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|Editor Pie Corbett|
|Publisher - Cambridge-Hitachi|
Price at time of review - £50.00
This is a scheme, edited by Pie Corbett, to support the direct teaching of reading (including on-screen reading) and higher order reading skills and strategies to the whole class via a series of interactive whiteboard lessons. It also develops speaking and listening and reading into writing. Its objectives are linked to the renewed Primary Framework, the Scottish 5-14 Guidelines and the Northern Ireland lines of development. For each year group, there are 75 days of lessons in 6 x 10 session topics for both fiction and non-fiction, and 3 x 5 topics in poetry.
All the requirements for teaching are contained on the CDs, although there are also colourful and attractive books of the texts available. The CDs contain directions on their use, the overview of the whole scheme, all the texts used, detailed teacher’s notes and lesson plans, and worksheets, all of which can be printed.
The interactive whiteboard sessions are well-produced, with suitably-sized chunks of readable text, clickable audio, simple animation, film clips, glossary and appropriate questions relating to the text. For each topic there is a starter session to set the context and within each session are activities related to a key teaching point with a demonstration, followed by a similar shared activity. Though the program is perfectly usable with just computer and a non-interactive screen, there is encouragement to make full use of the interactivity of the whiteboard with a notepad and pen, highlighter, and hide and reveal tool, all of which children enjoy using.
I have only a couple of minor gripes. Why not call the scheme ‘I-read’, rather than ‘i-read’? And it would have been helpful to have the titles of the topics on the Sessions pages, rather than just ‘Session 1’ etc.
But overall, I really like this scheme. The texts are of good quality, with interest further engaged by music, sound effects, video clips and especially a range of varied and expressive readings of text and poetry – including well articulated, dramatic verse, enjoyable dialect renderings and choral speaking. The activities are useful and challenging. The scheme is not designed to take up the whole year and each set of sessions is self-contained and could easily slot into any English programme – more useful, in my view, than an all-encompassing scheme.
Trialling i-read with a set of able children, who are fully conversant with interactive whiteboards as a normal part of their day-to-day school experience, drew very positive and unsolicited responses: ‘That was good. It was fun.’ I agree – and it was also good reading, speaking and listening and writing development.
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