Resources in English: CGP Activity Books

There are so many activity books on the market, it is sometimes difficult to know what to purchase; especially when it comes to widely spoken languages such as English where there are so many products available. It also depends if you have your mind set on teaching British English or American English and not just any English-language resource. Having been read in a British school and speaking British English, I really want to stick to what I know and learned. Thanks to my wonderful blogging friend Raquel, at SpanglishEasy.com, I discovered the CGP activity book series in her post (in Spanish) “Libros de apoyo de gramática inglesa para padres (y maestros)” .

What attracted me to this series, is the fact that they are in British English and are used in many UK schools. At first, I got a bit concerned by the rather basic aesthetics and feared they might not be colourful and playful enough for my eldest, who only cares for fun.

However, I thought I would give them a try and order the KS1 English Targeted Question Book: Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling for Year 2.  It was an immediate hit with my daughter, who loves to be quizzed and usually enjoys doing activity books. As a mom it was great to discover how to explain these rules that I sometimes use intuitively, without really remembering why. It helps me to better explain things I would otherwise have been at a loss to explain simply to a child. It also helps to tackle subjects I would not otherwise have known how to handle as I am no teacher, for instance, grammar and reading comprehension.

Last Wednesday, we began our second Year 2 book, which is dedicated to reading comprehension. The first two pages proved really great. The first one was on the topic of seeds, which my eldest has studied in her Majority Language (ML) school. Hence, it is a perfect way for her to learn the minority language (ml) vocabulary of what she studied at ML school. It was to some extent practical, since to answer my daughter’s queries as to what “soil” means, I brought our mini-Ficus to her to give a real life dimension to the theory of the book. Kids like to learn about real life topics, so that was a nice illustration of words in her living environment, and not just a set of characters on a sheet of paper.

The second page’s exercices where based on a lemonade recipe. This sparkled the idea to actually make the lemonade. No better way to learn than having fun and taking learning outside of books. We had great fun doing this, and needless to say our taste buds loved it too!

I have flicked through the rest of the book and the texts look very diverse using book excerpts, abridged articles, poems, short texts on varied topics such as biographies of historical characters, texts on plants, animals, planets, geography and more. A great opportunity to broaden a child’s mind, which is something I am keen on doing. The way the answers are structured, they require the child to write and not just simply tick an answer, which is an additional opportunity for the child to practice his or her writing skills.

CGP is the UK’s number one educational publisher. They run activity books from Year 2 (age 6) upwards, and you can see their catalogue here. The books cover many subjects,  including English, Maths and Science. Ideal to have your child revising his or her syllabus in the minority language to pick up the ml vocabulary along the way and add ml exposure too.  Another nice detail about this series is that the books also include the solutions at the back, should need be.

Definitely a nice English resource to have at home, and in perfect time for the upcoming summer holidays! 😉

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