written in an informal and highly readable style. Recommended!

Is Your Child Safe Online? by Pamela Whitby

This is such an important topic and one that is of concern to many parents, so it's good to see such a well-written book exploring the subject. It covers cyber bullying, social networks, indecent content and grooming. - a fast-moving world of which all parents and teachers need to be aware. Find out what really happens, learn general safety guidelines (and very importantly, how to communicate with your child on this tricky topic), discover what children really do online (you may be surprised!). We need to protect our children so this book should be essential reading for parents and teachers alike. Dangers are put into perspective and adults will be empowered by knowing what is out there. Case studies, tips and thoughts from youngsters combine to make this a well-rounded book.

Save our Sleep by Tizzie Hall

'Helping your baby to sleep through the night from birth to two years'. I can see sleep-deprived parents pouncing in this title with huge enthusiasm. Tizzie Hall is a renowned sleep expert and her years of experience shine through. As with all books of this type, parents need to read and select what works for them - but with such wide-ranging advice, there will be some tips to help everyone. The routines suggested are quite strict, but there are suggestions for each age and useful advice on weaning. Interestingly, special attention is given to premature babies, multiples and where there is a baby and a toddler. The real life case studies are useful evidence to show the results in real life.

Nanny In A Book by Louise Heren and Susan McMillan

Written in association with Norland College, this is bound to be an authoritative work. Key topics are covered:  setting up your nursery, sleeping, weaning and potty training, teaching your child good manners and behaviour, nursing common ailments from sore tummies to measles, organising a birthday party. The approach, as one would expect, is traditional but these are tried and tested methods which are still as relevant as ever - although, of course, advice had been brought up-to-date as required. It is a very reassuring book and would make an excellent gift for an expectant mother. Top tips and personal experiences make this an easy and interesting read.                               

Glorious Grandparenting by Gloria Hunniford

Written from a personal viewpoint by someone who obviously gets the maximum benefit of of being a grandmother. For all new grandparents, there is so much to learn - everything has changed since we had our own children so this is an excellent read to help gain a perspective on parenting today and how grandparents can help without interfering. Grandparents have so much to offer and this book really shows the joy of being a grandmother. As well as the practical issues, for example having the grandchildren to stay or going on holiday with them, there is help on the dilemmas many face, such as separation from grandchildren and being taken for granted. A joyful celebration which would make the perfect gift for a new grandmother. 

Weaning Made Easy by Rana Conway

This book is full of options for new parents to consider and then adopt what suits them and their baby best. The traditional ways of weaning are explored in detail and the book goes on to discuss the concept of baby-led weaning. The practical advice from other mothers will appeal to new mums, who want the reassurance of using tried and tested methods. Much of what is in the book is commonsense, but a new baby offers parents all sorts of concerns, many of which are answered in this book. Man y books favour one option or the other, so here is the opportunity for both schools of thought to be considered in one unbiased place. Tips and fact boxes break up what can be quite heavy going, and these are very accessible and helpful.

Don't Pick On Me: How To Handle Bullying by Rosemary Stones

There are many types of bullying, and many types of bully. This practical guide will help parents and children recognise bullying for what it is, and give them strategies for coping. The statistics around bullying are frightening, so anything which can help children, parents and teachers to address the issue is valuable. There are four parts - What is bullying?; Sticking up for yourself; Helping yourself feel good; Protecting yourself. The advice is clear, practical and based on real-life experience. The current big issue of cyber-bullying is discussed. A reassuring book, which shows young people how to cope and makes them understand they are not alone.

500 Baby and Toddler Foods by Beverley Glock

I was instantly attracted to this book by its chunky feel, attractive layout and appetising pictures. The book starts off very practically, with advice on weaning and an interesting section on foods to avoid, followed by advice on equipment and food safety. The recipes themselves are split into four age-appropriate sections. Each selection has a wide selection of recipes, all accompanied by photos of the completed dish. The recipes are clear and easy to follow and appetising for the whole family. At the end of each section there is an extensive list of variations on the basic recipe. This is an excellent book to be used for all the family, with a wide variety of straightforward recipes which will appeal to all tastes and encourage eating as a family. 

Top 100 Pasta Dishes by Annabel Karmel

Another practical recipe book from the family eating expert. This time, Annabel turns her attention to meals based on pasta which is both easy to prepare and a healthy option. The first recipes are suitable for 7 months on and recipes for toddlers follow. Some of the toddler recipes can be adapted for the family, and after that section the book goes on to poultry, meat, fish and vegetarian recipes, all perfect for the whole family to sit down and enjoy together. Preparation and cooking times are given, along with number of servings and suitability for freezing. The ingredients are easily come by and the instructions straightforward. I like the fact every recipe is illustrated, so you know what the finished result should be! A really attractive and practical book which every family will find helpful. 

