Rezension Cideb Reading and Training Series 1

geschrieben von Irena Köstenbauer.
Publiziert in ELGazette, London, November 1996


Christmas Carol book is hymn to excellence

"Hamlet", "Treasure Island", "A Christmas Caro", "Robinson Crusoe"
By: Derek Sellen, Enzo Marciante and Peter Forman
ISBN: 88-7754-281-0, 88-7754-260-8, 88-7754-282-9
Price: book and a cassette - öS 155

Nowadays, it is getting harder and harder for teachers to make their students read and, moreover, enjoy reading. Children get bored quickly with lifeless pages covered with lots of small black letters and endless comprehension questions. What attracts their attention, however, is action, excitement, bright colours and comics. Written word combined with pictures and interesting activities.

Cideb READING AND TRAINING series successfully fulfils these needs of children and is, therefore an excellent tip for teachers who want their pupils to read with pleasure and beg for more. All four books are accompanied by cassettes, and thus can also be used for listening comprehension.

The series consists of four titles graded in 4 levels: the cartoon edition of "Hamlet" for beginners, "Treasure Island" for elementary level, "Christmas Carol" for pre-intermediate level and "Robinson Crusoe" (to appear soon) for intermediate level ...

The books are beautifully illustrated, even the pages with grammatical exercises have lots of pictures on them, which successfully break the monotony of reading. New words are written at the bottom of each page, which makes reading much easier for the children, since they do not have to look every single word up at the back of the book. New words are explained in a very short and clear way, the more difficult ones have additionally a picture next to the notes.

All the books provide the information about the author and his world. Additionally to the main plot they offer a few pages with extra information about the times when pirates were sailing around the world, hunting for treasure, teach a bit of England's history or give facts about Christmas festivities. These extra pages can be used either as the additional reading material or as the additional work for children who have finished the other tasks.

What makes these books really a treasure are excellent activities prepared by Peter Foreman and Derek Sellen.There is an endless variety of them: brainstorming activities (talking about famous pirates)), puzzles, matching photos with the information from the text, listening for gist, matching sentences, filling in blanks, making maps, writing letters, interviewing Scrooge or ghosts of famous people, putting pictures in the right order, true/false answers, short grammatical exercises, guessing answers, ticking correct answers, writing own ideas or describing main characters. I particularly liked the idea of changing the ending of "Hamlet" (sic!), playing a detective at Elsinore Castle solving the mystery of Polonius's murder or giving advice to Hamlet and Ophelia about their problems in their relationship.

As far as grading of the books is concerned I only doubt if the edition of "Hamlet" can be really presented to beginners. The dialogues are simple, but some of the activities, although very well guided, do require a better command of English than it is the case of beginners. I would rather say this book could be used at elementary level.

All in all the Cideb READING AND TRAINING series has successfully brought the classics of world literature to children in a form which will certainly stimulate them to reading.

I would recommend these books to any teacher. Children love reading them, listening to the cassettes and doing the activities.