Tuesday, 5 January 2016

R.I.C. English Resources Review

I have been very fortunate to receive several Year 3 & 4 teaching resources from R.I.C. Publications to review. Please note that all the opinions I am about to share are my own :)

Two of the books I received are comprehension books which is awesome as I am always looking for good comprehension tasks that can be used for independent reading, particularly with NAPLAN  (Nation wide testing) coming up in the first half of the year. 

The first one is Teaching Comprehension Strategies Book D Ages 8-9 ($39.95).

The book is separated into 12 focus areas, one for each of the following comprehension strategies- understanding words; finding information; identifying the main idea; sequencing; comparing; predicting; concluding; summarising; inferring; cause and effect; fact or opinion; and point of view.

There are pages of teacher's notes at the beginning of the book to explain how the resource is designed to be used, and teacher's notes for each section to explain the skill. Indicators state what the expected skill is and what to look for. The answers to the question pages are also contained here.

Each area contains a clearly set out page of reading material, 3 question pages with comprehension strategies designed to be worked through with the teacher to begin with and another reading page with comprehension questions designed to be completed independently.  There are also 4 test pages in the book at the end of a section of comprehension strategies.

I really like how clear these pages are to read and how the questions are set out. They also fit perfectly into how we already teach Reading Comprehension at my school, so I know these will be used within our reading groups and for independent work.

The second comprehension book is Australian English Curriculum Literacy: Comprehension & Writing Year 3 Ages 8-9 ($39.95).

This book is set out in a similar way to the first but has all of the links to the appropriate Australian Curriculum focus. I love the table which shows which standards match each page.

There is also more variety and emphasis on the types of texts given to the students to read, with each text labelled as either imaginative, informative or persuasive.  At the beginning of each text there is a page of Teacher Information explaining the skills you are looking for and suggestions for how to use the material. This resource is more of a testing of skills and contains independent tasks, different to the way the first resource is intended to be used.

After each page of reading material, there is a page of comprehension questions (to show understanding) and a page requiring students to write about the text, given different prompts (creating a text).

I am already intending to use these sheets as part of independent work after learning a comprehension skill. I love both of the comprehension books and now want to check out the Year 4 versions.

The last book I have to share is English Skills Practise D (11.95). These books are designed to be used daily by individual students with each page divided into two days practise, with 150 days total. You can download a free trial of this book here.

I really like the way these are set out and our intended to be quick revision practise each day. They are also great tasks to be used as homework rather than in the classroom.

At the end of the book, there are revision pages for every 10 days work. 

Although I really like the content and think it is very appropriate for my year level, I do have to say I am not a huge fan of coloured work books in general because I find the different coloured text hard to read (I'd say this could just be my eyes). Also, unfortunately there is not always enough money in our budgets to be able to purchase independent work books but they are always on the wishlist. 

I can see myself purchasing and using these books for students who are not working on the current standard and I do often recommend these to parents if they are looking for extra homework tasks.

A big thank you to R.I.C. Publications for the opportunity to review these great products. Make sure you check out their other resources (I'm a big fan of these comprehension cards for Literacy groups). I've also shared my review of the Math resources in this blog post if you'd like to check it out.
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