Top 100 Meals in Minutes by Annabel Karmel

Perfect for busy parents, this collection of brand-new recipes ensures you are secure in the knowledge that your little ones are eating healthy, well-balanced home prepared food. It starts with simple purees and finger foods, then moves on to introducing new flavours and textures. The book then gives practical recipes which can be enjoyed by the whole family, including some sweet treats. After the simple purees, some of the recipes are quite complex, but they are clearly explained so inexperienced cooks can develop confidence. Clearly laid out, with mouth-watering pictures, this is a practical guide to use from weaning onwards. I shared the book with the mother of a 6 month old, who was most impressed with the appetising pictures and the fact that the recipes can be used for the whole family and are really tasty, not bland baby food.

Brain Games for Your Child by Robert Fisher

We are often asked how parents can help their children develop thinking skills. This is the ideal book to develop all sorts of skills that will stimulate children and extend their brain power. It's never too early to start - this book  has four sections, covering ages 0 - 3, 3 - 6, 6 - 9 and 9+. There is also a valuable section on travel games - the time you and your children spend travelling together is one of the best opportunities to learn and have fun together. The games - some familiar and some completely new - are clearly explained and most need a minimum of resources making them easy to do at any time. Keep this book by you for those family times together. A well thought-out book that will engage the whole family.

 A Parent's Survival Guide to Phonics and Spelling by Andrew Brodie

This is an excellent guide for all parents who would like to understand more about phonics and the way reading is taught in schools, written by a well-established author of educational books. Parents are anxious to help their children, but many do not understand the terms used and how to apply phonics teaching at home. This book can help, as it shows parents what children will learn in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, enabling them to support their children in a progressive manner. The Letters and Sounds programme is clearly described without too much detail - just enough to help. At the end of the book is an extremely useful selection of word lists for spelling practice. An really practical book, clearly laid out and covering all the key concepts, which I recommend to all parents.

The Starting School Survival Guide by Sarah Ebner

Sarah Ebner is editor of The Times' education blog School Gate so is in an excellent position to know about all the issues that concern parents. The world of primary school is a complex one and many parents are bewildered by the changes that have taken place since they were there. This book is full of reassuring and practical advice, from choosing a school, preparing for school, friendship groups (adult and child!), to what is actually taught (including phonics and numeracy - areas which frequently confuse parents) , time off and food. It is packed with information but the layout, with plenty of quotes in italics, makes it easy to read. The quotes from parents who have actually experienced the issues are enlightening and reassuring - it's always good to hear experiences of others. Whether you read it cover to cover or just dip into it as required, this is an excellent read for all parents.

What Every Parent Should Know Before Their Child Goes To Secondary School by Jane Bidder

The change from the sheltered world of the primary school into the big world of secondary is a huge one - for parents as well as children. This practical book, written by an author who has collected advice from all around the world of education, helps parents choose schools, gives advice on helping children settle, discusses (among many other subjects) homework, friendships, bullying, what is taught, Parents' Evenings and much more. The biggest challenge for many parents is the lack of contact with other parents and the teachers, so this book is an excellent way to garner the information previously obtained in person. Personal experiences are reassuring and the book is very readable.

What To Do When Your Child Hates School by Antonia Chitty 

Subtitled 'How to see your child off to school with a smile again', this book reassures parents that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Parents need to find out what the problem is - not wanting to go to school is likely to be triggered by a particular circumstance. Once that is identified - and the book is helpful in doing that -  it gives strategies to cope and much practical advice on talking to your child. There is practical advice on working it out with the school, but if that does not work, the book discusses alternatives - moving school, special types of school and home education.

Grandparents by Miriam Stoppard 

Grandparents play an important part in the lives of children today, with many taking their share of childcare. Who better to advise and guide them than Dr Miriam Stoppard, whose books they probably relied on when bringing up their own children? The subtitle is 'Enjoying and caring for your grandchild' and with the help of the practical advice in this book, grandparents can be reassured that they are aware of current ideas and options when caring for children. The importance of respecting the views of the parents is emphasised - this is always a tricky one but the sage advice in this book will help overcome many potential problems and explain the ways in which childcare has changed. All key aspects of childhood are covered right from babyhood to older children. A really readable, enjoyable, practical and well-presented book, crammed with useful and reassuring information. Enjoy your grandchildren!

Bullying - a Parent's Guide by Jennifer Thomson

This is an updated version of this practical guide. It tackles the modern-day threat of cyber-bullying in an informed manner and really helps parents to understand what really happens. It is a topic most  of us have heard about, but many do not appreciate the full horror, so this aspect of this new edition will be very useful.  Parents feel helpless when they think their child may be being bullied and this guide is full of useful and practical advice. It discusses the various forms bullying can take, including mobile phone bullying, and suggests things parents should look out for if they suspect bullying. I particularly liked the approach taken in the chapter on how to approach the school - always a tricky situation. The book then continues with a chapter on where to go after that. The chapter on 'Inside the mind of a bullied child' is very perceptive and valuable. Practical scenarios are excellent and this book will be useful to teachers as well as parents.

