Prep – A Class Act
Author Valerie Warrick
Publisher Playtime Productions
ISBN 9780957980099
Cost $55 incl. GST

This book provides exercises which are easy to understand and simple to incorporate into the mainstream classroom. There are also benefits right across the curriculum which makes the integration of the performing arts into daily activities more manageable.

Interestingly, the book promises to reward teachers with more attentive and co-operative students, children who are “less inclined to initiate conflict” and “more likely to co-operate and empathise” with each other.

Written as a workbook for prep teachers, aides, Year 1 teachers, principals, directors of childcare centres and teacher librarians, the aim is to optimise early learning experiences for young children.

The book includes a range or original activities which develop those skills essential to success; not only learning to read and write but to function as a confident and articulate communicator.

For teachers, Prep – A Class Act has the potential to develop in children the skills which are essential to success in school life and beyond, even for students who are not confident or natural performers.

Using the performing arts as a vehicle, teachers can assist children to develop an awareness of the sound structure of language and the ability to manipulate sound units.

The activities, there are 49, provide the opportunity for children to be successful in literacy using the child’s most familiar communication tool – oral language. Engagement in use of the ‘Tool Box’ which Valerie Warrick identifies, can also help children to experience the real fun in literacy.

Overall, this book aims to help teachers develop better communication and improved listening skills, an extended vocabulary, effective speech, articulation, vocal expression, pitch, pace, pause and improved group communication, which is essential. Plus there is an abundance of life skills which embrace integrity and trust, sharing responsibility, discipline and attitude.

This book is an excellent classroom tool which provides various ways for teachers to tap into a child’s creative capacity through dramatisation and imaginary play. A great resource which is easy to use.

Emotional Literacy
The Heart of Classroom
Dr Patricia Sherwood
Publisher ACER Press

I really found this book fascinating. Emotional Literacy: The Heart of Classroom Management is an original book for primary school teachers, counsellors and therapists who want to develop emotional literacy skills in the classroom setting.

It provides resources for managing the ‘feeling’ life of children and offers a classroom management model that creates opportunities for healing emotions, rather than emotions being denied, repressed, discounted or excluded from the process.

The author also provides a clear understanding of the non-verbal languages and skills needed for children to identify the basic human feelings of anger, grief, aloneness, fear, judgement and the bully and victim behaviours arising from these feelings.

One of the great benefits of the book is the provision of group classroom exercises which help to reduce the possibility of major behavioural problems or psychological disturbances.

On working through this book, teachers will discover a simple, self-managed process that gives children basic skills to identify and manage their own emotions.

This is an excellent resource for all classroom teachers.

Promoting Reading for Pleasure in the Primary School
Michael Lockwood
Publisher SAGE Publications Ltd
Paperback ISBN 9781412929677
Price $34.95

This is a very practical and focused book which draws on the author’s own research project in order to identify good practice in promoting reading for enjoyment.

Most kids naturally love to read, they gravitate towards books and it is up to us as teachers to make the words enticing.

This book presents specific activities that teachers can use to develop their own whole school and classroom practice.

Each chapter features case-study material and provides examples of planning from schools that have successfully created thriving reading cultures through schemes such as reading assemblies, book clubs, library loyalty cards, school book evenings and quizzes. There is also an extensive, annotated list of print and internet-based resources.

Topics covered include: becoming a reading for pleasure school; promoting a love of reading in the early years; developing reading enjoyment in the later primary years; and getting boys reading.

This book is relevant for pre-service and in-service K-8 teachers, teaching assistants, advisers and consultants plus teacher educators and researchers.

Understanding Children’s Books: A Guide for Education Professionals
Prue Goodwin
SAGE Publications Ltd
ISBN 9781847870322
Price $39.95

Children’s books play a vital role in education, and this book helps classroom teachers to choose books that have the most to offer young children.

As a primary school teacher working both in the Catholic and public school systems, it was refreshing for me to review this book.

Each chapter reflects on a different theme or genre and their role in educational settings. It also recommends 10 ‘must reads’ within each one. The themes covered include books for babies, literature for the very young, narrative fiction, books in translation, poetry, picture books and also graphic texts.

This book will prove to be a valuable resource for early years professionals, childcare professionals and teachers working with children from the nursery stage to 14 years.

Well worth the effort. It is both absorbing and useful.