I have been on a search for a decent primary level comprehension book for quite some time.
As an educator, I am looking for publications that will further develop comprehension skills.
There are three types of comprehension skills:
1. Pre-reading i.e. Pre-view/ Overview Web/ Brainstorm/ KWL
2. During reading i.e. Paragraph Re-Read/ Read and Pause/ Note-taking
3. Post-reading i.e. Summarise/ Article re-read/ Sequencing
Not all children acquire these skills naturally, therefore good publications that allow children to understand the text through good questioning are a must.
As a child, I loved the Guinness Book of Records and my own children are no different.
Rising Stars UK, have recently published Record Breaking Comprehension and I was keen to have a look.
These eye catching resources use the appeal of the famous Guinness Book of Records to engage and stimulate pupils in reading comprehension activities.
With full access to the Guinness World Records archive, we have selected a range of the most fascinating, weird and wonderful world records to grab pupils’ attention and engage them in the record-breaking stories.
The pupil book is set out in a variety of styles, which are bright and stimulating. My children were fascinated by the stories of the record holders. Even my son was found reading them at my desk and to be honest, I can see this book being a great hit in the classroom for boys. I often find it difficult to find suitable text to engage boys in Key Stage One and Two, but this is very appealing due to the nature of its content and layout.
My favourite record breaking story was about the tallest man, closely followed by the lady with the very long nails. Some amazing stories and I could see how I could use the text to connect other areas of the curriculum to it. A lesson involving measure for instance could be easily stimulated by the use of my favourite texts.
Questioning – developing the thinking classroom
The thinking classroom can be a place where children ask questions as well as give answers. Skilled questioning can generate high-level thinking and discussion, and also provide an excellent model for children so that they can adopt self-questioning strategies. Allowing time for reflection and providing opportunities for discussion also contributes to the thinking process.
So many of the books I’ve looked at in the past focus heavily on literal questioning. The Rising Stars authors have used a wide range of questions in each book. Covering literal, inference, deduction and personal opinion styles of questions.
The questions within the pupil book are set out in three sections: On your marks, Get set and Go for gold. I like the positive use of language as it encourages the less able to aim to complete the set of questions.
Beyond the record
The extension activities can be found at the end of each comprehension activity. They are well thought out and can be used as whole class activities. Each one has thorough teacher notes and suggest the use of ICT to develop each activity through research or the use of presentation skills.
The Teacher’s Book
The books come with a comprehensive teachers guide. I think this is what I’m most impressed with. It gives not only the answers to the activities but a wide range of photocopiable worksheets for language activities. Each one concentrates on different language features including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The assessment focus is clear and concise throughout each book. I like how these are so clearly set out and handy for adding to WALT boards. Being a Northern Ireland Educator, I dislike seeing publications that are prescribed to a particular curriculum. The assessment focus allows teachers to focus on the outcomes for the pupil rather than getting bogged down in information overload that often exists in similar publications.
Quality non-fiction texts with a variety questions are difficult to come by. I am delighted to have discovered this range. I recommend you check them out especially if you have a white elephant in the room! (code for any test children may do at towards the end of primary school)
You can download free samples here
Oh and they have 20% off next week!! What’s not to like!