What To Feed When by Annabel Karmel

New mums have so many questions and so many concerns about feeding their baby that they will welcome a new book from such a respected expert in the field as Annabel Karmel. This is such an attractive book that it is a pleasure to read, with its pastel backgrounds to every page and clear Q and A layout - over 300 questions are answered. Five sections - 0-6, 6-9, 9-12, 12-18 and 18-36 months cover the key stages in feeding little ones. The advice is practical, easy to follow and shows a real awareness of mums' concerns. Reasons are given for the guidelines and these make practical sense and give parents a good basis for making their own decisions. There are recipes for each age group which ensure important food groups are part of the child's diet. An excellent book.

Baby's First Year: A Parent's Guide by Shanta Everington

A practical and succinct guide from Need2 Know to all the wonderful changes that take place in the first twelve months of life. Parents are faced with conflicting advice from all sides - this book sets out to give the vital information that parents need to make those all-important decisions. It covers The first few weeks; feeding; crying; sleep; cleaning; how your baby develops; teething; play; weaning and how mum should look after herself - an often-overlooked topic! Case studies and practical tips from other parents are reassuring and practical.

Read Me A Story by Alison Davies

The subtitle of this book is just what I hope every parent will do with their children - 'Help your child fall in love with books'. Picture books have so much to offer children and this book explains how parents can use specific books to the greatest benefit. Children love to hear their favourites read over and over again and - dare I say it? - parents can long for a change. This is your chance to make the re-reading full of interest for you both. The books featured are carefully selected to give opportunities to develop numeracy and literacy skills, providing a really useful signpost for parents who are bewildered by the huge range of books out there. Modern and classic picture books are used. The book then covers choosing and using picture books with lots of practical advice on using everyday objects and situations to extend learning. The final section is 'Stories for Everyday Routines'. Full of inspiring photos and very easy to read, I would strongly recommend this to all parents and to teachers too.

School Blues by Daniel Pennac

An interesting exploration of teaching and especially of the effect one inspirational teacher can have on a pupil's life. Daniel Pennac was stigmatised as an unsatisfactory student until one inspired idea lifted him and set him on the path to teacher and novelist. A thought provoking book which should be read by all responsible for the education of our children, to show what can be done and what should be done. How many children have suffered missed opportunities? As swell as conveying an important message about education and the different ways in which learning takes place, it is also a very readable book.

What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know by E D Hirsch & John Holdren

So often at Parents in Touch we are asked 'What should my child know in Year...?' This book helps to answer the question for parents of children in Year 1. Adapted from the US model to suit the UK, it covers the basics children will need to start them on the journey of learning. It should not be viewed as the be-all and end-all of what children need to learn but is a starting point. It is an ideal book for those undertaking home schooling, so they can ensure an awareness of many of the key areas covered in Year 1. The book covers Language & Literature (with lots of stories and poems), History & Geography,  Visual Arts, Music, Maths and Science - it's good to see all areas of the curriculum covered. It is written in clear accessible language, making parents aware of the correct level of work to expect from their children. There are lots of discussion points and activities, again geared at the right level for the year. This is an excellent book, copiously illustrated throughout,  for parents who want to support their children at home, as well as those who are home educating.

Homework Help for Mums and Dads by Karen Dolby 

Subtitled 'Help Your Child Succeed', this book sets out to help parents to know the best ways to help their children with homework - without doing it for them! So many parents want to help with homework but are unsure about the teaching methods used in school. This excellent guide is aimed at parents of children from 7 up and covers numeracy, literacy and science in depth, and also helps with history, geography and ICT, all in a way that makes learning fun. Maths is an area of particular concern to parents as so much has changed since they were at school. The key topics are covered with clear, succinct explanations and plenty of diagrams. Literacy and science are covered in equal depth. In all topics, there are clear definitions given of the vocabulary, and there are useful tips from parents and teachers.This is a reassuring and practical read for parents - well worth getting a copy.

Sand and Water Play: a Space to Learn -  by Anne Pratt 

This is a great resource for use in Early Years, whether in reception class, nursery or for childminders - all of whom will find inspiration here. Parents too, will find it full of inspirational ideas - there is opportunity for water play in our homes, and many of us have sandpits in the garden or local park. The opening of the book acknowledges that often sand and water play are assigned to a dark corner of the room, as having little real value - its purpose is to overcome that and it succeeds brilliantly. Plenty of practical ideas - what to use, planning and rules for safety - are followed by a series of well thought activities, all mapped to the Early Learning Goals. Clearly laid out, with a list of resources, activities and books (really helpful mentions of books to support the topic) to complement the activity, everything is here to plan a successful lesson. Here are some of the ideas to give an indication of the wide range of the ideas - bathing the baby; creating ponds; cold seas and lands; an undersea garden and going to the circus.  A practical yet inspiring guide that merits a place in all Early Years settings.

The Little Book of Making Books and Cards by Sally Featherstone

This series is a fantastic resource for Early Years teachers, and for parents (especially home schoolers) wanting some inspiration for use at home. You can see more about the series here  Foundation-Stage-for-teachers.
Communication is essential in all aspects of life, so introducing young children to various means of communication is key to learning. This brightly coloured book introduces making books, writing letters and sending messages. Children love to produce cards - and parents and other relatives and friends love to receive them - and there are lots of original ideas to make this fun. There are suggestions on making books to appeal to all sorts of audiences and there are some really creative ideas. Cartoon-style illustrations feature throughout. What you need; What to do; and other ideas are included for every topic which makes these books really practical to use. No going into the classroom and finding something vital missing!

The Little Topic Book of Bears by Judith Harries

I love the cover of this book - such a serious little face!  Bears - toy and real - are a very popular theme in Early Years and they can be used to cover all the Areas of Learning. This inspirational book is packed with ideas - a few of the more unusual ones include Bearobics, a bear totem pole and keeping teddy dry. There is a collection of stories about bears, templates to cut out and an interesting list of ICT resources. The range of ideas in this little book is phenomenal - there is everything here a teacher needs to cover the subject. Fully illustrated throughout with colour photos, the ideas are easy to follow and full of extension activities. Lots of ideas that parents could use with their own children too.

The Little Book of Explorations by Sally Featherstone 

Small children just love to explore and this book gives ideas for indoors and outdoors and in the wider community. Children need to understand their place in the world and this is full of ways to help them do that. Activities are linked to the EYFS goals and there are plenty of follow-up activities to reinforce learning and provide extra interest. To name just a few, the book includes minibeasts, woods and shopping. Like the others in the series, this book includes extensive lists of books to support the theme and these would be a great guide when setting up a classroom or setting library. I love to see books used to support learning in this way.


Fatherhood - the Essential Guide by Tim Atkinson

Fathers are often overlooked - there are plenty of books for mothers, so it is great to see one directed at fathers. In common with the others in the series published by Need2Know Books, this is written by an expert - Tim is a father of three and an established parenting blogger and his passion for helping other dads enjoy their children's early years shines through in this book. This book really does start at the beginning, from pregnancy and labour, ensuring that fathers really understand what is going on during a phase when they can feel sidelined. It covers how to help the mother and understand what is happening during and immediately after birth, onto with bonding with your child, and goes up to three year olds. Practical and easy to read, this is ideal both to dip into when particular issues arise or to read through in preparation for fatherhood.Mums will find it interesting too, as it will help them see things from the father's perspective. 

A Parent's Survival Guide to Starting Secondary School by Molly Potter

Moving on to secondary school is a huge step and many parents are concerned about how their children will get on. It is very different from primary school, when many of us were there every day to collect the children and therefore felt in touch with the school, so a book which explains clearly what to expect is invaluable. It covers how to choose the right school for your child; preparing for the transition; what happens at the start and settling in; and what happens later on. Written by an experienced teacher, this is packed with practical information for parents and children and is ideal for sharing with your child to reassure him. There is a phenomenal amount of information packed in, in an easy to read format. I especially like the inclusion of many quiz pages for the student to complete, asking views on topics including homework and bullying, giving the chance to raise and discuss issues. An excellent book which I recommend to all preparing for the move to secondary school.

Where Has My Little Girl Gone? by Tanith Carey

It is great to see a book on this topical subject. There is a great deal in the media about the fact that children, especially girls, are growing up so quickly, and there is huge pressure placed on our young people. This is an issue that concerns many parents, who will find this new book very interesting reading.  Girls are bombarded from all sides with information and materials to make them grow up too soon, and they don't have the maturity to reject this or to see what is wrong. This practical book covers how to help keep these messages away from young girls and, and more importantly, how to raise their self-esteem so they have the confidence to stand out against these things. The experiences of other parents form a really valuable part of the book, as we all like to hear how others have coped. An excellent book to have beside you as your daughter grows up.


 Asperger's Syndrome - the Essential Guide by Hilary Hawkes

Living with a sufferer, or having Asperger's Syndrome is challenging and worrying - not least because of the lack of understanding which surrounds it. This down-to-earth factual guide is written by Hilary Hawkes, who has first-hand experience of AS. This is not a quick fix, but takes the reader through living with AS from diagnosis, through how to handle it, to careers and long-term relationships. I found it an enlightening book, covering key issues in a succinct fashion and I recommend it to anyone who encounters AS in any way, especially parents and teachers, to increase understanding and give an insight into how sufferers feel. An extensive list of resources is a useful feature.

Travelling with Children - a Parent's Guide by Catherine Cooper

Holidays area  keenly anticipated part of life, but sometimes the planning can seem very daunting, especially with children to take into account. This book aims to guide parents in selecting the most appropriate sort of holiday for their family. It covers all ages and types of holiday - from cruises to camping - and I felt it may well give parents confidence to tackle a type of holiday they had previously felt to be out of the question. Plenty of practical experiences from parents will be appreciated  and the section on travelling with babies and toddlers is very practical. I did wonder if the book might be better titled Holidaying with Children!

Children's Nutrition - a Parent's Guide by Angela Falaschi & Andrea Childs

The Need2Know Guides are exceptional resources for parents. The books are written by experts in their field, and contain plenty of practical advice written in a friendly and approachable fashion whilst remaining totally professional in outlook. We are all familiar with the topic of childhood nutrition but much of what we read is sensationalised. We need a sensible, down-to-earth approach and this book is exactly that. It starts with a breakdown of the food children need, and then discusses the requirements of 4 different age groups. Recipes for babies are followed by ideas for breakfasts, lunches and family dinners. All the recipes are straightforward, nutritious and based on easily obtained ingredients. help your child have a healthy start to life with this practical guide.

Drugs - a Parent's Guide by Judy Mackie

Parents need to approach the issue of drugs from an informed position. This book is a valuable guide for all parents. Ensure you know what to look out for and how to help. Find out what attracts young people to drugs; read the useful A to Z of the various drugs; and develop a trusting and sharing relationship with young people so the door is always open for discussion - this book will help you with all these aspects. Practical advice and case studies will be relevant to young people reading the book as well as to parents, so I would encourage you and your family to share it and talk about the issues - this book is an ideal start.

 The Terrible Twos - a Parent's Guide by Shanta Everington

'The Terrible Twos' - most parents will agree this can be a difficult time in a child's life, as the child grows, explores and tests the limits. But it needn't be terrible, if handled constructively, as this practical guide shows. Shanta is an experienced Early Years Practitioner and her experience shines through in this book. We are given an insight into children's emotions and needs, and this helps us understand the behaviour that may arise as a consequence. The importance of setting boundaries, whilst leaving room to develop and explore is discussed. Play, eating, sleep and potty training are all areas of possible contention and strategies are given, along with real life experiences. A practical and reassuring guide which will be invaluable to parents and to all those who come into contact with 2 year olds.

Special Educational Needs - a Parent's Guide by Antonia Chitty and Victoria Dawson 

Many parents are concerned that their child may have special educational needs and this reassuring book is an excellent starting point to find out more. Many children need some extra help with their education (and this includes high-achievers too) but they don't necessarily have special educational needs. This book outlines many of the common additional needs and shows parents and carers how they themselves can help and also how best to get help from outside agencies (including a comprehensive list). Interestingly, it covers the practical issues that can come from caring for children with additional needs, such as finance and sleep deprivation.This will be valuable to all parents, not just those whose children have some form of additional needs, as it will help develop understanding.There are many more excellent guides at Need2Know Books


 Child Obesity - a Parent's Guide by Judith Manson

A touchy subject is handled with sensitivity in this practical book by Judith Manson, who is a medical journalist with a special interest in children's health; she is also the mother of 3 children so understands the issues parents face. We read a lot in the media about overweight children - why is this happening and what can we do about it? I found the chapter on the causes of obesity interesting - we are inclined to pre-judge but there can be many reasons for being overweight. The book is full of practical ideas, conveyed with empathy and a real understanding of how parents feel; it will be equally valuable to practitioners, both for the professional advice and to help them see things from the parents' perspective. All the advice is applicable to everyone, not just the overweight, so this will be an excellent purchase for all families.

Autism - a Parent's Guide by Hilary Hawkes

The Need2Know Guides are an excellent practical series, each written by an expert in the field. Hilary wrote this book to help parents find support when they first receive the diagnosis of autism and she has based it on personal experience. Parents will have so many questions, so this an excellent starting point. It discusses the symptoms of autism and getting a diagnosis; moving on to living with a child with autism and how to help. Practical advice is given on selecting the best education and how to deal with adolescence. Extensive lists and advice on where to get help are a really useful feature. This is a reassuring and down-to-earth read which will be invaluable to parents and also to practitioners new to the subject - perhaps teachers with an affected child in their class.

Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties - a Parent's Guide by Maria Chivers

Maria is the founder of the Swindon Dyslexia Centre and is well-used to helping parents of children with learning difficulties. This is a sympathetically written book, demonstrating a real understanding of how parents feel when their child isn't learning quite like other children. Parents are the first to know when something is not right with their child, but persuading others to see this and treat it sensitively can be an uphill task. This book is full of strategies to help and advice on approaching the professionals, all written in a clear, sensitive and understandable manner. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, SEN, gifted children and ADHD are all covered, with useful checklists for initial guidance. Full of practical advice, this is an excellent first port of call.


ADHD - The Essential Guide by Diane Paul

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can manifest itself in behaviour patterns that may just be normal childhood behaviour, or may be symptomatic of an underlying issue.This book helps parents to know the difference, obtain a diagnosis and find treatment and support. medication is discussed in a factual manner, leaving parents to make their own informed decisions. The practical information given in the book is excellent for helping parents approach professionals without in any way taking over their role. The practical support available is outlined and the book concludes with an extensive list of resources


The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders by Jane Smith 

An emotive subject is tackled in a practical and accessible way in this down-to-earth guide. Eating disorders are becoming increasing common and cause heartbreak for families who are affected. This book is written for parents by parents, meaning that the suggestions are based on real-life experiences. The first chapters focus on suspecting and then discovering an eating disorder. It then goes on with help on getting a diagnosis and how to manage the situation. Full of practical experiences and quotations, and addressing issues facing boys and fathers as well as girls and mothers, this book really 'talks' to parents. Jane is Director of Anorexia Bulimia Care and her vast experience and compassion shines out through this book. An excellent guide to a tricky subject.


Stories Can Be Counted On! by Neil Griffiths

This book is subtitled 'Ideas for developing mathematics through story'  and it is full of inspirational ideas to help parents and teachers use stories to help develop an understanding of number. The book explores ways to use stories to support the maths Early Learning Goals and early stages of the National Curriculum. It also supports all other areas of the Early Years curriculum. Topics are supported by learning activities, role play ideas, preparation, extension activities covered, goals  and, of course, extensive lists of suitable books to address each topic. To take one example - 'Count on Stories' includes role play and mime, cards to enhance learning, mathematical vocabulary and book lists. The back of the book contains a wonderful collection of finger puppet templates to copy, which really help to bring teaching to life - these are a great resource. There is so much in this book, it is hard to do it justice in a short review - I strongly recommend you get hold of a copy and help the children in your care really enjoy their mathematical learning and establish a strong base for the future, as well as seeing maths as fun.

My Child is Autistic by Renitha Tutin 

Many people would be filled with fear and trepidation at the prospect of hearing the news that their child suffered from autism. This was Renitha and her husband’s initial reaction but her book ‘My child is autistic’ shows how they turned this initial reaction into a positive and very rewarding experience. The book shares some very distressing experiences about how Renitha and her family found strategies and activities to turn a negative situation into a rewarding and successful experience not only for them but also for their son.
Renitha’s motivation for writing the book was an experience with another young Mother who was embarrassed by her autistic child and having been in that situation herself Renitha realised that she could help other parents and children. Having read the book I would recommend that all parents read this book as there is so much that we can all learn from this family’s experiences. Even after many years of teaching in all types of schools I found this book fascinating, informative and with many useful suggestions that could be of help to many other parents.
Renitha does not set out to offer a prescription to deal with all types and degrees of autism. She aims to provide some insight into how she and her husband responded to the many challenges brought about by the birth of her son.
The books contains many very honest accounts of the difficulties encountered along the way, the stresses and anxieties of communication, the decision making and the results which worked and those which were abandoned. She describes the delight that she and her husband experienced when their son smiled and how now he can sit at the piano and play for enjoyment.
Now at the age of eight their son can today join in conversations, has a future to look forward to and is very aware of the social side of life. I would urge everyone from teachers to parents and grandparents to read this book and to refer back to it when they encounter a ‘difficult’ situation with any child!
 It is an inspiring, compelling and stimulating read. This book made me realise that all children are special and autistic children albeit with hard work, can be lovable, cheerful, passionate and endearing. Please read the book and learn from it too. If nothing else it could show the value of seeking the positive in the face of many apparently hopeless situations.

To Miss with Love by Katharine Birbalsingh

This is a riveting account of a year in the life of a teacher in an inner-city school. It opens with a meeting with past pupils - who have turned out surprisingly well. Snuffy's class this year is a 'challenging' group and we learn her strategies for handling them. We meet a fascinating range of pupils, each bringing their own problems and challenges for Snuffy to handle. The reader is drawn into her world and shares her emotions through the year. This book gives a real insight into the troubled world of some of today's schools and yet it is inspirational and positive. For parents, it gives an insight into how some schools are today; for teachers, it shows one way of handling challenging pupils.

The Outdoor Classroom by Hilary Harriman

Making good use of outside space is a key issue in education at the moment. This book will inspire those who have not yet used the outdoors and give fresh ideas to those already using their outside space. It shows how each of the Six Areas of Learning can be taught outdoors (with many of the ideas transferable inside). To take just one example of the huge range of activities, Mathematical development includes picnics, patterns, building, washing day, market day, gardening and more... Full of practical lesson ideas and lists of useful resources, there is a wealth of information here, including lesson plans and case studies. Children need to discover, explore and investigate the world around them and the ideas here encourage that. Illustrated throughout by colour photos, showing the ideas in action, this book deserves a place in every staffroom.

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I'll Begin by Neil Griffiths

Reading together and sharing books is a vital part of childhood, but sadly, one which seems to be dying out with the advent of so many other distractions. Neil Griffiths is passionate about story-telling, so let him share with you his techniques for making storytime a valued part of every day. he gives advice on choosing stories; the art of storytelling; talking about what you have read; how to involve children; and storytime at school and at home. We are not all blessed with the art of being natural storytellers and I, for one, found  invaluable the tips on what makes a good storyteller, not least for their simplicity - using the book as a prop and the importance of facial expressions, for example. This would be a brilliant addition to a staffroom library whilst being equally useful for parents wanting to extend their storytelling skills. Find out more about Neil and StorySacks at

Hold on Tight by Claire Carpenter

Surely this is a picture book,  you might be thinking. Yes, it is and a really enjoyable story to read aloud and share with your child. It tells the story of Tommy, who is determined to go to the moon and is not deterred by the dismissal of his idea by those around him. Tommy WILL get there and a friendly dragon helps him on his way. But this is far more than just a picture book - it is one in a series of self-development books for children - the 'Yes You Can' books. They are designed 'to encourage self esteem, a positive outlook, an open mind and a courageous heart' - all attributes Tommy has in abundance. The book concludes with some thoughtful questions for adults and children to discuss. This book is a useful resource for parents and teachers and would make an excellent assembly story. More ideas and resources on Claire's site at

 Primary School - a Parent's Guide by Kim Thomas

Many parents are confused by all the changes that take place in schooling so this succinct guide will be very welcome. It covers all the key topics  - how to choose a school; the admissions process; how to prepare your child to start school; the curriculum and SATS, among other things. The admissions process can be a minefield so it is good to see this clarified. The advice on choosing a school is excellent, particularly the questions to ask. The curriculum is complex to understand, as are the requirements of SATS and both these areas are clearly and succinctly covered. You can find out how much time your child will spend on key subjects and what they are expected to know. There is also a list of useful contacts. A very practical guide for all parents.

 Secondary School - A Parent's Guide

This would be an ideal book to read when your child is in Year 6 (or even 5) of primary school, so you can weigh up the options and have plenty of time to decide on the best school for your child. It tells you what to look out for when choosing and gives advice to use when visiting schools. This is very reassuring to parents. The chapter on Special Needs explains how children can be included in mainstream education and how to help them. An interesting chapter is that on Friendships - an important topic that can be overlooked. Find out how to support your teenager through the various exams, and learn about the options available. Many parents are anxious about communicating with schools, but the good advice in this book is really practical and easy to read.

How to Pass exams - A Parent's Guide by David Lambourne

David Lambourne is an experienced teacher with many years experience of preparing pupils for exams, so you know you can rely on the advice in this book. It is aimed at secondary school pupils and emphasises the importance of parental help and support. Topics covered include motivation, effective study, health, note-taking, essay writing, coursework, revision techniques and that all important day - the exam itself. Full of practical and easy to apply ideas, I recommend this book for sharing with your teenager for reassurance and support, and to give you confidence that you are doing your best to help.
This is one in the Need-2-Know series - a very practical series, that gives just the right amount of information to cover the most common questions. 

Learn with Red Hen and her Phonic Friends by Gill Davies

This innovative book is a great way to introduce children to phonic sounds. Phonics are an essential part of learning to read and this book makes learning really fun. It contains the Reception High Frequency Words and key words for Years 1 and 2, making it an excellent tool for parents to use with their children, knowing they are reinforcing the work done in school. To begin, read the amusing stories, then experiment with the letter sounds using the wheels to create lots of different words. Plenty to catch the attention as there are small pictures as well as words in the wheels. Common blends are covered with opportunities to practise the sounds. An excellent and fun introduction to what can be a somewhat daunting topic. 


Child by Desmond Morris

This book is a follow-up to the very successful Baby and again demonstrates Morris' unique approach to human relationships and development. It explores the world of young children aged from 2 to 5 as they emerge from toddlerdom and start out on the long road to independence. This is a fascinating stage in any child's life, as they continue to move towards being independent people, so a book which helps us to understand what is happening is an excellent aid. The unusual thing about this book, which sets it apart from the majority of books about the early years, is that it is written from the child's perspective thus giving us a real insight into how children feel. All aspects of children's lives are covered, making this a good reference book for issues that crop up, for instance friendships and emotional development, as well as a fascinating read from beginning to end. The understanding thus gained helps us to understand reactions and therefore how best to deal with them. Pull out sections illustrate the milestones at each age and make a useful quick reference guide. The photographs are wonderful and convey all sorts of emotions. A great guide for all parents.

Making sense of your Child's Friendships by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer 

Friendship is enormously important to all of us but children's friendships can be very up and down affairs. This book is designed to help parents of children up to 12 years old and starts with an interesting analysis of how friendships change up to that age, so helping parents know what to expect. It helps parents have an insight into how children think about friends, which can be a great help in knowing how to handle problems and uncertainties. The differences between girls' and boys' friendships are explored and again this is a useful insight and helps us understand the differences between our children. Parents have so many worries about their children's friendship, that they will find this a reassuring read with sensible advice about when to intervene and when to stand back.

Engaging NLP for Teachers by Judy Bartkowiak

Judy Bartkowiak is passionate about NLP and this comes across clearly in this volume. She explains her thoughts on how teachers can use NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to help the children they teach.  Like the others in this series, the book encourages the reader to write down their thoughts in the book, meaning  they are always there to refer to and assess progress. This is a practical guide which suggests new ideas to teachers.

Engaging NLP for Children by Judy Bartkowiak

This book is written for parents to use with children aged between 5 and 11. Through this book, Judy Bartkowiak shows how using NLP will teach children about; Self Esteem; Setting goals; Controlling their mood; Managing criticism; Coping with change; Coping with grief; Making friends (rapport) Learning styles (VAK). These principles will help some people in understanding their children and their emotions.

Engaging NLP Back to Work by Judy Bartkowiak

Judy Bartkowiak has combined working in a wide variety of jobs with bringing up four children and believes that the most important attributes mums need are; self belief; outcome thinking; flexibility; positivity; the ability to prioritise. These skills are covered in this book along with plenty of different ideas of paid work that you can combine with having a family and having the time to enjoy them.  The book includes practical ideas and activities to undertake.

Stop bedwetting in 7 days by Alicia Eaton

Bedwetting is an emotive subject and one which concerns many parents and children. There are many strategies people can use to tackle the issue. This book uses positive psychology, NLP and hypnotherapy to help children overcome bedwetting in  few days. The book starts off by reassuring parents that bedwetting is a common problem albeit one which people are reluctant to discuss. It gives practical strategies and makes suggestions of ways in which to increase children's self confidence.

Succeed in Sport by Jackie Wilkinson

There is pressure on children to achieve in many areas of life. Many children enjoy sport and it is an important part of children's wellbeing to ensure that they do get regular physical exercise. The author is five times British Field Archery Champion and in this book, she aims to share with others the techniques which enabled her to reach the top. The introduction tells us that this book is for those who want to be the best they can....for those who want to win. Jackie Wilkinson uses the book to show how the use of effective charts to record progress can improve achievement and how to use the charts to monitor progress.

Seeing Spells Achieving by Olive Hickmott & Andrew Bendefy

"Have you ever wished you could improve your reading, writing, spelling, maths, and your memory and learning skills? Well, try this. - Seeing Spells Achieving - takes you through a series of simple logical steps which build on each other to enable you or your children to visualise your way to success, developing skills you already possess." Thus is this book described on the back cover and it is certain to have appeal to those who struggle with these aspects of learning. The book explains in a very simple, easy way, how to learn to spell by visualising words, through a series of steps which build together. It contains plenty of strategies which are easy to try and can benefit all ages.

 Engaging NLP for Parents by Judy Bartkowliak

NLP is Neuro Linguistic Programming. The author is an NLP Master Practitioner who has specialised training in working with children. This book is an excellent introduction to the topic, written in easily accessible language and giving all the basic information needed to apply the principles.  I like the way the book encourages you to write down your goals at the beginning, thus giving positive aims and a way to measure success. It is a very positive book which will give parents the confidence they need to apply the ground rules outlined. These ground rules underpin all the techniques learnt in the book and are explained clearly and concisely. An excellent introduction to NLP.

A Parent's Survival Guide to Maths Homework by Andrew Brodie

I wish this book had been available when I was struggling to help my children with their maths homework! It covers every topic your child will encounter through primary school. Maths teaching has changed so much since most of us were at school that this clear and succinct guide will be a great help to parents anxious to help their children without confusing them. Find out when your child should learn tables; how the rules of number are taught and unravel the mysteries of topics such as chunking,. The work covered in the National Curriculum for each year is covered so you know exactly what your child will do when. This is an excellent book which deserves a place in every home with primary age children and is an excellent book for home schoolers.

 Toe by Toe by Keda Cowling

After three weeks on the Toe to Toe scheme my grandson has improved by five months in reading age. He also has the incentive to keep this improvement going as he looks forward to doing his exercises. He looked at the end of the book and immediately realised that it was well worth working together to reach that standard. I have not reassessed his reading age but he read a whole page of Harry Potter book and a Football review to himself recently.
Nine weeks ago he couldn't read the word 'damage' or 'ignorance'. He has now been known to be found reading in bed when he is supposed to be asleep! I am delighted with the scheme and although it is time consuming it is time well spent. HJB.



Stareway to spelling by Keda Cowling

I have used this and think it is excellent. I started with the sentence dictation passage for the 1 to 50 Most used words. Then using the SUS words found it gave pupils the ability to look at the form of the word and recognise it more easily. This was an incentive to read quickly and fluently to make progress to the next 51 to 100 words. The structure of the scheme encourages the children to work carefully and to take more care with spellings so that they can see progress. I found that the children were reading the lists with increased assurance and were happy to increase their vocabulary.

A really structured scheme like this encourages children to 'think' about spelling and to approach it with the correct thought processes. It supplies pupils with the tools and structures they need to learn common words. This is an excellent scheme and by the time the children have completed the scheme they will have strengthened the link between sight and sound, which is vital for the correct recall of words for spelling. HJB

Stride Ahead by Keda Cowling

Stride Ahead is extremely useful in helping older pupils read with ease and confidence. It has easy-to-use syllable division and works to aid the pupil enjoy reading. The aim of Stride Ahead is to ensure that words and sounds are so easily recognised by pupils that they become able to recognise them immediately and without concentrated effort. This makes reading much interesting as they can quickly understand the text in front of them. Timing is the key to this process and careful timing forms the essence of the Stride Ahead method. It is always great to see pupils grow with confidence and begin to enjoy reading. HJB






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